Song: Not the End by the Glee Cast
Paradise by Coldplay
Quote: “Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.” –From the Broadway play, Wicked
Here it is. My very last blog as Miss Teen Red Deer! This is a super bittersweet blog for me. I am beyond excited to pass on the crown to the next Miss Teen RD, but at the same time, I’m really sad I am going to have to give up this title and the amazing year it brought me.
On March 18, 2012, I was crowned Miss Teen Red Deer-World 2012, and my senior year of high school, and the rest of 2012, was forever changed. Being Miss Teen RD 2012 opened up a whole other world to me. I appreciated Red Deer so much more, and became very proud to be an Albertan in general. Before Nationals in Toronto, I was able to work with Corner Gas, and well-known Canadian Actor, Brent Butt, to help fundraise for the Red Deer Catholic Education Foundation then later I was able to help contribute to research with the CNIB alongside The Father of “The Great One”, Walter Gretzky. I was also able to listen to the inspiring stories of children who suffered from vision loss, or simply were just kids at Science Fairs or in Kindergarten Classes. Working with kids was a big part of my reign especially since education was my platform. Being involved in the schools was a great memory and handing out awards at the Central Alberta Science Fair alongside the Mayor of Red Deer, Mr. Morris Flewwelling, was a great honor. Being a guest at the Zone 4 West One Acts Competition was also a great pleasure, and I was so happy to have one of my plays in the competition and to be able to perform there as well. Then of course the Central Alberta’s Children Festival was a great morning that involved lots of balloons and bubble wrap popping. I had an awesome time hanging out with the kids there.
Outside of education and working for my platform, I also got to take part in many events around Central Alberta such as watching men walk in high heels at the Women’s Outreach, “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event. I also got to see many of the amazing women in the Central Alberta community being recognized at the Women of Excellence Awards night. I was able to meet some amazing women and it was a very inspiring night. Shortly after, I attended and emceed the Run for the Cure night in Red Deer – the run/walk for cancer patients, survivors and those who had lost the battle. It was a touching night and I got to witness over 14 people come up and offer to shave their head for cancer in the spur of a moment decision. After I was also able to attend a Year End Youth Party which included fun games and great snacks, as well as the world famous Woody’s Triathlon. I had worked plenty with kids and adults, so next I decided to attend a fundraiser for the SPCA, and man, it was a blast! I walked two different dogs, and both were pretty energetic so they had me running all over. I was a pretty funny person to watch that event as my sash was falling and everything was flying as I chased around these two dogs. Being a huge dog lover though, I enjoyed it so much as I got to play with over 5 dogs during the event. Soon came CANADA DAY, where I got to emcee in front of over 30,000 people to celebrate Canada’s birthday! I was so honored to be able to be a part of such a fantastic day in Canadian pride. Lastly, just before Nationals, an article I wrote as Miss Teen RD was chosen to get printed in VerveGirl Magazine which was a fantastic surprise and I’m so thankful that viewers voted for my article about Graduation and what Grad really means for a teenager.
Before I left for Toronto, I also had to raise a minimum of $400 for Free the Children, which was fantastic for me since I was already a part of the amazing organization. First I held a Pancake Breakfast with the help of Bridal Couture & Dezigns. Next, I was in a well-known play, called The Crucible, where I was so lucky to be casted as the female lead, Abigail Williams. The director, Jennifer Warder, agreed to donate half the proceeds and any donations to Free the Children in my name as Miss Teen Red Deer. Lastly, I held a Day of Mini-Golf in Sylvan Lake at Lakeside Go-Karts and Mini-Golf where we split the proceeds for Free the Children, and the owners organization, Home Of Hope. Altogether, I was able to raise $1359.15 for an organization I strongly believe in. I still hope to travel to Ecuador with Free the Children in the near future.
Nationals was soon upon me, and it was a crazy whirlwind. I got to be on New Music Live and Breakfast Television, as well as meet Degrassi star, Luke Bilyk. I met great friends from all over Canada and strengthened the friendships I already had with my Alberta ladies. We got to explore Toronto from the CN Tower, go shopping at the Eaton Centre and meet fantastic mentors, including Olympic Athletes and Dove Models. Being in Toronto with 61 other girls made me realize how lucky I was. I was so proud to represent Red Deer AND Alberta, and all the opportunities that were thrown at me were great. I learned that girls don’t need make-up to be beautiful, and I also learned that no matter what, I will always be myself because at the end of the day, people don’t want a fake you. I became a lot more confident and comfortable with myself in Toronto and that will be one week I never forget. I will also never forget the flight home where WestJet announced I was on the flight and I had people coming up to me all 4 1/2 hours asking for photos, autographs or just questions. I truly felt like a celebrity and I thank Canada for welcoming me with open arms.
