Typical of me to get caught up in the whirlwind of final exams and not get the chance to blog! Buuuttt I’m back which means I am done exams… WHICH MEANS IM DONE HIGHSCHOOL! That’s right, I am officially done all my classes, AND dance which means it’s time for summer, lounging around, and of course THE PAGEANT.

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Handing out programs before the start of the show!

I recently completed my last dance recital which was a bittersweet moment. It was amazing getting to dance onstage one last time with the dance family I have grown up with. Their support means the world! Not only that but I was given the chance to spread the word about my fundraiser coming up (more updates on that coming soon), and hand out programs as the parents entered the theatre!

I have also started up a list of things I am going to be bringing to nationals, and lets just say my luggage will definitely not be small! Can’t wait to keep the countdown going!

xoxo

-Hanna

PS. Tomorrow you might get to hear more about my fundraiser

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As we approach pageant week I can not help but count down the days in anticipation of the day I get to finally head down to meet all the girls!

So, because of my excitement I decided to create a little countdown challenge for myself, yesterday marked exactly a month until the pageant, so I thought, Hey! Why don’t I start a little blog-a-day countdown!

I am going to be writing a little update on my blog every day up until the final show date! Whether it be facts about me, pageant preparations, or fundraisers and events, I’m going to have at least one short little blurb a day to help keep you guys in the loop.

Can’t wait to share my excitement with you! Keep a lookout on my Facebook page where I will be posting blog updates!

Xoxo

-Hanna

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CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT THE PAGEANT IS ONLY A LITTLE OVER A MONTH AWAY!!! I am BEYOND excited for the date to come when I get to be up onstage again surrounded by all the gorgeous girls I can not wait to meet! Everything has been so busy lately, between school, dance, and just the whirlwind of events that have been going on, I can not wait for summer to come so I can devote all my time and energy to the pageant!

Between raising money for Free the Children, and getting to do a few cool interviews around my city. I have been crazy busy with my dance competitions and school!

Just thought I would take a break from my exam studying to say hello to everyone reading, and that I can’t wait to see you soon!

-xoxo Hanna, Miss Teen Ontario

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“Miss Teenage Ontario 2016 is…” At that moment my heart dropped to my stomach and I felt everyone in the room holding their breath in anticipation, and time seemed to slow down for eternity. “Contestant number one!” It took a second to sink in before I realized that I was contestant number one, and I had just won Miss Teen Ontario! The first thing I remember seeing is my dad and mom jump out of their seats cheering and whistling as loud as they could, my friends laughing and clapping along, and my two youngest siblings getting so excited that they decided to run up on the stage to hug me!

I would have never expected my little brother to be so excited about a pageant, but yet there he is up on stage with me!

I would have never expected my little brother to be so excited about a pageant, but yet there he is up on stage with me!

That moment was one that I will remember for a long time, but in this case, I think that all the events leading up to that moment were just as important as that big night.

So then lets start from the beginning, the very beginning that is, with itty bitty Hanna, and her love for princesses, fairies, and all things sparkly.

 

I lived in princess dresses, I still have most of my collection stored away from when I was younger

I lived in princess dresses, I still have most of my collection stored away from when I was younger

 

Like most over excited little girls, I was crazy about princesses. I loved being glamorous and wearing sparkles of all kinds and playing with makeup. Being a girly girl was something I took pride in being, and continued to be throughout my life so far. I would never imagine that someday I would get this close to feeling like a true princess in real life!

That love for makeup and glitter and costumes, brought me to the world of dance. I started taking ballet when I was 3 years old, fell in love with the way music made me feel, and continued to train in all styles of dance as I got older. My passion only grew from there. I am now a competitive dancer and an assistant dance teacher as well. I have learned so many valuable skills from my life in the studio, like how to stay healthy and always push myself to get better and stronger, how to hold my head up high and approach everything in life with confidence, and also how to teach and inspire others to feel the same way.

