Every so often we chat with a hip + urban girl of the week who has an interesting job, life story and who we think is inspiring. This week we chat with Lauren Howe, a McGill student who balances school and her role as Miss Teen Canada World 2011.
Which myths do you want to de-bunk about pageants?
It honestly bothers me a little bit when people tell me that I don’t seem like your “typical pageant girl”. When I ask them what they mean by this, they don’t really have a thorough explanation and once I heard the term “blonde bimbo” used. This has to be one of the biggest myths that I want to debunk about pageants. Every single girl that I have met at a pageant is brilliant and beautiful. Whether they are a straight-A student or if they have an amazing heart with huge aspirations to help change the world. Sure there are a few viral YouTube videos about on stage pageant answers but come on, who wouldn’t get nervous on a stage being judged on what they are saying?
How long have you been competing?
I actually entered the pageant “scene” about a week before the Miss Teen Ontario competition in November 2010. I read about an article on CNN about pageants and how there are scholarship opportunities. I figured there would be no harm in trying out and I am beyond ecstatic that I took a chance!
What was it like to win Miss Teen Canada World?
Shocking! Really though. A year ago, if someone told me I was going to be Miss Teen Canada-World I probably would have laughed and not believed them. The order they announce the winner is by first announcing the runner up. I remember it took me a few seconds to realize what was happening because I was clapping for my friend.
Tell us about the job responsibilities and perks that come with the title!
One of the biggest responsibilities with this position, to me, is to make as much as an impact as a role model to children as I can. The way some kids look at me when I wear the sash and crown is overwhelming. I mean, some of the young girls’ eyes just light up and to think that I can make a difference - any difference, is huge for me.
I am not going the lie, the perks that come with the title are awesome! I am honored to be helping out with Free The Children, a non-profit organization that helps children throughout the world through education. They also hold “Me To We” Service projects that I am privileged to travel on for about three weeks. I also receive a $4,000 cash prize that is going towards my university, a photo-shoot with Richard Sibbald and a bunch of other things.
Is the crown heavy? What is it made out of?
I am not entirely sure what the crown is made out of but I can definitely tell you that it is heavy. I actually didn’t secure it enough to my head one day and it slipped forward onto my face. I had a bruised nose for a week.
Do all of the competitors get along and hang out together?
Oh my goodness, after about a week you feel as though you are a family with the girls you met at the pageant. Many of them are my good friends to this day. It’s amazing the similarities in the girls, the stories they hold and just how much bonding between all the girls can happen in such a short period of time. I can honestly say these are friendships that are going to last a lifetime for me.
What are you studying in college/university and any career ideas for the future?
At the moment, I am enrolled in the Biomedical Science program at McGill University. I am still kind of confused and trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, but I am thinking I want to either graduate with a degree in Biomedical Engineering or Human Genetics/Biotechnology with a minor in business. I’ve always kind of been a science nerd haha.
In all honesty, I love acting and that is a passion I would love to pursue but I believe that it is so important to have a degree behind you.
Is there anything you would have done differently or advise others about?
I believe that everything happens for a reason in life and I don’t think I could imagine my life being any different than it is today. Obviously there are the ups and downs in life, but how would we learn from our mistakes if we could just erase them?
What is your typical day like?
I’m not going to lie, my typical day at university is pretty boring. I wake up, work out or go to practice, study in the library, eat and sleep. I just finished my season of Varsity Field Hockey so now I am hoping to spend my spare time volunteering at homeless shelters in Montreal and any other places that I can help out.
Where would you go on your dream vacation?
I’ve fallen in love with anything to do with Australia, especially surfing or scuba diving. I am also a big fan of visiting the locals within a country. A dream vacation for me is mostly visiting the parts of the country that are away from all the tourism hot spots and to see where real people live. To see what life is really like in that particular country and to hear the unique stories is so appealing to me, it’s not really an emotion I can put into words.
What life advice do you have for hip + urban girls out there trying to figure out their passion?
Live with no fear and no regrets. You should never be afraid to take a risk and try something new because you never know if you will end up loving it. When you find what you are passionate about, you will just know. It is not something you can describe but it is more a feeling you get that you just can’t ignore. Don’t ever give up on trying to find that because it is so worth it when you do.
Loved this? Meet some of our other Hip + Urban Girls of the Week!
Photo Credits: Miss Teen Canada - World