Often the pageant world is coloured with the same stripes as toddler’s and tiara’s, but one could easily see that is not the case in these elite pageants. Contestants such as Chauhan are becoming more noteworthy.
In this past year, Fort McMurray delegates competed for the title alongside Siera Bearchell (Canada’ reigning Miss Universe) while she was evacuated due to the wildfire. With no gown or belongings to compete, you would ask yourself why not take a year off? But for contestants these days, the chance to be a role model for the next generation and raise awareness for their favorite causes is too important to pass up.
Chauhan has competed and raised money for the evacuees like herself, as well as raising funds and awareness for Operation Smile Canada Foundation, a charity that provides surgeries for children affected with cleft palate, cleft lip or other facial deformities. Another one of her goals is to raise awareness about racial discrimination and bullying in the youth while working for United Nations Association of Canada.
For her work in her community of Fort McMurray, she was awarded the Mayor and Council Toast of Champions for the 2016 year. She says that competing has allowed her to draw more attention to her overall humanitarian work.
Contestants like Siera Bearchell and Vanessa Chauhan are changing the pageant climate in Canada and making it more accessible for girls in Canada.
According to Chauhan, Fort McMurray has been really helpful and receptive in raising awareness for charities that are dear to her such as the Operation Smile Canada Foundation.
Even during the evacuation, people came to Chauhan’s fundraiser for the wildfire and Operation Smile Canada Foundation.
“People outside of Fort McMurray think that we don’t do anything but work, but Fort McMurray has allowed me to develop myself into the competitor that I want to be because of how involved people are with the community and charities,” said Chauhan.
Chauhan ascribes her success in humanitarian work and pageants to what she has learned through working with the Fort McMurray community.
Author: Samantha Goodman