Prince Rupert’s Navneet Kaur returned from competing in the Miss Canada pageant in Montreal last week, simply thankful she got the chance to promote her platform of feminism and women’s rights.
Kaur, who finished in the top five of contestants, said the experience was more about sharing her message than anything else.
“It taught me to continue to encourage women to feel confident just as they are and to ask for opportunities. It’s all about respect and uplifting each other,” Kaur said.
On the opening night, a gala was held and all the women came out in their gowns and introduced themselves with a short speech. Kaur listened as each girl said what their platform was, but her opening was much different.
“It wasn’t just for the sake of being different, it was for the sake of me wanting to have my words really stand out and resonate with the audience,” she said.
In Kaur’s speech, she began by defining feminism and talked about how women all over the world — including Canada — experience inequality every single day.
“Afterwards, I had a lot of people’s parents and a lot of members from the audience reach out to me and say ‘what you said was powerful, it stood out to us a lot’,” Kaur relayed.
The Prince Rupert native believes her speech helped her make the top five.
The judges lined up each of the final five contestants and put headphones on four of them while they each answered one question, which was “What do you think makes Justin Trudeau such an inspiring leader to people across the globe?”
“My answer was the fact that Justin Trudeau is a really good role model for people in the sense that he doesn’t have the fear inside of him, of people who look different, who act different, who speak different or who go about their lives differently,” Kaur said.
She told the judges about how Trudeau makes it more than simply tolerating people — instead, it’s how he encourages everyone to embrace and accept people for who they are.
Although Huntsville, Ontario resident Ciara Thompson ended up being crowned Miss Canada 2017, it was never about that for Kaur.
“It’s not about winning. We all came out feeling like winners, especially in the top five. The girl who won, I was so incredibly happy for her. I knew that regardless of who the crown went to, that it was going to be represented well by any one of those girls,” she said.
Kaur said she was impressed with how the pageant was more than a physical competition.
“This is genuinely a personality pageant. It was about inner beauty, about ambition, grace, respect, friendship, kindness, generosity and sharing of opinions,” she said.
As opposed to some other pageants, each Miss Canada contestant was being judged from the moment they stepped foot in the hotel on opening night until the top five answered their interview questions.
Kaur has been invited to a pageant this summer that she is considering, and she’s not against competing for Miss Canada again next year, because of her great experience.
“This journey was totally a gift for me. I think more pageants should be like this one,” she said.
Kaur also added that if anyone is interested in participating in a pageant or has any questions, they are more than welcome to reach out to her on Facebook: Navi Nanan or National Canadian Miss British Columbia, or on Instagram: @navinanan.