Two local women will be vying for the crown of Miss North Ontario in a pageant they say empowers women and gives them a platform to showcase their skills.
Amelie Marcoux, 19, will be competing as Miss Sault Ste. Marie, and Emma Dingle, 19, as Miss Algoma District.
The Miss North Ontario Regional Canada Pageant, now in its 16th year, will be held in Sudbury May 13-15. There is $10,000 in scholarship money to be won.
Participants also fundraise for the Northern Ontario Families of Children with Cancer (NOFCC).
According to the pageant website, $336,000 has been raised since 2006.
This will be Marcoux’s second run for the title and the first for Dingle.
While pageants have long been criticized for focusing on unhealthy and idealistic notions of beauty, Marcoux and Dingle say that is not the case with the Miss North Ontario pageant.
They are attracted to this pageant because the emphasis is on criteria like community service, scholastics, public speaking, and personal presence.
“It’s not just what I look like, which doesn’t have anything to do with the scoring process. The word beauty isn’t even in the name of the pageant,” says Marcoux.
Dingle entered because of the focus on public speaking and community work, which she enjoys, and says will be good to expand her portfolio.
“It’s a very character-based pageant where we’re valued for our morals, our community involvement and a lot of important aspects outside of physical appearance which I thought was a really wonderful experience to be a part of,” she said.
The pair, who are friends, both graduated from Superior Heights Collegiate and Vocational School.
Marcoux is a second-year nursing student at Sault College and Dingle is in her second year at the University of Waterloo in the global business and digital arts program.
Marcoux participated in the pageant in 2019 and although she didn’t place, the experience was a major boost to her confidence.
“They taught me how to walk on stage with confidence, how to speak with others, how to be a lot more articulate with others and really just having the confidence to put yourself out there and show your true personality,” she says.
A statement on the pageant website says the pageant is “empowering Northern Ontario’s young women to recognize and value their worth and potential.”
Dingle couldn’t agree more.
“You really have to be solid in your identity in these types of competitions,” she says. “You have to know yourself. You have to know your passions and I thought it was a great opportunity for me to explore my interests more, especially being a university student just trying to figure life out.”