For most, a trip of any kind during a pandemic is frowned upon but for Coronation local Vanessa Kuziw, she was able to travel to Toronto to fulfil her dream of attending the Miss World Canada competition.
Many precautions were taken throughout the week-long trip (Nov. 1 to Nov. 8) to ensure social distancing because of COVID-19.
Attendees were split into groups of five who they remained with for the entire competition.
Food, masks, hand sanitizer and more was provided as well as testing.
“The only time we were together was the finals and even then we were still at least six feet apart and had masks on.
“They provided lots of masks so they were very nice about that,” said Kuziw. “They did lots to protect us.”
Of the 48 contestants, Kuziw never placed but was still thrilled to have been a part of the pageant. She was also one of four competitors from Alberta.
Two placed in the top 20.
“Alberta held up pretty good so I was pretty proud of that,” she said.
Kuziw never felt alone or stressed as she felt at home with the other competitors who were in the exact same boat as herself.
“I didn’t place but it was very very fun. They were amazing.
They had their most awesome personalities ever – just genuinely nice. It was really cool meeting all the people. They all had wicked backstories and why they were there.”
“I was honestly so surprised when I got there. Not to be rude but I thought the girls would be stuck up or rude but they were all just supernice and everybody was in the exact same boat.
“All the producers were so friendly. I think with Covid and not having a crowd, it made it very nice for my first pageant. [It was] A totally different experience than I thought it would be,” she shared.
The theme of Miss World Canada was ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ with each contestant conducting a speech around a topic that relates to this theme.
For Kuziw, it was an obvious choice to focus on the positivity of agriculture and where your food comes from, considering she grew up on a farm.
“Lots of the other girls did mental health, the foster system – stuff that they personally had contact with and I personally felt more contacted with the farming industry growing up on a farm and doing all that, not having it represented too much,” she said.
The competition took place on Nov. 7.
This is where Kuziw and the other contestants wore ball gowns and bathing suits, did a fitness challenge and choreography number as well as their speech.
“We were provided a bathing suit, evening gown and heels so everyone was in the exact same outfits so that it was more equal that way,” she said.
Kuziw was supported by many people before, during and after the competition including her family, friends and sometimes distant people.
Of special note were Kuziw’s parents, grandparents and the Gerbers who ‘helped me out a lot’ in getting to this point.
“There was a ridiculous amount of people who just out of the blue that I haven’t talked to in years commented and were like ‘Hey, I’m rooting for you. I voted. Hope you do great.’”
Miss World Canada also has a mission to fundraise and this year the charity of choice was the Make a Wish Foundation.
In total, they were able to make 12 wishes.
Kuziw currently lives in Stettler and works at the Stettler Veterinary Clinic.
She is still deciding whether she wants to continue down the path of pageantry or wants to pursue modelling further.