Hello all! My name is Maya, and I am beyond excited and honestly dumbfounded to say that I am your Miss Teenage Toronto 2018. I am still in shock, and I cannot wait to represent my diverse, beautiful city at nationals this summer!
Let me start with a little bit about me! I am 17 years old, born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. I recently retired from competitive swimming, and graduated from an AP high school program (a semester early). Ever since I was a young girl, I was always interesting in health, athletics and helping people, sending me straight to the field of kinesiology and sports medicine. I am proud to say that I will be attending Queen’s U for BSc in Kinesiology and Health sciences this fall.
JOURNEY TO THE MISS TEEN ONTARIO PAGEANT
Although I have never done pageants before, I have always loved the spotlight. Musicals, plays, Shakespeare, poetry slams… you name it! Unfortunately as school and swimming became more serious, I no longer had time for these things. However, when I finished school, I had a lot more time on my hands. So when I noticed an ad for Miss Teen Canada, I was instantly hooked. Fast forward a couple months and a whole lot of work later, I was crowned as Miss Teen Toronto 2018. Although I did not win Miss Ontario, I was overjoyed to become this year’s title holder for Toronto and cannot wait use this title as platform for my beliefs and to compete for Miss Teen Canada.
I remember standing at the back of the stage
holding hands with the amazing friends I had made in the past 48 hours, hoping and praying that all of us would make it. I didn’t care what positions we received, I didn’t want to leave a friend behind. I was just hoping that our best would be enough. The shock and joy of hearing myself and these amazing girls being called as finalists, was an incredible feeling. We all stood hand in hand shaking in awe. 48 hours earlier we were only a few out of many girls, all hopeful, and 48 hours later, together, we made it through.
MISS TEEN TORONTO: BEYOND THE TITLE
I have always loved swimming, and the water has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. From water skiing and sailing, to snorkeling and scuba diving, there is nothing you can do in the water that I haven’t tried. Because of this, retiring from competitive swimming after nearly 8 years was heartbreaking. My final competitions allowed me to represent team Canada at the 2017 Maccabiah Games.
Losing such a large part of my life was very difficult for me, but I translated my love for the sport into teaching swimming and aqua fitness, as well as lifeguarding and scuba diving. I love sharing my experiences and using my abilities to share my love of the water with others. Water is also very therapeutic. I had periods of my life where I suffered from anxiety and depression, and water has always given me an escape, something that a lot of people do not have.
In the weeks leading up to the pageant, two of my peers commited suicide. One of these was a member of the same program as me, a classmate, someone who I saw everyday in the hallway who wasn’t there anymore. Although I was not close with either of these students, I was still affected. It reminded me of my hard times, and those feelings of hopelessness. It terrified me to think that although so many young adults go through these struggles, there those who don’t have that escape, who don’t get help, or don’t believe that anyone can or will help them.
Participating in this pageant and winning a regional title has in a way, filled my loss of my sanctuary. It has given me the means to continue helping people and to work on my platform of Suicide Prevention in Canada. I am working with the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, and will be holding information booths and fundraisers for this cause.
Thanks for reading, I am excited to see where the journey to nationals will take us! Stay tuned for more posts!
Until next time,
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