Thank you for tuning into my second installment of my wellness series! There will be three more parts after this one, in which I will be writing about the importance of spiritual, mental, and social wellness, and how you can make small changes to improve these in your own life!


Emotional Wellness and You

This weeks blog is all around Emotional wellness. There are many factors that play into one’s emotional wellness, and taking care of yourself emotionally is vital to keeping mentally healthy. There are many signs that demonstrate the level of ones emotional wellness, and having the ability to reflect on your own level of wellness is an important step in improving yourself. A person who is engaged and involved in their own emotional wellness i is able to make decisions based on their own morals and philosophy, find validation within themselves, develop relationships based on a mutual trust and respect, recognize that challenges and stepping outside one’s comfort zone as potentially healthy, and take responsibility for their own actions. Today I’ll be overviewing various skills that you can keep in your metaphorical self care pocket when you’re not your best emotionally.

Keeping my calender helps me to keep myself organized!

Managing stress is hands down one of the most important things in keeping yourself emotionally healthy. Stress has such a huge impact on not only your mental health, but your body as well. Stress can cause insomnia, headaches, high blood pressure, and stomach aches, just to name a few. There are a number of things you can do to help lower your own stress. In terms of incorporating stress prevention, keeping things as organized as possible works for many people. Keeping deadlines, events, and appointments either on your calendar on your phone, or in a planner that’s always with you is a way of ensuring you are aware of your schedule. Keeping a list of your plans and things that need to be completed also helps to prioritize your time and keep you on top of things. Many people I know, including myself, sometimes struggle with procrastination, whether it be from lack of motivation or other things. Putting your work into steps, or making a checklist, and putting things in order of importance is something that I know helps me a lot. Here is an article on 10 tips on beating procrastination! I know that I’ve used a lot of these, and can vouch for their usefulness.

Self care isn’t selfish!

There are also many things you can do to manage your stress in a self care aspect. Something as simple as taking a few deep breaths can work wonders by calming yourself down, slowing the heart rate, and lowering blood pressure. Simply take five minutes, sit up straight, close your eyes, and slowly breathe in through your nose, making sure that your breath fills your abdomen, and exhaling through your mouth. Listening to music is also a great stress relief. Turning on your favourite playlist, or some upbeat, feel-good music, is a quick way to improve your mood. Something I know always works for me is turning on an episode of my favourite TV show, Modern Family! It always makes me laugh, and if I am too stressed out, it temporarily clears my mind, so I can come back more focused to complete whatever it I was working on. It is also extremely important to be have someone to talk to when things are getting tough, whether it be a friend, family member, professional, or even a help line. Having someone to talk to can help you put things into perspective, especially when something seems like the end of the world, and trust me, this is a feeling I completely understand. Taking time to yourself is a huge aspect of emotional wellness, and using relaxation and self care methods is an easy way of helping yourself emotionally.

Here’s a challenge for this coming week, inspired by this article on emotional wellness.

  1. Engage in positive self-talk! We often find ourselves thinking things like “I can’t do this” or “This is too hard”. When you find yourself thinking these things, stop yourself, and correct it. Instead of “I can’t do this”, think “I will try my best”, instead of “This is too hard”, think “Although this seems difficult, I will do what I can and ask for help if I need it”. Even if it doesn’t feel genuine at first, the more you repeat it the more you will believe it!
  2. Seek emotional support when necessary. Do not be afraid to ask for help! No one is perfect, and we all need help at some point. It is more brave to ask for help when you need it than going through something difficult by yourself.
  3. If you have a pet, spend some time with them! I have two cats and a dog, and whenever I’m in a bad mood I always can look to one of my cats to sit with me and cuddle.
  4. Pamper yourself! Where I am, the weather is finally starting to warm up a little, so if you’re lucky enough to feel spring coming, go for a walk! The warmer weather and smell of spring is uplifts, and nature is always the best medicine. You can also do something as simple as take a bubble bath, get a massage, paint your nails, or do a face mask. Here’s a link to some cheap and homemade face masks!
  5. Develop a healthy habit that pertains to your own emotional wellness. Here are a few to choose from:
  • Mindfulness
  • Expressing your feelings, not bottling up
  • Staying optimistic and keeping a positive attitude
  • Find your own way to cope with stress
  • Relax and take time to recharge
  • Ask for help!
  • Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.

