Langley-based pageant raises $24,000 for Cops for Cancer

Standing amid a row of 15 finalists, Richmond’s Taylor Scott never fathomed her name would be called for Miss BC.

But the 20-year-old UBC student was crowned at a gala June 30 in Langley, even if it was difficult for the message to sink in.

“I couldn’t even compute what Darren [Storsely, the pageant organizer] was saying,” Scott said about the moment her name was announced.

Langley’s Brette Joyal was chosen as Miss Teen BC 2014 and now she’s got the tiara to prove it – crowned at the Chief Sepass Theatre Monday.

“I entered for the opportunity to spotlight mental health issues,” she said. “I’d really like to see change on that.”

As soon as the winners were selected, the stage filled with family and friends of the 50 contestants offering hugs and congratulations to all those who took on the challenge of the pageant.

For the past dozen years, Storsley, a Langley teacher, has organized these pageants with a twist.

He said that about 12 years ago, he wanted to organize an event to help students in his school with significant self esteem problems. He thought it would be a few months of effort but it’s more than a dozen years later and he’s still organizing.

What started out with three volunteers now has more than 50. While there’s no lack of bling during portions of the show, the contestants must take a weekend of workshops on topics such as public speaking, self defence for women, manners and etiquette, self esteem and assertiveness, and choreography. They also fundraise for the pageant’s cause of choice, Cops for Cancer. The contributions have totaled more than $100,000 over the years.

It was the scope of the pageant that attracted Scott, a 20-year-old UBC student.

“I was really excited to do something that was this really great experience about empowerment for women,” Scott said.

The winners:

• Miss BC: Taylor Scott of Richmond

• Mrs. BC 2014: Stanislava Ludmilin, of Surrey, who was originally from Russia and spoke about the freedoms she cherishes as a Canadian.

• Miss Teen BC 2014: Brette Joyal of Langley

• Miss Charity BC 2014: Tanpreet Parmar of Delta. The contestants do fundraising around their home communities before attending the pageant. Cops for Cancer receives $24,000 this year because of their efforts.

• Miss Fraser Valley 2014: Mission’s Brittany O’Rourke

• Miss Greater Vancouver 2014: Ashley Chandra of Vancouver

• Miss Lower Mainland 2014: Alexandra Overdiek of Surrey

• Miss Vancouver Island 2014: Sarah Wong from Victoria

• Miss Northern BC 2014: Jordi Brand-McKay, from the community of Stewart which has about 500 residents

• Miss BC Interior 2014: Carlita Nair of Vernon

• Miss Rocky Mountains BC 2014: Jacqueline Potter from Cranbrook

• Miss Teen Lower Mainland 2014: Amrit Dosanjh, of Abbotsford

• Heart and Soul 2014 (voted by the contestants): Megan McKinnon of Cloverdale

• People’s Choice 2014 (through online voting): Tanpreet Parmar from Delta

• Miss Congeniality: Casey McCarthy, from Surrey, who made history at last year’s pageant as the first person with autism to enter.

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