Although I did not take the crown of Miss Teen Canada-World 2012, Red Deer welcomed me back with open arms, and I got right back to attending events. First up was Centrefest in Downtown Red Deer where I got to enjoy a weekend of street performers. Soon after I got to attend “Shakespeare in the Park” which was an outdoor performance of Macbeth which was fantastic! One of the major highlights of my reign was also getting to judge a pageant, the Alberta Beauties and Cuties Pageant. It was such a honor to be asked, and I am so thankful I got to experience a pageant from the opposite side. I also learned that girls there had been following my blog which was such a great feeling. Right after the pageant was done and the winners were crowned, I went to the With this Ring Bridal Gala for two of my sponsors and was recognized on the runway there which was a wonderful surprise, and once again, I’m so thankful. Shortly after, I left for school in the United States, but when I came back at Christmas I was able to officially finish my Miss Teen RD events, by being a part of the promotions crew at the Red Deer Rebels Hockey Game. This was a blast and is another huge highlight during my reign. I really felt what it was like to be a mini-celebrity there! I had girls and boy coming from all different directions to take pictures and because I was a part of the promo crew, I kept getting whisked away to the next spot in time for the camera to cut to me. It was such a fun event and I am so thankful to Red Deer Rebels Hockey for having me and to the Promo Crew for welcoming me in with open arms.
That pretty much sums up the majority of my Miss Teen Red Deer Events and WOW! I am SO THANKFUL FOR EACH AND EVERYONE OF THEM! Of course, I couldn’t have done it without any of my sponsors so bear with me as I name every business who made this entire year possible!
-Bridal Couture Dezigns
-106.7 The Drive
-Anton Porras Photography
-Hauck Vision and Hearing Centre
-Dr. Marleine Kapp
-Chatters Hair Salon
-Don’s Tire & Auto
-Tom Bast Sports
As I have over 30 sponsors: For the individual names, please listen to/watch the video I made before Nationals thanking each and every SINGLE sponsor for their support!!
A special shout out to Lizzy Baril of LizBeePhotography, who took majority of my photos this year whether it was just Miss Teen shots or at events. Also, thank you to Anton Porras of AP Photography, who took my Provincial photos as well who took the photos for my Vogue Photoshoot sponsored by Hauck Vision and Hearing Centre. Both of you were a pleasure to work with and I couldn’t have done it without you! Also thank you to the many forms of social media who interviewed me whether it was on the radio, television or newspaper. I had multiple interviews with all three forms of media and I enjoyed them all! A big surprise was to see me on the front page of Sunrise News with the headliner “Gina Omilon is Miss Teen Red Deer.” That will forever be a great memory!
Lastly, you may want to know what is next for me in life. Well, currently, and since October, I have been living in Los Angeles pursuing the Hollywood Dream. I am attending the American Musical and Dramatic Academy for my Bachelor of Fine Arts Specialized in Acting. I will be down here for the next 4 years, including a student exchange in New York City next year. I will continue to pursue my dream of acting, and maybe I’ll run into Ryan Murphy and get onto an episode of Glee. Either way, I’m in the big city working hard every day, and I can assure you, I will not give up until I can say I made it to the top. In the meantime, I am going to try and continue my career in promotions at either a radio station down here or a hockey team, like the LA Kings or Ontario Reign. I love emceeing and being involved with promotions so we will see where that leads me, maybe I’ll guest host for Ellen one day.
Either way, the possibilities are endless and I know that I have an exciting life in store. Miss Teen Red Deer was only the beginning and I’m so thankful for the experience. I’m sad I won’t be able to wear my sash and crown around to events anymore, but I’m so thankful for the times I did. I also am so happy that I was given the opportunity to touch a life here or there and to truly make a difference and leave an imprint locally, provincially and nationally. I currently am mentoring two girls who will also be participating in the Miss Teen Alberta-World 2013 Pageant in a couple weeks and I have big hopes for them! Good luck Madison Fertig and Ann-Marie Rogers-Criss, I know you girls can make it and I can’t wait to see you both with crowns and sashes of your own! I’m trying my best to fly up for the crowning but don’t worry Red Deer, you will be left in good hands!