I hope you found this weeks blog useful! Thanks for reading, remember to check back for next weeks blog!

Til Next Time

Aleria

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I’m so excited to start my new wellness series! There will be five parts, in which I will be writing about the importance of physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, and social wellness, and how you can make small changes to improve these in your own life! All of these tie into one another in at least one way, and that will become clear to you throughout the posts.


Physical Wellness and You

This week’s blog is all about physical wellness. People often underestimate the impact that eating right and keeping active can have on your energy, mood, and overall wellbeing. Throughout this series, I am going to make a habit of practicing what I preach, and ensuring that I am living this in my everyday life. While many things contribute to one’s physical wellness, the main pillars are nutrition and fitness. This can be as simple as making healthier choices and taking the stairs.

Water is life!

Even something like drinking water is something people have a hard time with. I cannot stress enough the importance of drinking water, and this is coming from someone who is too often dehydrated, so I understand. I’ve found myself in the emergency room with a saline drip on a couple occasions after fainting from dehydration. I know how not drinking water can affect the body, and trust me, it’s not fun.

There are so many benefits to keeping hydrated such as:

  • Flushing Toxins
  • Improves Complexion
  • Improve Aches and Pains Caused by Dehydration
  • Increases Energy and Improves Fatigue
  • Promote Weight Loss
  • Improve Organ Function

The amount of water an individual requires is affected by a number of factors,  such as physical activity, weight, age, height, and climate. We lose water everyday by simple things such as perspiration, breathing, urine, and bowel movements. It is imperative that we replenish the water lost in our bodies. The average woman needs around 2.7 liters a day, and the average man needs around 3.7 liters. Not many people are average, so it’s important to factor in your own health and needs! So right now, where ever you are, get up and drink a glass of water! Continue when you’ve done so. I’ll wait.

Anyways.

The Canada Food Guide is a great place to start with serving sizes!

Nutrition has an effect on everything, your body, mind, and spirit. It is important to have a healthy relationship with food, and it is important to view food as food. Understanding how different choices can affect your body is vital to making the right choices. You know that gross, heavy feeling after you eat a meal from McDonald’s? Yeah, you know. That isn’t how food should make you feel. Food is fuel, and if you’re filling your body with low-quality food, you can imagine how it will affect your body. This can be as simple as choosing a vegetable as a side at a restaurant. Looking at servings you require on a day to day basis is a great way to start if you’re looking to get more healthy. However, taking into account your own health and needs are extremely important. The goal of the food guide is to ensure that you receive all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to function well and how you need it to. Looking up quick and easy recipes is always a great way to start. I love making my breakfasts for the week Sunday night, I put all my smoothie ingredients in a large mason jar, and put them in the fridge. Then, each morning I can just put it in a blender and I’m good to go! I’m also not a huge fan of salads, so I try and get a couple servings of vegetables in my morning smoothies. I put kale and other dark leafy greens to ensure that I get my servings in. Lots of people make excuses for being busy and not being able to eat well. As a girl who’s always on the go, I understand. However, there are so many ways to make sure your schedule accommodates a healthy lifestyle. Here’s a link to an article for quick tips on eating well!

