Have you heard? Brittany Bitternose (Cree, Treaty 4, member of George Gordon First Nation) is running for Miss Canada Globe ’12 today in Toronto. Here are a few questions about her title and her dream this weekend …
What inspired you to run for Miss Canada Globe?
I never sought out the pageant on my own, one of their recruiters approached me on Facebook and asked if I would review their website and consider applying. I feel when opportunities present themselves I shouldn’t let them pass by, I would have felt regret if I hadn’t at least gave it a chance to see if I qualified. Also, I have always had some sort of self confidence issues and major stage fright. I felt this could give me the experience and training I would need to be more out spoken and to achieve leadership skills. It had went from doing it as a challenge for myself to using it as platform to be a advocate for the charities I wish to bring awareness to.
What is the process like? Did you have to compete locally, regionally, and provincially first?
The recruiter kept in touch with me, I was just basically involved with work and stuff, and she would email me and remind me about the deadlines for applying. Then one day after a lot of thinking and talking about it with my family I had only one hour left to apply. I immediately called my mom. We decided that its a pretty unique opportunity – a beauty pageant, this is not a first in my family but this one offers a national platform.
It seemed like a huge stretch for me on a couple levels and very new. After my mom said that with family support and that she would help me, I applied. The process was a written application, then a couple weeks later a phone interview where they asked me some questions and I did the best I could in answering them – the interview lasted about 15 minutes. Then they said they would get back to me. Less than 48 hours later they called and said they would be pleased if I agreed to be a finalist for Miss Canada Globe 2012. I said ”sure”!
How expensive is it to run for a pageant? What are the associated costs?
The fee itself is $3,000. The required gowns and everything for the pageant week; not including the mandatory regional assessment training of which you are responsible for every cost associated with attending. The required gowns, cocktail dresses, shoes, everything, at the end of the day we projected $10,000. In reality, it cost upwards of $10,000 including flights to Toronto; meals; hotels; room sharing; taxi service; and all preparations up to the pageant week.
How did you fundraise to make it to Toronto to compete?
We began by creating a sponsorship package; a very nice marketing tool to approach companies and my band for fee sponsorship. Our first goal was to get the fee paid then worry about the rest afterward. My grandparents threw a BBQ Steak Dinner Fundraiser and silent auction, which drew upwards of $2000, that was fantastic. My Band agreed to pay the fee – which of course had to be paid first. The mandatory regional assessment training required upwards of $1,200 to attend. We held a garage sale; another steak dinner night x 2; raffle tickets; and a percentage of proceeds of two comedy nights; and donations were also garnered through Facebook.
And even though we had been first refused, I was informed at the last minute that the Dreamcatcher Foundation is donating. The fundraising has proven to be successful as we raised exactly what we needed. There were times when we worried if we were going to meet the needs. With family and friends support coming through, everything has landed in place at the right time.
Who are the top three most inspiring people in your life?
Definitely my mother for sure, we have a very close relationship and she has done a wonderful job in raising me and my older sister. She has always put us first and made sure we had everything we need even if we couldn’t always get what we wanted, we lived in a good loving home because of her and thats all that mattered. She is very inspiring to me on how strong she is and very warm hearted. I am in some ways just like her and that is one of the things I love about myself.
My sister is also someone I admire, we have a seven year gap and she is my best friend and a guidance in my life. She always was so amazing to me and protected me from anything she thought would cause harm. I am very inspired by her creativity and what she can do with her ideas whether it’s doing hair, make-up, drawing, interior decorating, photography, styling or doing any sorts of hand made crafts she is very gifted.
Lastly, it would have to be Ashley Callingbull. She has been through many beauty pageants and has accomplished a lot of great things in her life, I am very honoured to say I had the opportunity to get to know her as a person and what makes her very inspiring to me is even though she is a public figure, she is very humble and doesn’t try to be pretentious. She is a very well known beautiful Aboriginal role model and she’s maintained her identity. She can be the silliest person in the world and have fun and that makes her beautiful inside and out.
What are you going to wear for your evening gown portion?
Looking for an evening gown was a lot of fun, yet very difficult because I fell in love with just about every single one I tried on. The one I decided on is this elegant and fun strapless dress thats a light purple with sparkly rhinestones all over the bust area and a nice long slit that makes it flow nice. It’s very fun.
What makes you most proud to be a Native woman?
That my heritage has the strongest roots in Canada. I never have to explain why I am here. My Aboriginal community makes sure to provide support for youth to stay in school, and seek higher learning such as college and university. I am proud that my family is rooted in strong Native women who worked extra hard to provide for the next generation. My standing here in this amazing opportunity is due to the beliefs of my maternal ancestors and grandmothers. They were amazing in getting through their times and what they endured. Still, they were the classiest most dignified women of all and they are remembered for that, and for their great sense of style too.
Best of luck to you Brittany!