“The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one truth, the only truth.“ This quote, by Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie, is my favourite quote about stereotypes.
As a female manufacturing engineer, a mental health advocate, and a Canadian pageant delegate, I know stereotypes intimately and I am breaking them daily. I am showing each generation that you can be yourself, regardless of what stereotypes exist and what labels society thrusts upon us.
My desire to share my experiences, talk with others, and help society see how detrimental stereotypes are at times gave me the courage to start my platform a breaking stereotypes initiative. I founded an online community called “Refractions of a Reality” (or ROAR for short) where I share stories about who I am and the stereotypes I face, encouraging others to share their experiences as well.
The phrase “Let the world hear your ROAR” reiterates that we all have sides to ourselves that we sometimes hide, but by sharing your ROAR you are giving yourself the power to be loud and to be heard.
I graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Science – Engineering at the University of Manitoba in Mechanical Engineering in spring 2019, and I am working full-time as a Manufacturing Engineer in the aerospace industry. I am a mental health advocate, having gone through depression and anxiety halfway through my degree. I competed in my first pageant in 2012 and I have since stayed involved in all aspects of pageantry, whether I’m on stage competing or behind the helping out. Engineering, mental health, and pageantry are three of the biggest stereotypes I face, both personally and professionally.
If I listened to and believed all the stereotypes I have heard, I wouldn’t be proud to admit that I love math and I can spend hours reading, or that I compete in pageants and I am a Canadian title holder. It’s still hard for me to talk about depression at times, but when it can help someone else I will. I don’t let stereotypes define who I am. My career, my personal life, and my passions would be severely limited if I let society’s labels dictate who I was and what I could do.
I am so proud to be Miss Intercontinental Canada 2019 and I am so honoured to have the opportunity to represent my home town of Winnipeg, Manitoba and my country internationally at the 48th Miss Intercontinental! I let my ROAR echo across Canada by staying true to myself, and I can’t wait to let it echo worldwide, showing the world just who this Canadian woman is.