Me and Paul, the owner of Anytime Fitness Brantford

Fitness has always been apart of my life, although sometimes, I admit, it wasn’t a priority. I danced from ages 3 to 15, competing for nearly 8 years, and I didn’t realize how much it had an impact on my fitness. It kept me active, and once I stopped it took a toll on my body. I lost muscle and gained weight. Before this, I could eat anything and not worry, because I’d burn it off at dance class (which wasn’t the best for my health, admittedly). My school is famous for the number of stairs, and once I lost stamina, I was upset to find myself being winded headed to math class. I knew this needed to change. I discovered Blogilates, and I fell in love. I tried doing this as much as my schedule allowed, and called it a day. We all know the 60 minutes of moderate activity we should do a day, but how many of us really do? I recently was sponsored by Anytime Fitness Brantford, and this is where I’ll be preparing for nationals! As I said before, I completely understand the struggle of a full schedule. Between school, homework, extracurriculars, having a social life, sponsor meetings, nationals prep, events, and everything else, I can barely find time for sleep and eating, let alone going to the gym for an hour! But there are always little things you can do to help your body to be a little more fit. Taking the stairs, walking, riding a bike, even incorporating physical activity into your social life. Take a group of your friends to a trampoline park, go on a trail hike, even walking around the mall is a small thing you can do. I like to go to the gym with friends, to help motivate me to actually get out and go. Having an organized and detailed schedule also helps to keep you on track. I keep all my deadlines, meetings, and plans on my phone with specifics, and since I have it synced to my laptop and phone, it’s on me at almost all times.

There are so many things to help your physical health, and the key to this is knowing your body, your limits, and researching and experimenting with what works for you! I hope this was helpful to you, and make sure to check back next week for the next installment. Thank you for reading!

Check out Anytime Fitness Brantford’s social media’s! They have a genuinely warm and inclusive environment, and I felt welcome the moment I walked in.

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Til Next Time

Aleria

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This post contains content that could potentially trigger individuals.

Help Lines:

Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
Six Nations Youth Crisis Line: 1-866-445-2204
Haldimand/Norfolk REACH Crisis Line: 1-866-327-3224
Native Youth Crisis Hotline: 1-877-209-1266
Mental Health Crisis Line St Leonards: 519-759-7188

Resources from CASP

We all have mental health. So many of us experience mental illness. In any given year, approximately 1 in 5 people will personally experience a mental health problem or illness (CMHA). There are so many factors that play into mental health, and anyone can suffer from a mental illness. Self-care and wellness are talked about a lot these days, however many of us still don’t know what this entails, and how we can implement this in our daily lives. This is my introduction to a new weekly blog series all about wellness and helping your own mental health in little ways. As a disclaimer, I’d like to say, not everything will work for everyone! We are all individuals and it’s important that we all feel safe to be able to try and find new things that might work for us. Not everything has worked for me over the years, and I’ve worked to find things that help me and my mental health.

Speaking about the need of a suicide prevention plan in Canada.

My platform as Miss Teenage Ontario is raising awareness for youth suicide on reserves, and I’ve been lucky to have already done a lot with this topic and start a conversation, which is my goal as a titleholder. Part of the conversation when it comes to the topic of suicide prevention is mental health, and I believe that the more people in the public eye come out with their own stories, the more comfortable people will feel seeking help, lessening the stigma that is surrounded by mental illness. I’ve experienced this in my own life, after having read Pattie Mallette’s book Nowhere But Up. I was 13 when I first read her book that went into depth about her trauma she experienced, and seeing that we had similar experiences made me genuinely feel as if I weren’t alone. I was able to open up about my own trauma, and it helped me begin the process of healing. If I am able to help someone even half as much as her book helped me, I know I will have made a difference. This is why I tell my story.

My experiences with mental health started when I was very young. I witnessed it in my own family, with addiction, anxiety, and depression. This impacted me as a child, seeing the effect it could have on my loved ones. My own personal struggles began soon after, and I dealt with my own traumas as the years went on. When I was in the eighth grade, I began having anxiety attacks at school and struggling with self-harm. It was the beginning of a long 4 years in high school, coping with panic disorder, depression, and later as I found out, post-traumatic stress disorder. This was accompanied by a number of hospital trips, medications, and hours and hours of therapy.

