Hello there blog world! It’s yours truly, Miss Teen Southwestern Ontario-World 2012, comin at you live with the latest and greatest about our mentor night that was held here at the pageant host hotel, The Westin. Monday night was an experience all its own full of life long messages that were truly learnt through experience and most definitely inspired my for the week.
Our first mentor that was introduced was Melani Chong, the creator of the all natural skin care product line known as Soy Boutique.
Soy Boutique- Melanie!
Having dappled in everything from chemistry, hence the skin care line, to modeling as a Canadian Ford Model and being an athlete in her highschool years, Melani is surely an example of a well rounded woman, well versed in fitness and health, education and the fun of modeling and fashion. She became a Canadian Ford model at the age of 17 and her career took off at the age of 18, all because her father took her to the mall the day of a Ford Supermodel Search.
Not thinking modeling was for her, she gave it a try regardless and worked with Gucci, Armani and Mac Cosmetics, just to name a few. Melani went on to become several more things as she experienced becoming a stylist, a makeup artist and a designer, but it was when she was pregnant with her first son that she started developing skin care products without chemicals. Melani incorporates fashion, health, and beauty all into one category with her line of Soy Boutique being an all natural, organic line and using the most home grown products as possible. After describing her endeavors in life and the journey she took to get where she is today, she simply states, ” keep learning and listen to those around you… communicate and ask lots of questions”. Melani explained to all of us young budding and aspiring minds, that you never know where you’ll end up and that its important to always keep developing your message and what you stand for. Her key phrase is one by the great philosopher, Socrates, who said “wisest is he who knows what he does not know.” All in all, Melani, with her inspiring story of life’s opportunities and risk taking, derived one final equation for us to remember in our lives. She expained it as this; passion leads to drive, which leads to core actions which in turn leads to the result of longevity. The idea behind maintaining longevity being that you retain your integrity throughout your lifetime and that you stand true to your message and are always reshaping it. She left us all hanging on one phrase in particular, being that what we think is all that matters in the present, what we think we have at this moment and perhaps all we will ever get?… Melani says that ” this is not IT”. There is so much more waiting for all of us out there, we are never truly “stuck” if we just look for and take opportunities, are always expanding our knowledge and are always listening and learning to those around you. As the great Socrates believed, knowledge is power.
Our second mentor was the fun, caring and super considerate Katrina Hadden, life coach for athletes and author of “Making It In High Heels“. As a size 12 model and loving it, Katrina began by telling us how she was impressed by all of our stories and biographies and she even wrote each one of us 62 delegates a card! By far one of the most considerate and truly kind people I have ever had the chance of meeting! Back to Katrina though, growing up, she tells us, she was always the tall girl, the one picked on and known as “Big Bird”, etc. but despite the bullying, she stayed busy with basketball.
The beautiful Katrina Hadden!
What made her good at basketball you ask? Well, Katrina explained to us how she had a trick of visualizing the ball going in the basket before she actually took the shot. This trick was later used in Hadden’s life as I will explain. When she incurred injury, Katrina decided to create a new dream and form a new goal. She didn’t think modeling was for her, but after a long time of not “fitting” in any exact modeling category for body/size type she developped an eating disorder in order to try and fit into a certain category. Hadden says it wasn’t an easy time and I think that almost every girl in todays society can relate. Though it wasn’t an easy time, she overcame it by surrounding herself with people that were interested and worked in health and fitness and she became a trainer. Back to the visualizing the ball technique, Katrina used this to move to Toronto and accomplish her goal. She met up with Ben Barry Agency who embrace diversity and Hadden auditioned for a panasonic commercial which she landed because of her energy, glow and confidence which set her apart.
When working with CTV, City Line and Dove, she realized her dream came true. Katrina’s core message to us was this; that confidence takes time to build and that we should work with what we have because we are all unique in our own way. She also described the 5 things that a good role model possess’, them being; taking care of body and health, finding an interest or hobby, carrying an attitude of gratitude in everything you do and everywhere you go and finally forgiveness and not letting the sun set on your anger. Katrina finished off her inspiring story with a poem/quote that her mother gave her in grade 6 titled “Don’t quit”. Katrina is an amazing mentor because her story gave her experience to be able to testify with. She had lived through the bullying and the pressure that society pushes on our generation to be the next ” perfect” body type. Katrina was so inspiring to hear because she was real and down to earth. She believed in herself and with such a strong belief and self confidence that grew over time, she accomplished her goals.
