Local teen Ann-Marie Rogers-Cooper has landed the coveted title of Jr. Teen Miss in the National Canadian Girl Pageants.
The Alberta Provincial Finals were held in Edmonton on Dec. 2. Rogers-Cooper also took home a $50 scholarship.
About 45 girls from across the province competed for the prestigious titles ranging from Baby Miss to Teen Miss.
In this natural pageant, where competitors wear minimal make-up and no fake hair or teeth, Rogers-Cooper, 16, participated in formal wear, casual wear and the ‘pink’ option where she was all decked out in the category’s colour.
“I like being all dressed up and feeling pretty.”
Winning at this pageant qualifies Rogers-Cooper to represent Alberta at Nationals that will be held in Vancouver in July.
However, in January she will be competing in Miss Teen Canada World.
If she places in this pageant she will be unable to attend Nationals for National Canadian Girl Pageants due to scheduling conflicts unless special arrangements can be made.
Rogers-Cooper started taking part in pageants two years ago after she lost her sight in February of 2010.
She was diagnosed with optic neuritis, which is inflammation of the optic nerve. It may cause sudden, reduced vision in the affected eye.
She went to bed one night with a bit of a headache and when she awoke in the morning she couldn’t see anything out of her left eye.
The optic neuritis eventually spread to her right eye as well, however, her sight started to improve about a year after the trouble started.
“I see as good as I can see now, but I don’t remember what it is like to see 100 per cent.”
Due to a five-month stay at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, Rogers-Cooper lost confidence in herself.
“I missed half of my Grade eight year and I just felt out of place,” she said. “I had no confidence in myself so I started pageants. I was good at them so I kept doing them.” She admits that she got the idea to start participating in pageants from the well-known TV show Toddlers & Tiaras.
It was the beautiful puffy dresses that caught her attention and she now owns some of her own dresses that she adores including an extremely sparkly yellow ball gown.
Rogers-Cooper still has not regained her sight to 100 per cent but she refuses to let it hold her back.
Ultimately, it’s her no nonsense attitude that will get her through life and through pageants. “It is not one of those things that I dwell over,” she said. “It’s happened. Deal with it. It’s done. So I just accept it.”