Me at 14, still smiling despite everything going on inside.

Beginning grade nine was hard for a number of reasons, but for the most part, it was loneliness. I didn’t have many close friends, and I felt extremely alone for most of the year. I was lucky to discover theatre before the end of the year, and I found a home within my school. However, this wasn’t the end. I had friends and people who accepted me, but I was still struggling with things that lingered from the past. I was constantly unhappy, and it worsened as grade 10 began. Situational things arose, and it had a negative effect on me as well. To make it worse, I had a hard time with coping skills and had difficulty working them into my life in a practical way. Grade 11 and 12 were much the same, my mental health going up and down throughout the years. I’d have weeks when I struggled to get out of bed, missing days of school and getting behind in all my classes. It was in and out, I would have these episodes, then for a while, things seemed to be looking up. However, around December of 2016, everything seemed blue.

My dates and I at prom, a day I almost didn’t see.

Things slowly got worse over the next months, and one day in April 2017, an incident occurred that incited my decision that I was going to take my life. I had suicidal thoughts and ideations in the past, but this was different. After my suicide attempt, I spent around 2 weeks in the hospital. It was lonely and scary at times, but looking back I can clearly see how much I needed it. Prior to all this, I knew I had wanted to participate in Miss Teenage Ontario again. This, as well as the play I wrote which would be performed by my school the following year, gave me something to work towards and look forward to. For the next months, this is what I put my energy into. It paid off, and putting my time into something to better myself and something positive had such a monumental effect on my mental health. I had made many changes in my life for the better, and I am thankful for how far I have come. This does not mean my story is over. There are still things I am dealing with and there are still days that are hard, but there is no shame in that. Healing does not come easy. I am thankful for this voice I have been given through my title, and I am so excited for what is to come. I always stay hopeful for what the future holds for me, and I know God has a plan for my life, something I am thankful for every day. We all have a reason to be in this world, and every life is important. I’m looking forward to starting the first official post for my wellness blogs! Stay tuned for my next post in the series!

Til Next Time

Aleria

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A screenshot of the photo in the Two Row Times!

This is just a short update post! Recently, I had the honour of being recognized by the Six Nations Band Council during the council meeting on March 20th. Alongside Sean Bomberry, former US Marine, I was awarded a plaque recognizing me as a role model for the community within my advocacy in pageants. I spoke quickly afterwards about my journey to Miss Teenage Canada and my plans for my platform. I am so deeply honoured to have received this recognition, and I hope I can continue to be a role model! I can’t express how continually thankful I am for my community’s support.

Til Next Time

Aleria

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With the other panellists

On March 22nd I had the opportunity to speak on a panel for Town Hall Meeting: Children Only Have One Childhood – The Need for a National Suicide Prevention Action Plan & First Nations Equity. Getting to hear from Charlie Angus, MP for Timmins-James Bay, and the other panellists was such an educational experience, and I’m honoured to have been given the chance to speak. I learned a lot about current resources in place, and where we as a nation are still lacking. Unfortunately, I was not surprised when hearing of the unacceptable conditions many communities are in, however, I hope everyone who attended has been as inspired as I was to help make the change our country needs to make. Canada is in dire need of a National Suicide Prevention Action Plan, and it is unacceptable that we are the only G8 country without one. Here is a transcript of the speech I shared with everyone during the meeting.

“Hello everyone, I am honoured to be here tonight, discussing an issue that has affected not only my community and those surrounding, but in my own home as well. My name is Aleria, I am eighteen years old, and I am a suicide attempt survivor. It breaks my heart thinking about what would happen if I had succeeded, however, I am here, and I promised myself that I will do what I can to help those who are in similar situations as I once was.

