By Mattea Henderson
It’s hard to believe, after all my dedication, that I walked away as 2nd Runner-up in the 2017 Search for Miss World Canada. As such, I was crowned Miss Intercontinental Canada. Along with winning Miss Social Media; on stage, I transitioned out of the tradition MTCW-INC white and black sash and into a red and white sash (that’s very sparkly) embroidered MISS INTERCONTINENTAL CANADA – 2017.
I have not really had a moment of free time to blog on my old Miss Calgary World blog, but I thought why not, technically I still have a crown and sash, obviously, a different one but can I still blog/vlog.
From the moment I got home from Toronto with my new accessories, I kind of jumped right into what I wanted to do with my reign. I didn’t want to be one of those National Titleholders or a titleholder in general who does not take advantage of the platform, and seize the opportunities that this crown and sash can bring. It was just making that jump of faith and having belief in myself to make the effort to not mess it up royally (see the pun there haha).
I started things off with judging a pageant with Siera Bearchell, Miss Universe Canada 2016, and MJ Lastimosa, Miss Universe Philippines 2014 which was unbelievable. Meeting two driven women who both attend MISS UNIVERSE was a dream come true. The official shoe sponsor of Miss World Canada was Nine West, happy to say that I attended their event in association with Shoe Bank Canada and walked away with an amazing purse and a killer pair of knee-high black suede heels after donating a pair of lightly worn heels of my own.
Below are some official MISS INTERCONTINENTAL CANADA photos, taken by my photographer, John Tabingo. Over the last two years he’s been amazing – he’s one of my favourite photographers to work with. Here are some portraits, in no particular order.
If I think of pageants in all honesty, before I was involved and addicted to competing, I would mainly think of MISS UNIVERSE. And yes, that was part of my adventure this year if you can believe it! Miss Manitoba World 2017- Courtney, Miss Vancouver World 2017 – and Lia (my roommate from Miss World Canada) and Shyann – Miss Eastern Provinces, who I competed with at Miss Teenage Canada 2013 all hopped on our respective flights and went to cheer on Lauren Howe at MISS UNIVERSE 2017! This adventure was easily one of the best experiences of my life in pageants! I could not believe, and was inspired by the caliber and strength of women who were on stage representing their nations, and to top things off LAUREN WAS A GODDESS!
BEHIND THE SCENES at MISS UNIVERSE 2017 in Las Vegas, USA
Things were not the easiest during my reign when it came to planning for my international competition. I cannot thank MTCW-INC enough for the ability to keep me updated on knowing if or when I would be competing with all the chaos.
Originally, I was supposed to compete in India in November, Sri Lanka in December, and for a third and final try which was successful I ended up in Egypt in January for around16 days. I am an undergrad student focusing my concentration in Marketing and International Business at Mount Royal University in Calgary. I was supposed to graduate this past December, but the world had other plans for me and I had to make the hard decision; do I complete my undergrad and give up my chance to represent Canada and give up my title to allow another Miss World Canada finalist to go in my place and carry on the rest of my reign, or do I defer? If you know what your answer would be, feel free to comment below, I would love to know what you would have picked!
Well, if you haven’t seen my Instagram or Facebook you should because there are some amazing photos from Egypt!
Yes, I went! The process of mentally and physically preparing for Egypt, and what came after Miss Intercontinental competition has caused great personal growth, and a new understanding of the person that I am, that I was and the person that I want to be in the future. I would love to say that I was crowned winner and brought the first-ever Miss Intercontinental home to Canada, but what I learned about myself is what made me feel like I won a crown. And for the record, I placed in the Top 20, but they had a Top 18- with two spots being determined by an online fan vote. Miss Intercontinental made me learn a lot about the person that I had become over my pageant time. I learned that I am happy with who I am, and what I offer our world. I know I represented Canada the best I could in that moment. I did it being authentic to myself and did not compromise my morals, values, or character in the process.
I did it being me and what was recognized globally; the Great Pageant Community and many other pageant fanatic groups referred to me with something like “”If there was an award for captivating personality, it would be Mattea Henderson. Our team absolutely loves this girl and her outstanding personality. She has the aura which attracts you more and more every time you see her.” That meant more to be than taking home the crown. I was myself and my personality was valued more than my physical appearance.
I would love to tell girls that want to enter pageants that it’s amazing and winning is so amazing, but realistically, you second guess yourself a lot. You do deserve to be there without a doubt, but it is something that can cross your mind. I know that’s absolutely been the case for me several times. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and long hours.
My reign as Miss Intercontinental has made me grow more than I could have ever imagined. It has forced me to step out of my comfort zone and do things that I didn’t plan to do. I wanted to share my reign with as many people I could and to inspire Canadian girls that you can absolutely do the things that I’ve done if you just put yourself out there and make yourself a conscious effort to be the best version of yourself. The little or big things that you can accomplish in your community because of your passion and put yourself out there you would not even believe.
Ladies, I am by no means the skinniest, fittest, or tallest of delegates. I am not the funniest, loudest, most outgoing, or even confident. I have been able to do what I have done because I have been true to myself and listened to my heart, head, and body. Most importantly, even when I second guess myself- my capabilities, or I am mentally and physically exhausted, I look at all that I have accomplished thus far, and I imagine the end goal and what I could do then.
My advice whether you are a teen, a miss, or simply considering the concept of competing in a pageant. You never know what is going to come your way, and it’s a lot of work even if you don’t think it is. Really consider the reason you want to compete in a pageant or why you want to win, what would you do with a title? That’s the question I think a lot of girls miss the mark on when they want to compete. They imagine hair and makeup that is styled beautifully, a sparkly gown and dream of wearing a crown and sash. Winning isn’t everything. It is all about the process of getting to the point when you have realized that you have accomplished!
I wish I would have updated you all sooner, but things keep happening and life got in the way as cliché as that sounds. I am excited to see what the future holds for me! I have some amazing things planned that I cannot yet share, but I can’t stop smiling knowing that everything happens for a reason. I am literally writing this at midnight, I am up in three hours to drive to the Calgary airport with my double-double to catch my 6:15 flight. FYI I will be in the Maritimes, with Miss Teenage Canada, Emma! I have never been past Montreal and I have been asked to keep things quiet, but by the time this is published I will have already posted on social media about it all. So like I said, life keeps happening and its all about taking advantages of the opportunities in front of you.
Girls, I hope you all learn to love yourself as much as I have from pageants. Pageant have made me the woman I am today. You all offer the world something unique and beautiful, but it is up to you to do something about it; to share with the world. I wish you all the best in your pageant adventures and hope to update you much sooner on everything, if not, please reach out to me! I am here for you all!
Good luck ladies,
Your Miss Intercontinental Canada 2017