Looking oh so dramatic, but this was one of my favourite solos I have performed so far

Looking oh so dramatic, but this was one of my favourite solos I have performed so far

When it comes to school, I am not a math or science lover, but through my years of high school I quickly learned what my favourite subjects were. Art was something I have always loved, just like dance it is a way for me to express myself in whatever ways I liked, whether that was painting, or just doodling sketches of clothes and designs. My other favourite classes were any that I got to talk and present in. I love public speaking, and I have always considered talking to be one thing I am good at, which definitely comes in handy when you’re doing interviews and talking to people about being Miss Teen Ontario!

All these moments and things I have learned over the years have all led me to that moment, standing onstage in my emerald green dream dress, feeling like a princess before the Michela (Miss Teenage Ontario 2015) even put the crown on my head! I can’t wait for nationals, and for all the new adventures that this will bring me!

Moments before the beautiful Michela Purriccio set the crown on my head, crowning me as the next Miss Teenage Ontario 2016

Moments before the beautiful Michela Purriccio set the crown on my head, crowning me as the next Miss Teenage Ontario 2016

Bye for now loves!

-Hanna

PS. Find me on social media and don’t forget to like my Facebook page where I post the most frequently on my pageant journey!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MissTeenageOntario2016

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hannabegovic/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/missteenont2016

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They always tell you that ‘all good things come to an end’ or that ‘life is greener on the other side.’ But to be completely honest, I’m not too sure if this is an end that I am ready for or a bridge I’m willing to cross.

IMG_0665Just one year ago, I earned myself the title of Miss Teenage Ontario and a spot to compete for the title of Miss Teenage Canada the following summer. Little did I know, the next year of my life would be the most challenging, different, and life changing years yet.

I’ve repetitively expressed my sincere gratitude but haven’t exactly touched on what I’ve taken away from this entire experience (which is probably enough to keep me writing for another year)!

Inevitably, the friendships that I made are what I cherish the most. From a room of timid strangers, to a group of sisters who require a blow horn to be silenced, we have created a community of loving girls who are there to support one another regardless of the IMG_0319circumstance. Naturally, you would expect a lot of competition amongst us girls; yet, you didn’t see that at all. Instead, we helped each other through our lows and cheered each other on through our highs. To this day, we have a group chat of over 50 girls that never stops. I’d be lying if I told you that I haven’t envisioned these girls being at my wedding one day or traveling the world with them. This is truly a one of a kind sisterhood that I will always be apart of.

11800557_845370538907112_5055797083807136424_nAside from the incredible friends, I’ve been given a chance to define who I want to be and where I intend on going in the future. Miss Teenage Canada’s saying, “be your own kind of beautiful” speaks to me on a completely different level than it ever did before. It takes a lot to speak in front of an audience, let alone brace the stage in a bikini, and with that being said, I’m proud of myself for finally being able to feel comfortable doing so. It’s one thing to, shall I say, “suck it up” and do something. However, it’s completely different when a person comes to terms with the given situation and truly embraces it… something that I have learned to do a lot this past year. Societal pressures will always be present, but it’s what you choose to do with those pressures that will define who you are as a person. You can either decide to wake up with a smile on your face, or lay in bed hating the day away. I’ve learned that if you don’t wake up with a smile on your face, you’ll never know how many opportunities are out there waiting for you.

I am more confident. I am more accepting of others differences. I am more driven to succeed. I have gained 90 new sisters. I am Michela P. and I am proud of that.

And, yes. I did learn and gain all of those things from a ‘beauty pageant’.

To the next titleholder,

I hope that you take on your reign with an open mind and heart just as I did. I encourage you to immerse yourself into your community and learn from them. No matter how smart you may be, never forget that there is always more to be learned. You are a beautiful young woman with a bright future, so don’t allow the comments or pressures from others add a single wrinkle to your face. Above all, IMG_0655be a role model for the young girls who have no one else to look up to. Trust me, that is the most rewarding feeling you will ever feel.

I look forward to being at the Miss Teenage Ontario competition this weekend to meet every single one of the delegates who have already accomplished a lot by being selected to be there. Breathe and be you, that’s all the judges are looking for.

As much as I dislike the word goodbye, I suppose this is it.