In January of this year, I earned myself the title of Miss Teenage Ontario with my platform of raising awareness for youth suicide on reserves. In August, I will be competing for the title of Miss Teenage Canada where I am hoping to gain a national platform to spread my message of hope amidst a world that often seems to have none left. I also had the opportunity to be the playwright for my schools annual NTS Drama Festival entry. The play is about a young girl growing up on reserve, who has to deal with the suicide of her older sister. So far, we have advanced to the regional festival, and have been invited to perform our show at a number of schools, including Brock University. I am very happy we have been able to reach as many people as we have, and share our message while raising awareness for this evergrowing issue.

I can’t express how earth shattering it is to grow up in a place where suicide is far to frequent among our young people, almost common. Growing up I watched my brother experience losing friends and classmates to suicide, hearing his anger and disbelief, not knowing that one day I would grow up to face the same issues, going to funerals for those in close proximity and age.

One of the main problems I find when these events happen, is the effect it  has on the youth who are left. The Werther Effect states that publicized suicides may serve as a trigger for the next suicide by a suggestible person. So many of our youth are already susceptible to suicidal behaviours thoughts, or ideation, when we glorify those who do die by suicide, it creates a dangerous message to send to the next generations. It suggests that lives ended by suicide are more important than anything you could have done on this earth. We need to tell our young people that they are important. That their lives are worth something. In the words of poet William Giles, “If we can give each other permission to die, we can give each other permission to live”. We need to do better.

As a young person who was raised in an environment in which suicide is not uncommon, I can easily recount the hopelessness of receiving a message from someone informing me of yet another childhood friend or classmate who had passed. Seeing a child in a casket is a feeling I would never wish upon anyone. My message is simple. Look through the darkness because, there is always hope.

Despite the pain and loss and hardship we all face, there is a tomorrow as long as you let it happen. No matter how alone you may feel, there is always somewhere you can go. When I was going through hard times I was extremely blessed to have an incredible support system within my family, however, I know not everybody has that. There are always other resources one can reach out to, and we need to make those resources readily available and genuine.

Real mental health training for emergency responders. I’ve run into nurses, doctors and paramedics who were angry with me, telling me to calm down, who seemed irritated with me or suggested I was fine. I don’t mean to generalize by any means because I also have had some truly incredible health care providers. As well, teaching those who are on the front lines of giving mental health services that providing self care is incredibly valuable to being able to serve others. Giving understanding to people who are in those destructive situations, that they are not a name in a system, but they are going through the steps to give them the help they need. That there is no shame in mental health issues. That they are never alone.

I want to end with this. The lives that are lost to suicide and their worth in our world is not up for debate. Simply stated, one life lost to suicide is one too many. These lives are not statistics, these lives are not stories, these lives are not politics. They were lives. They were breathing, living people, sisters, brothers, aunties, uncles and it is our job to do what we can and change things for the future generations. Thank you all.

Be kind.”

I got to speak to many people afterwards, and I am looking forward to the events and appearances I have been invited to speak at in the coming months. Thank you for reading!

Til Next Time

Aleria

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I am extremely blessed to have parents who come from rich and fascinating cultures, and I am extremely proud of where I come from.

The Six Nations welcome sign!

My father is Dene, Cree, and Metis from Alberta, where he was born and raised. I was actually born in Edmonton and lived there until I was two. After that, my family moved to Six Nations, Ontario, where I still reside. My mother is Anishinaabe from Temagami First Nation, and Onondaga from Six Nations of the Grand River.

Although all of these nations are a part of my identity, when asked I will usually tell others I am Onondaga, since it is the part that feels most close to me, since I was raised on Six Nations around other Haudenosaunee people. I grew up going to an on-reserve elementary school, learning Cayuga instead of French, surrounded by my culture and history. I am proud to come from a reserve, and today I am here to tell you more about Six Nations!

