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My photographer and I took a trip a little bit more outdoors-like than I’m used to in my heels. The two of us went out to one of my towns biggest attractions, The Markham Fair.
The Markham Fair is the largest fair in Canada, so it was sort of cool this time to be a part of it, instead of a bystander. What I got to do was roam around the lot, in and out of the buildings, and pretty much be like one of the Disney Princess characters in the theme parks for a day. Lots of little girls, (and sometimes even some boys!) were really excited to see me, and often I let them try on my crown, and definitely ask as many questions as their minds could find. My personal favourite question of the day was whether or not princesses could say the word underwear, to which I answered back by stuttering out the word, pretending it was impossible.
This was one of my many stops indoors throughout the day ( it got very warm in the sun!), and I happened to stumble upon a man who works with a charity everyone in Markham should know. It’s called Sledging and what it is, is sitting down onto a metal rail sled and propelling yourself on the ice. You propel yourself using short hockey sticks with picks on the ends of them. Sledges are used so that girls and boys who are disabled can play hockey as well. The man beside me in the picture runs the Markham Sledging rink, and any Sunday morning you feel up to it, he welcomes you to go down and try it for yourself!
Dr. Natalie Archer is a dentist from Toronto. She believes strongly in family, education, and hard work.
Dr. Natalie Archer believes that a true career comes from hard work perseverance, and luck. She believes that all women should get an education, because that is one thing that no person can ever take away from you, and all women should be able to stand on their own two feet.
She gave us all four pieces of advice for our lives, which I will share with you:
-Make calculated business risks
-make your family life strong, because 38% of women are the breadwinners in their families and their husbands will sometimes feel un-needed.
-make having children a priority. Dr. Archer believes that it is very important to have children when you can, and not to wait until you are 35+.
-Don’t get caught up in a business that is an ‘Old Boy’s Club’. You will end up in an area that is slightly sexist, and old school.
Melani Chong was originally an athlete. She played as many sports as she could, and never dreamed of being a model, never even thought of it. One day, her father asked her if she would like to go to an open call for Ford Models, which she declined to. In the end, her father tricked her into going, and no surprise she made it. However, even at the top of her modeling game she didn’t feel satisfied with what she was doing.
And so, she became a stylist. She was a stylist for a short while, and then she had her first child, which threw her for a loop. Once you have a child, it is extremely hard to get that tiny figure back, so what was she going to do? And so, Soya Boutique was born.
Soya boutique is a completely natural skin care line. She had to go to school for a few years to completely develop her line, but in the end it was worth it. Melani truly believes in ‘beauty in simplicity’.
Melani’s favourite quote is ‘Wisest is he who knows what he does not know.’ She believes this helped her all throughout her lifetime, especially when jumping into a world of fashion knowing she knew nothing.
Katrina Hadden has been tall since she was younger, just like I have been. Her and I also share in the fact that growing up we were given many cruel nicknames from classmates, whether they were completely fitting or not.
Katrina showed them what she was made of differently than me though- she threw her heart and soul into basketball. Her dream was to be on the WNBA, and nothing was going to get in her way.
Injuries have a way of stopping dreams, however. Katrina threw out her knee in her grade twelve year. She was left with nothing that she knew, nothing she knew she was good at. What was Katrina if she couldn’t be a basketball player any more?
Katrina decided that she should try for modelling. She was a size twelve, distinctly in-between the categories models generally fall under. At first, she couldn’t get many jobs, and sometimes when she would get plus size jobs she would have to wear padding to make herself seem lake a larger woman.
Katrina decided enough was enough, and started to try to loose weight to become a smaller model. This lead to an eating disorder. However, Katrina got out of that stage of her life and moved forward to better things, starting with becoming a trainer to help women accept who they are.
It was then that she decided she had to switch agencies. She went to the agency Ben Barry, who specializes in taking in girls of different shapes, sizes, and races. She then pitched her idea of having an in-between sized model, so that she didn’t have to lose or gain weight, and Ben Barry was all for it. Katrina started to feel at home, and finally got the confidence she needed to become a successfully size twelve model, creating a new pathway for girls to follow in. As a size twelve model she was asked to be a part of Toronto’s Fashion week, where she walked the runway in a gown made especially for her.
Katrina gave us this advice to leave with;
-Take care of your body and your health
– Always have a way to forget (ex. be able to dance and forget the world, sing, play a sport, etc.)
-Always have an attitude of gratitude; never take things you are given for grated, remember to thank those who helped you
-Live with forgiveness for those who hurt you.
Alexandra Orlando is an Olympic rhythmic gymnast. It was Alexandra’s dream to be an Olympian, even when she was a child. It was Alexandra’s one and only goal- to get there. So she worked, and she worked hard. She did gymnastics on her weekends, after school, in the mornings. She ate, slept, and breathed her dream, because there was no way she wasn’t going to get there.
However, the first time she went to worlds, she did not make it by .10 of a point. Alexandra was devastated. When she went home she didn’t do anything, she just stayed in her room, until one day her parents decided enough was enough. They asked her why she was upset, and she just said, ‘because I lost’. Her Mom then asked her if that meant she didn’t like gymnastics any more, and that is when she realized, her dream wasn’t just about the goal, but the journey to get there. It was the moments in the gym that really counted, not the moment on the podium.
When she went back to the gym to practice for the next worlds, no one but her family was supportive. They told her that it was past her prime, and it was time for her to step down. However, she did not, and she made it through nationals, and into the Olympics. Alexandra lives by the saying, ‘learn from winning, learn from losing’, which is perfect, because if she hadn’t learnt from her loss she would never have made her goal.