A crusading Langley beauty queen visited local charities with four international friends.
Four queens had a winning hand for beating the winter blues, as a quartet of Miss World contestants from around the globe got together for a Vancouver reunion.
Langley's Tara Teng, Miss World Canada, invited three friends she met at last summer's Miss World pageant in China to Vancouver for a week, where they appeared on the weekend's Variety Telethon and visited some of Teng's favourite charities.
"We became good friends, we spent five weeks in the competition together," says Teng.
The competition was based in the northern Chinese city of Ordos, where Teng and Nives Oresnik (Miss World Slovenia), Jessica Baldachino (Miss World Gibraltar) and Iris Thomsen (Miss World Denmark) were among 116 contestants from around the world.
Between pageant duties, the four bonded while hanging out in their hotel rooms, wearing crowns and pyjamas.
Teng, who has an education degree from Trinity Western University, has parlayed her pageant exposure into a public speaking platform, drawing attention to the issue of human trafficking.
She worked for a year in the Ottawa office of Manitoba MP Joy Smith helping to pass Smith's private member's bill aimed at prosecuting human traffickers who operate beyond Canada's borders.
Teng speaks to groups across Canada about the issue and had travelled to Sri Lanka, Thailand and Cambodia in aid of non-profit groups in those countries. Teng was Miss B.C. 2010, Miss Canada in 2011 and Miss World Canada in 2012. In Vancouver this week, she and her Miss World colleagues visited the Salvation Army's Deborah's Gate shelter and took part in the Valentine's Day women's memorial march.
The four - Baldachino is a high school teacher, Oresnik is a mixed-media artist and Thomsen is a dancer and model - will pass on their crowns in their respective countries later this year.
Teng will crown her successor at a ceremony in May at the River Rock Show Theatre.
- From the Vancouver Province