Alissa Harkin of Sechelt has been chosen as a finalist in the Miss B.C., Miss Teen B.C. and Mrs. B.C. Pageant to be held on July 2 in Fort Langley.
Harkin, who also competes in skating, is studying in Vancouver to be a doctor, and visits her home and parents in Sechelt on weekends. She will compete among 50 contestants from across the province.
Harkin is the youngest finalist at age 17. She hopes that pageant participation will further her other interests as a background extra in movies and TV commercials.
“Whoever wins has lots of influence,” she said. “I was talking to the girl who won before [Tara Teng of Langley] and she got to speak with government about a big issue — human trafficking.”
Harkin also notes that the proceeds from the pageant admission go to Cops for Cancer. According to organizers, the Miss B.C. Pageant has raised more than $150,000 for Cops for Cancer since 2007.
This pageant prides itself on being different. “The Miss B.C. Pageant celebrates all women, and yes, we would welcome transgendered contestants,” said producer Darren Storsley, a former Mr. World Canada 2007, in reference to the recent Miss Universe Canada controversy.
For example, there is no maximum age limit to participate and no height and weight requirements; it’s open to single parents and women in wheelchairs. The program now has a category for married women, the Mrs. B.C. Pageant.
“It’s a good program,” Harkin said. “They eliminated the bikini portion of the pageant. It isn’t based on that.”
Leading up to the final pageant, all contestants, including Harkin, will receive three days of professional training in areas such as public speaking, modelling, etiquette, health and even self-defence.
“It will be a well-rounded, intelligent, outgoing and well-spoken young lady who will win the crown, not necessarily the most beautiful girl,” added Storsley.
The Miss B.C. Pageant is already conducting interviews for the 2013 pageant. Any interested applicants can visit the website and apply online. Also, the public is invited to log on and vote for their favourite contestant for the People’s Choice award at www.missbc.ca.