The Haldimand Tract Map (outline) and today’s location (red)

Now I know a number of people who are reading this are likely from Six Nations, as many of my supporters are from home, but for those of you who aren’t, I’ll start out with some facts and history! So the Six Nations are made up of Onondaga, which I am, Tuscarora, Oneida, Seneca, Mohawk, and Cayuga. When describing where we are located to people who aren’t from my area, I usually say that we are between Hamilton, Brantford, and Hagersville. My old title from 2015 was actually Miss Teenage Six Nations of the Grand River, so at nationals I found myself describing the area as such.

Six Nations of the Grand River actually has the highest population of any First Nation in Canada, with the total band membership as 27 276 (2017), and 12 848 (2017) living on reserve. When I think about that number, I try and imagine how much that is, and I know it sounds typical, but it really is a place where everyone knows everyone! And even if you don’t know someone, you probably know their parents or siblings, which can be good or bad, depending on how you view it. I personally look at it as a positive, because since everyone knows everyone, there’s always so much support for so many local causes. When there is a family in need hosting a fundraiser, we are always there to lend a hand and support where we can. When I was doing my fundraisers for Miss Teenage Ontario, I had so many people who supported me, which I am incredibly thankful for.

A photo from Bread and Cheese 2014! (Brantford Expositor)

Six Nations is host to many events throughout the year, most notably, our annual Bread & Cheese celebration in May, and the Grand River Champion of Champions Powwow. Bread & Cheese is Six Nations’ celebration of Victoria Day, in which everyone has the chance to line up and receive a slice of bread and cheese, hence the name. There’s always a fair and parade, and I’m excited to attend this year as Miss Teenage Ontario!

A beautiful photo from the Spec of some dancers!

The Grand River Champion of Champions Powwow is held annually the fourth weekend of July. The website describes the event as “an Aboriginal Multicultural event, annually the fourth weekend of July; so as to promote our rich arts heritage by showcasing our ‘pride’ in music, dance, arts and crafts”. The event draws people from across Canada and the United States, and it is always a great weekend, full of incredible dancing, art, and of course, food! My personal favourites are the scone dogs and indian tacos, but there’s always so many vendors to choose from. You can also find some fantastic art, from the artists who are set up throughout the weekend. From paintings to beadwork to leather, and much much more, there’s always somewhere to be browsing. I absolutely love going, and I’m looking forward to this year’s powwow!

There’s so much more about my community that I could share, but I just wanted to share a few facts, maybe I’ll do a part two eventually! I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog! Thanks for reading!

Til Next Time

Aleria

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This March break I had the honour of attending two events over the course of three days!

At the Opportunity Knocks conference!

Monday and Tuesday I was given the opportunity to be a panellist at NPAAMB‘s 4th annual Opportunity Knocks Career Conference for aboriginal youth. The event was three days, held at the White Oaks Spa and Resort in St Catherines. It is such a great chance for native youth to expand their knowledge and gain insight on a number of different pathways for their futures.

As a panellist, I was lucky to have been able to sit in on other sessions, and also hear from my fellow panellists as well! I was featured alongside Johnny Powless, professional lacrosse player and three-time NLL Championship winner, Bill O’Brien, professional lacrosse player and co-founder of Thompson Brothers Lacrosse, and Carey Leigh Thomas, professional softball player and member of Team Canada. Our breakout session was called In A Competitive World. We each spoke about our various areas of expertise, and how we have been able to be successful in our fields. Something I thought that was important we all shared, is how failure is only a step to success. We each said how we failed in our areas, however, the common thing between all of us was that we were able to get up and try again, with the newfound knowledge from our first attempts.

My bio in the program!

Over two days, we had three breakout sessions presented to a number of the youth attendees. It was so exciting to see so many native teens eager to learn. It was also a learning experience for me, getting to hear from three successful, inspirational indigenous role models on how they view competition and having a good mindset. I’ll definitely be bringing this knowledge with me to nationals, and for my preparation for Miss Teenage Canada!

