Lacombe youth moving onto Miss Teen Canada nationals

Anna Buchanan, 17, is set to compete in Toronto later this month

TRUE BEAUTY - Anna Buchanan

TRUE BEAUTY - Anna Buchanan

A young Lacombe woman has advanced through a provincial pageant and will be moving on to compete in Toronto for the title of Miss Teenage Canada.

Anna Buchanan, 17, entered the competition on a whim in February, and ended up advancing through and was eventually crowned Miss Teenage Central Alberta.

“I thought it would be kind of a weekend experience so I could say I went in a pageant, and it’d be fun.

“It was kind of stressful getting ready for the pageant because I had no idea what to expect, what I was doing or if there were going to be other girls there that were super skilled at this,” said Buchanan.

“It was a lot of different emotions and I wasn’t expecting anything to come of it. But then it did, and I just thought wow. It still hasn’t fully hit me. I think when I get to Toronto that’ll happen.”

The pageant is more than a beauty contest. Each of the girls selected regionally is expected to fundraise for a charity, volunteer and promote values such as conduct, drive and ambition. Buchanan has been using her new title to help bring awareness to organizations such as Free the Children and the MS Society, Central Alberta Chapter.

Buchanan has had ties with Free the Children for a number of years now, and is currently focused on building a school in Kenya through the Year of Education initiative. Buchanan has been promoting the program with multiple organizations and community members to help her reach the goal of $10,000, the amount it takes to build a school. She sells one brick for $20, and 500 bricks will build a school.

“I’ve always loved volunteering and getting out in the community. Putting a smile on people’s faces is what I really love about it. With this, (title of Miss Teenage Central Alberta) a lot of doors have been opened.

“I’ve worked with some other local organizations that I hadn’t heard of before. I’m just helping where I can,” said Buchanan.

Along with a pretty face, Buchanan has a big heart and a determined mind. She is trying to use her role as Miss Teenage Central Alberta to promote a healthy, balanced lifestyle, especially for young girls. She is dedicated to the value of beauty in every form.

“I don’t believe there is one definition of beauty. It comes in all forms. Through different things I’ve done, that’s what I’ve tried to be an advocate for and promote. I really just want to be a positive role model. Society has really corrupted what beauty means and how people should be and act – I believe in people being themselves. There is no point trying to be someone else when there is one of you.”

Buchanan was well aware of pageant stereotypes and was, at first, concerned about being surrounded by and attached to those negative implications. She was, however, very wrong. She explains that the values of the Miss Teen Canada pageant and affiliates are not entrenched in superficiality, but in genuine women and girls. “The whole thing is the opposite of what most people think pageants are about – it’s not just about what you look like. The interview is on a personal level. They really get to know you, and they don’t want to see a superficial person. They want you to be completely honest – there’s no point in winning if you’re going to be fake,” said Buchanan.

“That is something I value, and (honesty) is a standard I have so it wasn’t difficult to not be fake. I believe it’s very important so it was easy for me to share that.”

Buchanan is a busy young lady, from working part time jobs, to dance, spending time with friends and family to preparing for the national competition in Toronto later this month. She is still working hard to fundraise as part of her competition requirements and to maintain her volunteering in the community.

To vote for Buchanan in the category of People’s Choice for the pageant, people can visit the Miss Teen Canada web site.

kmendonsa@lacombeexpress.com