A local young woman is hoping to take the top title of Miss Teen Canada at a pageant in Toronto next month.
Gina Omilon, 18, was crowned Miss Teen Red Deer at a provincial pageant hosted by the Miss Teen Canada World in Calgary on March 18. The Miss Teen Canada World organization holds provincial pageants and finalists then travel to Toronto for the Miss Teen Canada World pageant.
Omilon is the first Red Deerian to ever qualify for the pageant, she said.
“At the pageant I had to do a dance routine, we walked with our evening gown and swim suit and we had an interview. We also talked about our platform,” she said. “My platform is confidence through education. Personally for myself what I think a big factor was in my confidence was education and not just going to school every day, but by doing extra-curricular activities in the community. Education is everywhere.”
Omilon has modeled in the past but had never entered a pageant before this spring.
“At the height of 5’1” I was too tall to go on with my modeling career,” she said with a laugh. “Seriously though, I saw an ad about the pageant on facebook and I thought it looked interesting and I just got really involved in it.”
Omilon will travel to Toronto from July 14-22. The Miss Teen Canada pageant will take place on July 21. She will compete against 65 other young women from across Canada.
“There is a lot of training and we will be going to a lot of interviews before the pageant. I’m not nervous yet but as soon as I get there I probably will be. I’m just excited right now.”
As part of the Miss Teen Canada pageant, Omilon has to raise a minimum of $400 for Free the Children. So far Omilon has raised $700 and is hoping to raise at least a $1,000 for the charity to not only help with her pageant score but also because the contestant who raises the most will get a one-month trip to Kenya to help out with the charity.
“This is the chosen charity for the Miss Teen Canada World organization but this is actually special for me because I have been part of Free the Children since I was in Grade 7,” she said. “They came to our school and our teachers picked certain students that they saw leadership skills in to go and listen to a presentation. I got involved right away. There was a trip to Ecuador and unfortunately due to certain circumstances I wasn’t able to go, but I stayed connected with the organization the entire time.
“It means a lot to me that it’s this organization that I’m raising money for because I’m so closely intertwined with them.”
In the future Omilon plans on going to acting school. If she doesn’t claim the crown at next month’s pageant she will head to Los Angeles in the fall where she has been accepted to a university.
In addition, Omilon is still looking for sponsors to help her out with her travel expenses for the pageant.
“I have a great group of sponsors right now but I am hoping to get more.”
She added her reign as Miss Teen Red Deer so far has been a rewarding experience.
“It’s been really great to get involved. Sometimes when you’re a teenager growing up in Red Deer you think the City is really boring but I think when you really get involved there is actually a lot that goes on in the City and it’s really exciting to see,” said Omilon. “How the whole community is able to come together is really something that is so neat to see.”
Before the Miss Teen Canada pageant the public will be able to vote online to help boost Omilon’s chances. For more information about the voting or about Miss Teen Red Deer, check out Omilon’s blog at www.missteenreddeer.com or search ‘Gina Omilon, Miss Teen Red Deer World 2012’ on facebook.