 

The LNHL Pledge

Speaking of Miss Teenage Canada, the second event I attended this week was the Little NHL in Mississauga, which for those who may not know, stands for the Little Native Hockey League! This years tournament was proudly hosted by Moose Cree First Nation, located in northern Ontario. The Little NHL began in 1971, and the first tournament hosted 17 teams and around 200 players. Today, the tournament has grown to 209 teams and approximately 3000 players, drawing thousands of indigenous people from across Ontario. I have memories of going to these tournaments with my mom to cheer on my older brother as he participated.

The day after I finished in St Catherines, I made the hour drive to Mississauga where the tournament was being held. I was apart of the event Celebrating & Honour Female Success! Participants and supporters alike came to watch keynote presenters and Olympic Gold Medalists Cheryl Pounder and Becky Keller speak on their road to Team Canada and the Olympics.

Becky Kellar during her keynote speech.

It really was fascinating to hear from the both of them, especially since Becky Kellar was raised in Hagersville, which is only a short 10-minute drive from my house. They both spoke on how being a female in hockey presented barriers growing up since at the time they both started hockey there was no women’s hockey in the Olympics. They had a great message to share with the young participants, especially the young girls.

With Emma and Ashley!

Afterwards, I got to speak alongside Ashley Callingbull, former Mrs Universe, and this year’s Miss Teenage Canada, Emma Morrison! It was so great getting to meet Emma and talk with her. We also swapped stories and happened to find a couple weird similarities between us, like a knack for fainting at the worst times, which we laughed about. She also gave me advice for nationals, and told me about her experience, which was really interesting to hear!

I had the opportunity to share my platform with the audience, which was exciting as well. Ashley and Emma both spoke about their journeys to their titles, and Ashley spoke a lot about conquering fears and how it’s important to one’s personal growth. We had a meet & greet afterwards, and got to take pictures with some of the participants.

Now that my events for the week are finished, I’m taking the time to rest and catch up on school work, since you know, it is March break! Thank you so much for reading!

Til next time,

Aleria

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Hello all! My name is Aleria, and I am so excited and honoured to say that I am your Miss Teenage Ontario 2018. It still feels so surreal, and I can’t express how excited I am to meet all the contestants from across Canada in Toronto at the national pageant this summer!

The poster for our show!

First, I’ll tell you a bit about myself! I am 18 years old, and a proud indigenous woman from Six Nations, Ontario. I personally identify as Onondaga and Anishinaabe. I love theatre and performing, and at the moment I plan on attending York University for Theatre this coming September! I am in my fifth year of high school and am heavily involved in my school’s extracurricular drama program. I actually had the opportunity to write this years entry for the NTS Drama Festival, it’s about youth suicide on reserves, which is also my platform. The play is titled “And She Split the Sky in Two”, and so far we have been invited to perform at Brock University, and a number of other schools! I’m very excited for the coming months to see what opportunities come from our show.

After the crowning at Miss Teenage Ontario 2015

My journey to Miss Teenage Ontario started back in 2014 when I decided to apply for Miss Teenage Ontario 2015. I competed the following January and was awarded the title Miss Teenage Six Nations of The Grand River. For the next year, I had an incredible time attending events in my community and fundraising for a number of charities.

I had known of the pageant for a number of years, as pageants have always been something I loved watching. I thought it was incredible how such inspiring women could be given platforms for them to be a role model and use their voice for things they are passionate about. I had watched the national pageant online since I was 11 years old. Being one of those girls on the national stage was a dream I was so thankful to have fulfilled.

At MTC 2015, with Isha, Miss Teenage Peel 2015

My memories of competing in Miss Teenage Canada 2015 were nothing but positive. I loved the girls I met and the things I learned from my week-long experience are lessons that still follow me today. When finals night came along, I admit I had a sense of disappointment when my name was not called for the Top 20. Despite this, I was still proud since I knew that I had done the best I could, and I knew everyone who supported me was still proud of everything I had accomplished. I knew, however, that my journey was not finished yet. I knew I wanted to compete again, but I decided I would wait till I was older, more mature and confident with myself. I reflected on how I did and where I had room to grow. After the pageant ended, the preparations began.

Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

-Henry Ford

Over the next couple years, I worked hard in school and got more involved in my community and school. Fast forward to January of this year. Everything was in place and I knew I was ready and had done everything I could. Crowning had started, my goal was top three, anything more than that was a blessing. As we got closer to the top three, I grew more and more nervous.

After being crowned Miss Teenage Ontario!

Beside me was Alice Li, Miss Toronto World 2017 and Miss World Ontario 2018. When we got to the second runners-up, we looked at each other and instinctively reached for each other’s hand. They announced the first runner-up for Miss Teenage Ontario and Miss World Ontario, and this was it. Finally, they called my name as Miss Teenage Ontario. It was a literal dream come true. After my crowning, they called Alice’s name as Miss World Ontario! It’s such a nice moment to look back on, and I still think it’s such a coincidence that we both happened to be beside each other.

Here‘s a video of the crowning moment!

At an interview at Jukasa Radio 93.5!

Since my crowning, I have been very busy! I’ve had a number of interviews from local newspapers and radio stations. I have also started my work on my platform, Raising Awareness for Youth Suicide on Reserves. Most prominently, I had a segment featured on APTN National News! (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network). It was posted on Facebook, where it received over 500 shares! This is incredible to me because it allows me to spread awareness for my platform, which is extremely close to my heart. You can watch the segment here.

That’s all for now, I look forward to posting more in the coming months leading up to nationals, stay tuned for more! Also, feel free to follow my social media’s, which I will link below!

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Til Next Time, 

Aleria

Written by: Aleria Tagged with:, , , , , ,
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Posted On: Categories:Miss Teenage Ontario
Written by: MTC Blog Team
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Posted On: Categories:Miss Teenage Ontario

Hello everyone! I have been at the Miss Teenage Canada Pageant for 5 days so far. This once in a lifetime experience has surpassed any expectation that I had coming in. I want to highlight some of my favourite memories, activities and sponsors so far.

Firstly, I arrived to the sponsorship party Monday night, and was greeted by so many amazing companies and brands. Not to mention the 58 other beautiful girls that I got to meet. Up To Time is graciously awarding the winner of Miss Teenage Canada a stunning watch out of their collection, so I got to pick the one that I would take home.

Stunning Silver Uptothetime watch.

Another one of my favourite products was a silky body butter and soap from Golden Glamour Goddesses. This amazing team of beauties were offer spray tans as well!!!

Thank you Golden Glamour Goddesses the gifts!

On day 2, of Miss Teenage Canada, I had my official photoshoot done which was so much fun. I had a blast working my fairy like Jordan Stewart romper.

All ready for my Official Photoshoot!

Another memorable moment was on Day 4, when I went to the Clarington Adventure park to visit the animals. There were baby goats that roamed the park, which reminded me of little puppies. Then, I got to feed a lemur some cranberries. The lemurs in fact jump and cling onto your body if you have a treat for them, it was amazing.

The cutest baby lion, only two weeks old.

After the adventure park, we headed to the beach for lunch, and were greeted by Snappy Towels, and a series of bikini lines. I got to do a photoshoot for Jolieswim and used my multipurpose Snappy Towel in between my bikini shoot.

Wearing JolieSwim and a SnappyTowel

My favourite part of Day 4 was when Nine West Canada, our official shoe sponsor had us in their store for a meet and greet. In addition, they were extremely generous in giving every contestant an amazing gift, along with our shoes. I had such a hard time picking from all the gorgeous styles in the store, but I managed to find the perfect pink bag.

Featuring my beautiful rose bag from Nine West Canada

Thank you to all the sponsors for making this experience once in a life time. I’m so glad that I’ve gotten to work with all these amazing brands on my journey to Miss Teenage Canada.

I’ll check back in with you all shortly.

Lots of love, from Miss Teenage Ontario, Miana xoxo

Written by: Miana
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