Margaret Onedo

Two Langley women vie for pageant crown

PHOTO: May Al-Taher

Ethiopian-raised acting student Margaret Onedo and kindness advocate May Al-Taher will represent Langley in the Miss BC Pageant happening this weekend (July 1 to 3) in Fort Langley.

The local duo join 26 other contestants from around B.C. vying for the Miss title, said event founder and organizers Darren Storsley.

Onedo was born and raised in Ethiopia and is an acting student at Studio 58.

Al-Taher hopes to promote empathy and kindness among fellow people.

This pageant is “quite unique” in relation to the pageant world, because it focuses on development for women, not weight, age, or gender restrictions, he insisted. Storsley added that his pageants (Miss BC, Teen BC, and Mrs. BC) encourage diversity, with inclusion of transgender and single parent contestants.

Leading up to the final pageant, all contestants receive professional training in areas such as public speaking, interview skills, media relations, modelling, manners, etiquette, leadership, self-esteem, health, fitness, nutrition, assertiveness and motivational speaking, and even self-defense.

Last year at the Miss BC Pageant Shakti Shunmugam was crowned Miss BC and was not sure what her year would bring.

Shunmugam has volunteered much of her time this past year to various organizations and has spent two weeks as Miss BC in Thailand voicing her platform and working with local NGOs and non-profits to empower underprivileged children and women to pursue an education.

Likewise, in 2015 Shalom Reimer was crowned Miss Teen BC at the pageant, and she too was unsure what would come in this past year.

She is an advocate for creating a pre-teen leadership program, which she developed in many schools on a national level.

The program was launched at her school in Grade 6 to 8 and consists of teens, “who gather at lunch once a week, to talk about issues in their lives and the world around them,” said Reimer.

She said she cherished the opportunity that Miss BC gave her to speak with young teens about being a leader within their schools and local communities. Reimer went on to compete at the Miss Teen Canada Pageant in Quebec and won her title of Miss Teen Canada.

Additionally, Reimer found time to volunteer with various organizations, such as the Terry Fox Run, the Global Fire Run for Leukemia, the Fort Langley Cranberry Festival, Ronald McDonald House, Cops for Cancer, #pinkpromiseweek at Guildford Town Centre, and the Variety Show of Hearts Telethon.

Although the time has come for Reimer to pass on her crown, she hopes to continue to promote her platform and joined Shunmugam in wishing the 2016 contestants good luck.

The public can get involved, Storsley said. People are invited to vote for their favourite contestant in the people’s choice category at www.missbc.ca. As well, the public is invited to attend the event. Details available online.

In the meantime, he was proud to boast that the Miss BC Pageant charity of choice, Cops for Cancer, (a fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society) has raised more than $259,000 since the pageant began in 2007.

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