On our first night at Miss Teen Canada-World, we had the opportunity to listen to four women tell their stories of success. These four beautiful and inspirational ladies told us about the hardships and struggles they needed to overcome to gain the success that they have always wanted.
- Melani Chung
The first speaker we had the pleasure of listening to was Melani Chung, a model who became a stylist who became a chemist! She now is the owner of a business she created, Soya Boutique.
As a chemist, she creates her own products to be organic and tries to use all local products too.
I found Melani really inspiring. As a teenager, her dad brought up modelling to her. She shrugged it off believing modelling wouldn’t happen for her as she was more of an athlete in school. Her dad didn’t want the opportunity to escape, so he took Melani to the mall and there was a booth for the Ford Model Search. When Melani received a phone call saying she had been selected, she was shocked! She then changed her focus and devoted her time and energy to being a model. As Melani worked with her modelling, the opportunity for her to become a stylist had come up. She took it, believing that was more for her then modelling was. Her job as a stylist then made her realize her real dream was to go back to school, become a chemist and create her own organic beauty line.
Melani explained to us that with anything we want to do, we will face more rejection than acceptance, you just need to stay confident and keep trying. “Keep learning and keep researching” was the main message Melani was trying to get across. Melani also gave us an equation to life :passion leads to drive which leads to core actions which equals longevity. And longevity is what you strive for to make an impact but maintain your integrity as you go along your path, never being afraid to learn. I really enjoyed her speech, she is a wonderful role model!
- Katrina Hadden
Second up to speak to us was Katrina Hadden. Katrina was bullied throughout her school years for being tall, but when she was old enough, she used her height for playing basketball. After playing for 13 years with asperations to get in to the WNBA, Katrina had an injury that left her with the thought “what am I going to do now?”
Katrina’s friends pushed her to use her height for modelling. At first Katrina didn’t want to, she didn’t believe she could succeed, but she went to an agency anyway. After rejection after rejection for being an ‘in between’ size, Katrina began to lose weight and developed an eating disorder. Katrina overcame her eating disorder with new determination and switched to a new agency, and began to model for Ben Barry
, who embraces diversity! Katrina’s modelling highlight was two years ago when Sunny Fong asked her to model a dress during Toronto Fashion Week. She was very hesitant, but as soon as she stepped on the runway, the audience started to applaud her, as she was different, and they liked that. As a conclusion, Katrina shared a poem with us that her mom shared with her. The poem is called, “Don’t Quit” and it was written by Jill Wolf.
“Don’t quit when the tide is lowest, For it’s just about to turn; Don’t quit over doubt’s and questions, For there’s something you may learn. Don’t quit when the night is darkest, For its just a while ’til dawn; Don’t quit when you’ve run the farthest, For the race is almost won. Don’t quit when the hill is steepest, For your goal is almost nigh; Don’t quit, for you’re not a failure Until you fail to try.”
Our third mentor was a beautiful gymnast Olympian by the name of Alexandra Orlando. Alexandra told us that she was very cocky as a kid because she was extremely talented at gymnastics and she never lost. In 2003 she tried out for the Oylpmics. To qualify for the Olympics, you needed to place in the top 20 and Alexandra was one tenth of a point short, so she ended up in 21st. Alexandra felt alone and as though she lost part of her identity. She decided after a while of feeling so alone, she wanted to get back into gymnastics, Alexandra headed back to the gym and back to her coach. She was then rejected hearing she no longer had the right body type to be a gymnast, and that she would never be as good as she once was. Determined to prove them wrong, Alexandra started training again. Alexandra worked extremely hard to retrain herself and when competing to qulaify for the Oylmpics the next time it came around, she qualified! With all the hardships, rejection and determination that Alexandra endured, she was inspired to write a book and entitled it “Breaking Through My Limits: an Olympian Uncovered
“. I loved how she talked about her determination and showed to everyone that she was focused and knew exactly what she wanted and was talented and hard-working enough to get to where she wanted to be.
Dr. Natalie Archer
Our final speaker decided to introduce herself as the odd one out as she had nothing to do with sports and is a dentist! Dr. Natalie Archer
is a successful and beautiful dentist with an ability to balance her personal life and her professional life. Dr. Archer just gave us as much advice as she could and it all came down to “we are never fully dressed without a smile”. She also reminded us that we can go anywhere with our education, it is ours and we are the ones learning it… no one can take it away from us! She told us to not be afraid to learn new things and take what we can away from every experience!
At this point, Dr. Archer shared with us some what of a metaphor with the help of her son. Her son loves spiders and spider webs. The spiders bulid big strong webs becuase the spiders never know when they are going to catch their fly. That is the goal of a spider: to catch flies. We, as people should learn from the spider. Instead of making strong webs, we must surround ourselves with strong people because the strong and support people around us can help us catch our dream.
I was incredibly inspired by these four beautiful women and I really hope that just by reading what I wrote about them, you were inspired too.