I also hope that Red Deer continues to recognize how important education is, and I will continue to strive towards my platform even now and later on in my life. Education has always been so important to me. And as always, it doesn’t have to be schooling, but education, because those are two different things. Education is everywhere and I want to see a world where every person has a chance at education. I hope Red Deer continues to support their schools and extracurricular programs, and I’m so excited to see the many improvements they’ll make in the future!
I can’t say thank you enough, I feel like I’m just repeating myself, but really….I am SO THANKFUL! My dream as a little kid was to be crowned at a pageant, just like my role model, Sandra Bullock, in Miss Congeniality and like every year at Miss Universe. I never thought it would happen, and I will never forget the moment when they called out my name, and that crown was placed on my head. It truly created a whole new side of life I never imagined. Thank you to the Miss Teen Canada-World Pageant for this entire experience and all that you have done for me. I cannot thank you enough for providing such an amazing year. The pageant created lifelong relationships with not only my fellow competitors, but the awesome directors too such as Chris Fry and Christi Woolard who I talk to on facebook regularly about television shows and more. I would like to especially thank Rob Campbell who has been an amazing mentor for me in my blogging and has encouraged my writing this entire process. I’m so thankful for all of your encouragement, help and major support Rob! Blogging was one of my favorite aspects of my reign because I felt like I could truly help people out there by just voicing my opinions, thoughts, etc. I felt like I could make a difference with people I couldn’t physically connect to at events and such, so thank you for everything!
Also, a big thank you to my family and friends. Thanks to my mum and dad who got used to seeing very little of me because I was always off and running to the next event. Also thank you to my sister who got used to taking pictures for me at events that she came along with. Thank you to my entire family for all of their support by liking my facebook pages, retweeting my tweets, and going through the giant process to vote for me during Nationals. And thank you to the many friends who also got used to taking pictures or having to stop so people could talk to me while I was with them. My friends were fantastic and so patient when we would be out and people stopped to chat with me. Thank you also for all of the social media support! And of course thank you to everyone who helped me via social media and for following my blog!
Well, I guess this is it. I have to say good bye. Thank you Red Deer, Alberta and Canada for all of your support and truly making me feel like a mini-Albertan celebrity as I have travelled Canada this past year during my reign. It opened up my eyes to what my future could be like, and I loved every minute of it. The last things I want you to always remember are to never give up on your dreams. You CAN do anything. I’m down here in LA studying to become a better actor. That’s my dream and you can achieve yours too with hard work and dedication! So never give up, just work harder! Never let anyone tell you that you can’t either. Use that as motivation to prove them wrong. Don’t settle for less than you deserve. This can be anywhere in life, but I always like to remind the girls to make sure you keep your self-respect. Don’t give everything you have to boys. Respect yourself first. Always be humble, but be confident. Keep your morals and values and don’t bend them to please someone else. And lastly, be proud of yourself, and be happy. Life goes so quickly so don’t spend it being angry or upset. Things will happen, but it gets better if you let them slide off you. I have really learned that this past year. Don’t bother with anger or being bitter, but forgive and forgive quickly. Just be happy and love who you are. You can always change, but don’t ever hate yourself.
For the teens or kids who are still in school, this one is for you. Don’t worry about popularity! You may not listen to your parents, but please listen to me. As a kid who was made fun of everyday at school, I know what it’s like. Ignore it and let it slide off! My Miss TeenRD email will continue to be activated so you can always email me if you need to talk to someone outside of your family and friends ([email protected]). Truly though, popularity does not matter once you get out. Don’t try to be cool and do things you’re not comfortable with just to impress the “popular” kids. It all changes after high school and trust me, it gets better. Stay strong and ignore the criticism. KNOW that YOU are AMAZING however YOU are. Hold on to hope and faith…it will get better! I promise!
For the girls who will be competing in the 2013 Pageants… Have FUN! Don’t worry about where you place at Provincials or Nationals. If you’ve been crowned, you’re already a superstar! Just enjoy the experience and take in everything. Having that sash and crown will open so many door and so many memories! It is such a honor and remember that you are now a role model in your communities! Have fun with it, and make a difference! You’ve got one year and that one year goes FAST! Make the most of it, it’s a year you will never forget!
And of course…take pictures of EVERYTHING and EMBRACE every EXPERIENCE! <3
Find freedom and opportunity…the whole world is waiting for you. And everytime you watch or see Glee, make sure to think of their #1 fan, Gina Omilon!
Thank you so much Red Deer and Central Alberta for everything, and this amazing year!
Strive for Excellence, Believe in Yourself, Stay True to Yourself, Stay Strong and of course, Dream BIG!
Love you forever and always,
Gina Omilon <3 Miss Teen Red Deer-World 2012