Competing in one of Canada’s largest beauty pageants is more than Crystal Edwards bargained for. Literally.
After being crowned Miss Teen Central B.C. in Vancouver earlier this month, Edwards, an 18-year old student at Nechako Valley Secondary School, has opted not to attend the national competition in Toronto.
She became slightly disillusioned with the pageant when an official told her she would have to pay $500 to receive a sash, an item of memorabilia emblazoned with her regional title.
But beyond the price of the sash, Edwards and her mother, Moe, estimate the national pageant will cost more than $7,000 after factoring in the $2,852 entry fee, the $3,000 of charity fundraising, plus expenses for accommodations, travel and attire.
“It’s just exorbitant. It’s too much to have to work on right now when she’s trying to graduate,” said Moe.
The realization that the pageant was partly based on a contestant’s bank account made Crystal think twice about investing thousands of extra dollars when she is only months away from graduating high school and possibly enrolling in college or university.
“I just tried to make the wisest decision,” she said.
Had Crystal decided to attend the nationals, however, she had the full support of her parents.
“Her father and I would have done everything we could to get her there,” said Moe.
“We would back her regardless.”
Rather than dwelling on what could have transpired at the national pageant, Crystal focuses on the immediate benefits the provincial competition afforded her.
The event strengthened her resume, formal communication skills and other things she could use in every day life.
At the pageant, Crystal never felt as though she were competing. Instead, she considered the event a new learning experience and an opportunity to network with other girls.
“We got along and helped each other whenever we could. When it came time to get on the stage, I didn’t even think of it as a competition,” she said.
Crystal, who rides a 230cc dirt bike, already has new challenges in mind and is considering joining the Canadian Forces after graduating.
In the meantime, she is researching the diverse array of army, navy and air force occupations, which vary from employment as an intelligence analyst, a combat engineer, to a fighter pilot.
Moe, too, considered joining the forces when she was Crystal’s age, but was denied entry due to her height.
“If she does enlist in the Forces, then I’ll live that experience through her vicariously,” she said.
The Edwards family would like to thank the companies and people who sponsored Crystal in the provincial pageant.