Being Miss Teenage Ontario 2015 has brought such happiness to my life and it was a pleasure to represent such a wonderful province for an entire year. Thank you for supporting and loving me throughout this entire journey, I promise to continue doing great things.

So for the last time,

Thinking positively,

Michela P. – Miss Teenage Ontario 2015♥

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11822481_844791345631698_7970938609813051035_nAmongst all of the fun thing’s we’ve been doing here in Toronto, eating has been one of the girls favourite… especially when being fed taco’s and burrito’s at Richtree’s NEW taco bus at the Eaton Centre!

I wish I took a picture of the actual taco bus, because it was just way too cute, but I suppose you’ll have to go visit for yourself to understand. It was set up as an open top food truck style where they took your order at one end and you would pick it up on the other. With 90 girls swarming them all at once, I was so surprised to see how quickly they attended to us!

Next, I was forced to deal with all of my food restrictions: no dairy, gluten, egg yolk or meat. Expecting this to be a major set back, surprisingly, they ended up being super accommodating and fed me the most delicious meal. As a huge health nut, I thought it was great to see all of their food being made fresh and prepared with wholesome ingredients. Nothing is better than a freshly prepared meal, that’s for sure.

11828636_844791375631695_6013006321184971061_nI would like to thank everyone at Ricktree’s taco bus for sponsoring us and welcoming us into your facility. It was just a warm and welcoming environment, I will be sure to come back with my family soon!

There’s been so much going on, I haven’t had much other time to post, so please be patient and I will share EVERYTHING with you once I get home!

Thinking Positively,

Michela P. <3

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Just when you think you know everything there is to know, life surprises you and becomes one of your biggest learning experiences yet.

You know that feeling you get before you go on a really big roller coaster? You know, a little nervous, yet super excited? You’ve spent all day, or week even, talking about how you were going to conquer this coaster and now you’ve finally been given the opportunity to do so! So now here you are, standing in line, and your nerves hit you full force. You can’t understand why because you’ve spent all day on the smaller coasters to work yourself up to this one. Finally, it’s your turn. You go onto it still afraid, but hoping to create one really good story out of it.

Throwback to being crowned Miss Teenage Ontario

Throwback to being crowned Miss Teenage Ontario

Well, that’s exactly how I feel right now. As you know, I’ve been participating in pageants for a really long time, and so, I do feel as though I have prepared myself for this moment. But for some reason, I am feeling a whirlwind of emotions like no other. I’m known to never get nervous, and so this is a totally new feeling to me. Here I am, after years of preparation and 6 months as Miss Teenage Ontario, packed and ready to head out to Toronto this afternoon. I’m about to embark on the most exciting adventure of my life, and am without a doubt, nervous.

I suppose it’s good to be nervous. It’ll keep me humbled and on my toes at all times. It also proves that I’m human. Just like you, I too am anxious when embarking on a new journey. But here’s a few things that I’ve told myself or have done to keep me grounded and calm:

  • I am more than my crown. The judges and contestants do not know me beyond what they see, and so it is my responsibility to let my true personality shine through. Stay true to yourself, and don’t let your excitement (or nerves) get in the way of showing everyone what you as an individual has to offer. 
  • Stop to smell the roses. With such a busy and exciting week ahead of me, it can be easy to get caught up in the moment and picture taking, that i’ll forget to simply enjoy the moment. Yes, pictures are great, but experiences are even better. 
  • Make a new friend. With so many new people surrounding me, I can only hope to make at least one really good new friend. But of course, I already know that I’m about to gain over 80 new sisters. Embrace everyone’s differences, and be sure to help out whoever needs it. 
  • Don’t compare. Everyone is different, weather it be their body shape, hair colour, clothing or nail polish colour. Yes, everyone is beautiful, but don’t forget that you are too. Comparing will only lead to insecurities. Embrace yourself for who are and let that confidence shine through. 
  • Family is #1. After spending my night yesterday with all of my aunts, uncles and cousins, I am feeling much more relaxed and ready for this. They were all encouraging and yet, made me forget about all of my pressures. When in doubt at all during the week, don’t forget that they are only 1 text away. 
  • Breathe. Breathe. Music. Push up. Sit up. Jump. My pre-pageant routine. Don’t forget it. It has helped 100 times before and will be sure to help this time too. If you have to plug in those headphones while getting your makeup done, do it. There’s no shame in focusing on yourself for a little while. 

