When the Miss Teen Canada - World competition is held in Toronto this July there will be a local area flavour.
Jamie Newberg, a farm girl in the Norquay area, will be among the contestants having recently been named runner-up in a Saskatchewan preliminary competition.
The provincial event was held in Saskatoon with 13 competitors.
“I thought there would be lots more,” she said, adding having fewer contestants had its advantages. “It was really nice to have a small group, we all became really close.”
The event covered two days, the first an intensive prepping session, and the second the actual competition.
Newberg said the first day was a whirlwind.
“We learned our choreography, how to walk on stage,” she said, adding it was a day spent in high heels, which was hard on the feet.
“I think the last time I wore heels was my grad, and after an hour I took them off and wore flip-flops for the rest of the day,” she said, flashing her always ready smile. “My feet were pretty sore needless to say after the weekend.”
In terms of the competition itself, there was the gown and bathing suit portions, the latter a challenge for some contestants having to walk the stage in front of an audience.
In Newberg’s case being a swimming pool lifeguard helped.
“I was sort of used to walking around in a bathing suit,” she said.
In the end a girl from Martensville took top honours, with Newberg the runner up. She said not getting top spot was not a problem for her.
“I was just there for the fun of it,” she said. “I just wanted to do it because I could.”
As for the winner Newberg, 18, added, “she’s been modeling for a while … You could tell, she was just so talented from the start.”
And as it turns out all 13 Saskatchewan competitors will advance to the event in Toronto July 14-22.
“They said Saskatchewan had a lot of talent this year,” she said, adding there will be 50-to-60 competitors at the national event.
Newberg said she is preparing for Toronto now that she fully understands the competition.
“I went out and bought some heels. Every opportunity I have I will wear them to prepare my feet,” she said. “And I’m doing a lot more on my walking and my turns.”
Newberg said she spends a lot more time in front of a mirror honing her moves.
“I like being on stage. I’ve been on stage since I was five-years-old,” she said, adding she was always in high school productions too.
Newberg said ultimately she’d like to act, and plans on taking courses after completing social work training at Parkland College, which will be her fall-back career if acting does not pan out. She added the trip to Toronto could open some doors in that regard with various agents expected to be in the audience.
Regardless of everything else, Newberg said Toronto will be “a really neat experience.” She said she is looking forward to “meeting a lot of different people” and their unique perspectives on things.
“I’m so excited. I’ve actually talked about it every day since the pageant (in Saskatoon). It’s going to be such a great experience,” she said.
Newberg said she decided to enter the contest after hearing about another contestant from the area.
“There was a girl in Preeceville (Meagan Barabash). She was involved in it last year,” said Newberg. “So I kind of knew about it from that, and then I was on Facebook and saw an ad down the side for it.”
The competition is for girls who are Canadian citizens between the ages of 13 and 19. Newberg said she sent in an application, and waited.
When the call came Newberg said she had to go through a preliminary interview which was actually carried out via Skype on the Internet.
Newberg said the questions asked focused on getting to know her as a person.
“They wanted to know about where I was from … about my family, my hobbies and interests,” she said. “And why did I want to be involved in the program.”
So why did Newberg decide to enter a beauty pageant?
“I want to be an inspiration to other girls,” she said.
Newberg explained that when people think about beauty pageant contestants, the stereotype tends to be of city girls, which she is not.
Newberg grew up on a mixed farm and said on a Saturday you could well visit the farm and see her out helping with the cattle.
While that may not seem like a beauty pageant contestant activity, Newberg said she can do both, and wants other girls in small communities to know that.
“You don’t need to be a city girl,” she said.