A 17-year-old Fort Langley girl has been crowned Miss Teen Canada.
Shalom Reimer won the prestigious title after taking part in a week-long competition, followed by a ceremony in Laval, Quebec.
“It was crazy,” said Reimer, who attends Grade 12 at Surrey’s Pacific Academy.
“I was so surprised. It could have been any of those girls because they are so nice, so genuine, and so sweet. It didn’t feel like a competition because you’re so focused on who you are, so you can’t compete with that, right?”
After winning the Miss Teen BC crown July 5 at Chief Sepass Theatre, Reimer represented this province at the pageant which ran March 2 to 6 in Laval.
Reimer followed the path of her mom Caroline, who at 16 won Miss Teen Saskatoon in 1988 and went to the Miss Teen Canada pageant, and the next year captured the Miss Saskatoon crown and was the second runner up to Miss Canada in 1990.
What appealed to Reimer was that it wasn’t a traditional “beauty pageant.”
“I never would have entered it if it was,” Reimer said, noting that contestants were judged on their poise, confidence, how they represent themselves and treat others, and their personality.
Leading into the ceremony, the contestants were interviewed by the previous Miss Canada and Miss Teen Canada.
“They are both very nice and I plan on partnering with them this year,” Reimer said.
“Sixty per cent of the judging was throughout the week,” she added. “A lot of it was focused on who you are as person. Sometimes on stage, the judges don’t get to know who you really are.”
Reimer was the last of the five finalists to have her named called out. They were then moved to the side of the stage, where each was asked a “mystery question.”
After the first two runners ups’ names were called, Reimer was floored when she was officially crowned Miss Teen Canada 2016.
Reimer said a highlight was the camaraderie among the contestants.
“They were all so genuine and kind,” she said, of the other girls involved. “I was so overwhelmed with that. Even though language barrier, we were so close.”
With the title comes a future trip to Quebec to help judge that province’s pageant.
And, as Miss Teen Canada, Reimer hopes to introduce a program across Canada, and possibly across the nation, in which older students provide guidance to their younger peers.
At her school, Reimer started a group for Grade 6 to 8 girls to discuss, she said, “real life issues,” such as self-defeated thoughts, cutting, bullying, suicide, and depression, and provide strategies to overcome them.
“Something I’ve learned from my parents is, if you are put in a position of leadership, you should expect to serve others,” Reimer said.