By Grace Oborne
Jocelyn Winter earns title at the Miss Teenage Canada pageant
Highlands teen Jocelyn Winter has seen her life change in the last two months since she’s pushed past self-imposed boundaries.
On a whim, without hesitation, the 17-year-old decided that she would enter the Miss Teenage Canada pageant.
Having done nothing like this before, Jocelyn joined other teenage girls in the regional pageant event in Markham on June 11 and 12. She finished the pageant as a finalist and was officially crowned as Miss Teenage Haliburton County.
For Jocelyn, the decision to enter the pageant was instantaneous and unlike her.
“I’ve always been … not much of a people person. I usually only have a small group of friends and I never put myself out there. I guess I was just ready to push myself out of my comfort zone and speak in front of people. I wanted to actually stand on a stage without freaking out and running off,” Jocelyn said.
Jocelyn’s father, Jarett Winter, was also pleasantly surprised to see how determined Jocelyn was to face her fear and try something new.
“She really came out of her comfort zone and just got right out there, and just stepped right [in]. I was like, ‘wow.’ I just couldn’t believe it,” Jarett said.
The regional pageant weekend was unfamiliar to Jocelyn. The sequence of events for a pageantry was a routine she never thought she’d witness and experience.
“It was hectic. Rehearsals started at nine in the morning and went the entire day. Just learning how to walk in heels, learning all the poses and just everything that you need to know in order to get up on the stage and not make a fool of yourself,” Jocelyn said.
“After rehearsal, you sleep, then you go back at nine in the morning, again the next day to do more rehearsing before the night of the pageant. There are coaches, hair, makeup, and just a lot going on. Then, the pageant started at 7:30.”
Pageant contestants were asked to have a platform. A platform in pageantry is how one can stand out from other contestants. In this case, Jocelyn and the other girls were not scored on their platform.
Jocelyn’s platform is about bullying. It is important to her as it is something that hits rather close to home. She was the victim of bullying in school by three students last year.
“I ended up staying out of school for a few weeks because of that. I couldn’t handle people staring at me or whispering about me. You know, most teenagers or even children go through [bullying] a lot, to the point where they end up taking their own lives because it gets so bad. And I don’t like seeing that,” Jocelyn said.
The bullying that Jocelyn endured is ultimately what inspired her to find the courage to try something new.
“I couldn’t understand why it was her that had to go through it, but I guess these things happen. She dealt with it well and it’s why she came out of our comfort zone,” Jarett said.
Within the Miss Teenage Canada pageant, there were about 20 teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18. Then, there were also 30 Miss Worlds, which are adults ranging from the ages of 19 to mid-20s.
Jocelyn was proud to be named a finalist and crowned as Miss Teenage Haliburton County.
“I was not expecting that at all. I was so shocked and surprised. I almost ended up crying before I even stepped on the stage to get the crown, but it was just a very surprising moment. I never thought that I would be crowned to go to the national event, because I have never done this before,” she said.
An opportunity like the pageant has opened doors to many other possibilities for Jocelyn. She is not only more confident, but she has also landed her first job opportunity.
“After this, I’m actually ready to talk to more people, and because of the pageant, I actually got a job at Somerset Lakeside Resort in Cardiff. I just clean hotel rooms, I serve guests and actually take their orders and talk to them too. I’m able to speak to people and not just cower away and run to a corner.”
Jarett is excited for Jocelyn and expresses that pageants have benefits for young girls who want to begin exploring new opportunities in the workforce.
“This is good for teenage girls to get out there and to step right into the workforce, and to get you brought into life,” he said.
Jocelyn will attend the Miss Teenage Canada week-long nationals from Aug. 15 to Aug. 20 in Toronto.
Jocelyn’s advice for other young girls is they should find something that will push them but will also provide confidence and happiness.
“I would tell them to find something that they might be interested in. Even if it’s something in front of a lot of people and they don’t like speaking or standing on a stage. Just find something that’s small, and just push through your fear. Because as soon as you do, you’ll love doing what it is, all the worries and fears go away, and you just fall into the moment.”