Our third mentor was the one and only Alexandra Orlando, a Canadian athlete and motivational speaker. Orlando is also the author of the book Breaking Through My Limits: An Olympian Uncovered. Orlando started off her speaking by telling us that we are ALL still learning, we are all constantly learning.
Amazing olympian and motivational speaker, Alexandra Orlando!
She stressed the idea that in our time in life we don’t know who we are but we can figure out who we aspire to be and what you stand for! Its at this time of life that we realize just how strong we are! She told all of us to remember that we are so much stronger than we think we are, and it’s so true! There are so many times in everyones lives where we have done things we didn’t even know we could do and I think those moments are exact examples of what Alexandra was telling us. Alexandras second book, she goes on to tell, is a tad bit more scandalous and gives us readers an in depth look through her own personal journal. She explains to us how she hit rock bottom at some periods in her life but then said how important is was that we don’t feel alone.
When speaking about the olympics, Orlando says it wasn’t a pretty road but that with all the people she met and the opportunities she had, she reminded us that we always need to acknowledge those that helped get you to where you are. Alexandra spoke to us about an inspiring story about achieving her goals; being that in 2003 and at the young age of 15, she had never experience failure or defeat. When she missed qualifying for the world championships at the olympics by 1/10th of a point, it was the first time she didn’t get what she wanted, and this threw her into some turmoil. She got out of this with the help of her family and friends, but also this thought; did not achieving that one goal take the last 12 years out of my life? This was when Alexandra realized that its not about winning, because winning is short lived, but its about the journey to get there that makes you who you are and its the pushing yourself to be your best and thats what matters!
Orlando explained to us that after her first defeat, it was hard to get going again because she was constantly told that she could never make it because of how her body had changed when she went back to the sport after her break period. This was another time of her life that Alexandra realized something important, that being that you realize when you really want something, because you’re not going to put up a fight if it doesn’t mean something to you, like gymnastics meant to her.
Her parting words and advice were as follows; learn from the winning AND the failing, dont be scared of failing and weakness but be open and give it your all so you’ll have no regrets, and finally, take huge risks and just go for it.
Our fourth and final mentor, was last but certainly not least Dr. Natalie Archer, the dynamic Toronto dentist who works with geriatric dental care, who started off her career in 2001.
She started off her mentor speech by telling us what she thought of the Miss Teen Canada World mission statement, explaining how she loves it and that she thinks its important for strong women to be their own kind of beautiful. Dr. Archer described to us a conversation she had with her babysitters once, in relation to all of our delegates` future plans, and how the kids she talked with told her how they didn`t know what they wanted to do with the rest of their lives. She led in with this and ended this thought with the advice that we should all keep lots of opportunities open to us and embrace everything that comes our way. She also put a stress on education and how it is the one thing that nobody can take away form you!
Dr. Archers main message to all of us delegates was to “build our own web“, and how you in relation to opportunities and taking them, you never know when or where a fly is going to get caught. Another thing that she stressed in her speech to us, was honesty, and that a good mentor and good mentorship brought honesty to the table.
Dr. Archer finished with her key to success being this; advanced planning and working hard. Society needs women who take calculated business risks, and we are those next women who are up for the challenge! With all the young women today getting great educations and with mission statements like that of Miss Teen Canada-World pageant, women really can make a difference in today`s society.
All in all, it was a great experience to hear every single of these amazing women speak about their lives, their goals, their achievements and their struggles. Their truthfulness and honesty about the reality of life really was the inspiring part because they are examples of women in today`s world who `made it“ and didn`t quit or give up when the going got tough. This is what made them stronger, and that is what makes them such great mentors for young girls like us! A huge thank you to all of them!