Becky Friesen isn't afraid to try new things – or look for interesting opportunities to stretch her personal and work experiences.
Whether she works with rats, shovels wild animal manure or starts modelling just for the sake of fun, she usually winds up doing something interesting – such as entering the Miss World Canada (MWC) pageant.
The 20-year-old biological sciences student and enthusiastic Lethbridge booster freely acknowledges that parading around in an evening gown, on a runway, is about as far as you could possibly get from her work experiences at the University of Lethbridge's Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience or her recent Co-operative Education placement at a wildlife conservation facility in Langley B.C., but anyone who knows her shouldn't be surprised.
"I have always believed in the value of being multifaceted, instead of only focusing in one or two fields. I find it's a lot more fulfilling for me to always be surprising and challenging myself," says Friesen.
She was made aware of the pageant opportunity through the family members she stayed with in Langley who knew the reigning Miss World Canada, and who also had worked with the MWC organization in the past. In addition to being a stable business and having a good track record, Friesen says there is a significant charity component to the group, which really appeals to her.
"As contestants and through other MWC activities either in BC or in our home communities, we support Variety, the Children's Charity and its efforts to support the families of children with disabilities, and my goal is to raise its profile here in southern Alberta," she says.
"As well, I have to also gain some corporate and personal sponsorship to help me out with some expenses as a competitor, so I have plans to approach local organizations and businesses for assistance."
Friesen jumped at the chance to do some modelling for charity fashion shows while in Langley and was subsequently asked by the MWC director to apply for the more intense pageant process, which entails public speaking, community service work and demonstrating a talent. She says competing in Miss World Canada has given her a great opportunity to meet some of the people who make Lethbridge so wonderful and in turn, tell others about the community.
"For me, this is a great chance to really stand up and say 'Hey … I'm from Lethbridge! Pay attention to us! We're awesome!' Getting involved in the community, as well as competing in the actual pageant, will give me a lot of practice in my communication skills which will be a valuable asset for the rest of my life."
A Winston Churchill High School graduate and former competitive hip-hop dancer, Friesen says that post-secondary research hadn't entered her mind until she jot a job through the Heritage Youth Research Student (HYRS) program while in grade 11, and wound up working for Dr. Gerlinde Metz at the CCBN for two co-op placements. She never dreamed that taking a job at an endangered wildlife facility would lead her to the equally wild world of fashion and pageants.
If she is successful as a winner or runner-up at MWC she has to fulfill a year-long commitment to the organization which could include a trip to compete at the Miss World competition in Indonesia, as well as a number of public engagements which would work around her school schedule.
Anyone interested in learning more about Becky's pageant process – or supporting her as a sponsor – can connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story first appeared in the January 2013 edition of the Legend. To view the full issue in a flipbook format, follow this link.