I am confidant, I am prepared, I am ready for this.

My family never fails to support my endeavours

My family never fails to support my endeavours

I have a lot of people to thank, beginning with my family and friends. They all know how much I appreciate their support and am so thankful to have them around. Believe me, they all will receive personal thank you’s once this week comes to an end.

I would also like to thank all of my corporate sponsors or supporters. Kimberly from Thirty-One provided me with the most amazing packing essentials that I am so grateful for! Kimberly is so generous and kind, she offered to provide me with these things without even asking. I am beyond excited to have her come and watch me at prelims this upcoming Friday!

Our last session together before Nationals

Our last session together before Nationals

As well as my personal trainer Alex, from Bodies By Design. He has been incredible!! He pushes me to do my best and I can already see the improvements. Like I said in my Fitness Adventure blog, working out has always been about feeling confidant to me and I can without a doubt say that I have accomplished that. I may not be a size triple 0, but I am proud of my progress and comfortable in my own skin.

Lastly, I would like to thank No. 1 Boutique for all of the amazing clothes for pageant week! Thanks to them, I’ll be looking super fashionable every day! Just what I need, right?

So what now? Well, now I hope for the best. I dive into this with an open mind and vow to do be the best Michela that I can be.

Of course, goals are important to have too. Without them, there is nothing to steer you in the right direction. With that being said, my goal is make the top 5. A little ambitious of myself, but I know I can do it. Winning would simply be a privilege that I would be honoured to have, but for now, I am content with simply placing in the top 5.

I know that this is going to be a life changing event and I promise that I will share every last piece of it with you when I get back, or if you’re lucky, throughout the week! Don’t forget to check out my social media pages to see what I’ve been up to during the day.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Thinking Positively,

Michela P. <3

 

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Did you know that in Toronto alone, 1 in 4 children live in a low income household? How about the fact that 32% of children aged 0-5 are living in complete poverty? I bet you also didn’t know that 40% of these families are headed by a single mother.

If you’re sitting there in complete awe over these statistics, don’t worry, you aren’t the only one! These statistics were the basis of my drive and motivation to create my own charity back in 2013, as well as my chosen platform as Miss Teenage Ontario. I can proudly say that for the past few years, I’ve helped to relieve parents of their financial burdens regarding an unplanned or unexpected pregnancy and have helped to eliminate the stigma surrounding single parenting. 

What is my charity? 

My charity is called Diapers 4 Smiles; a non-profit organization that put’s members of the community at ease when experiencing financial hardships. This is done through offering an open closet service full of bottles, clothes, diapers, toiletries and more and are available to them at all times. As a charity, we believe in not asking these parents why they need the assistance, but rather, what else can we do to improve their current quality of life.

My collection of diapers & I last year

My collection of diapers & I last fall

I’ve also partnered up with the Vita Centre; an organization committed to providing for pregnant and parenting woman in Peel, to broaden my horizons a little bit more. The Vita Centre is the lucky recipient of 90% of my donations and I am honoured to announce that I have become apart of their family. A few months ago, I became aware of the centre’s dire need for diapers and wipes and decided that I was going to be the person to change that. So, I put my planning skills to good use and hosted a few events amoungst my family and friends. Next thing I knew, I had people from all over the GTA offering me diapers, wipes and other children’s items. It was humbling to see how much other people were willing to help. Thanks to everyone’s assistance, I managed to collect over 100 boxes of diapers, which filled an entire school bus, and was able to personally deliver them to the Centre.

My Motivation

My wonderful & loving family

My wonderful & loving family

Growing up in a family with 2 parents who were always able to give me far beyond my basic essentials, I am not able to tell you that I know first hand what it is like to experience these types of hardships. I can however, tell you that I have grown up in a family that has taught me to always give to others who have less than I do. From a very young age, I was found giving away gifts rather than receiving them at Christmas, or visiting local shelters on a rainy day instead of watching TV. I’ve seen and learned how difficult life can be for some people, and have vowed to change that.

In this given situation, my heart breaks for the children with diaper rashes and infections simply because of their parents financial standings. It is crucial to remember that children are not in these situations by choice, but by birth; thus, I have taken on the responsibility of ensuring that they receive the same kind of care and opportunities as I had as a child.

Giving The Crown a Voice

Some of the ambassadorship program participants and I

Some of the ambassadorship program participants & I

You’ll probably hear me talk about how I wish to “give my crown it’s own voice” quite often. No, I’m not crazy and don’t literally mean that I wish to have it speak. But rather, I intend on using the crown to advocate for the causes that I feel the most passionate about. So of course, I have used my Miss Teenage Ontario title to do just that. However, my goal was not so much to start a huge collection this time. Instead, I wanted to share the significance of the cause with younger generations and empower them to want to make a difference. As discussed in a previous blog called “Role Model Status“, you can see that I participated in an ambassadorship program that encouraged girls to find creative means of collecting diapers. From online photo contests to lemonade stands, these girls did a fantastic job! At the end of the program, I crowned one girl the “Charity Ambassador” and will be bringing her on board to help me and my endeavours for the next year. In doing so, I will teach her what it takes to run a charity, who we can help and how she too can be a change maker. I’ve also attended several Vita Centre events including the Trivia Night that I blogged about and have visited the centre a few times. By visiting the centre, I am given the opportunity to see exactly who my donations are going to and get a sneak peak at what they need the most without asking. This way, I can gear my next collection in the right direction.

At an event hosted by The Vita Centre

At an event hosted by The Vita Centre

I can only dream of being Miss Teenage Canada and giving a voice to that crown as well. I would again, like to continue to advocate for the cause and with my collections. More specifically, as Miss Teenage Canada, I feel as though I will have the opportunity to carry my charity’s mission across the country. Rather than just helping those of my community, I want to be able to learn about what kind of financial burdens people of other provinces are experiences, and help them as well. By hosting more ambassadorship programs and learning about other people’s needs, I’ll be able to assist a wider range of individuals and have more hands to help me do so.

Moving Forward

Who know’s what this upcoming week will bring, but what I do know is that I’ve been able to make a huge impact on my community thus far, and will continue to do so even after my reign is over. I would LOVE to be able to share my mission with more people and can only hope that I’ll be given the opportunity to do so. Everyone experiences hardship at some point in their lives, so be sure to support them because you never know when you’ll need it too!

Thinking Positively,

Michela P. <3

 

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Hey everyone, it’s THURSDAY!

How was everyone’s week? Mine has been insanely busy as i’ve been babysitting my cousins, preparing for my upcoming trip to Nova Scotia, some photo shoots, and of course, preparing for Nationals!

We went to the Drive-In to watch Minons! It was so much fun!

We went to the Drive-In to watch Minons! It was so much fun!

There’s only 9 more days and my excitement has reached new heights. There’s still so much for me to prepare, but I’m sure I’ll get it all done with plenty of time to spare (hey, that rhymed)!

I’ve officially began my pre-pageant rituals and so, I am focused, determined and completely in the zone. Now you must be wondering, what is this crazy girl talking about when she says “pre-pageant rituals”? Well, it’s my way of ensuring i’m not only 100% prepared physically, but I also have my objectives, morals and intentions in tact. Rather than allowing my anxiety to spike, I prefer to stay calm and remind myself what it is I would like to achieve from this experience. In this case, I am striving to reach top 5! Of course winning would mean the world to me, I believe in staying realistic, yet challenging myself. Anything beyond top 5 would simply be a privilege. I also am hoping to learn from this experience. Weather it be runway tips, hair tips or even an over all life lesson, I am hoping that I walk away knowing something I didn’t know before. Lastly, I am going to make new friends and memories. I’ve got my polaroid camera and journal ready to go, and I can’t wait to see what kind of adventures I will fill it with!

The week before a pageant you will most definitely catch me listening to A LOT of music (preferably Ed Sheeran, The Weekend or Megan Trainer), probably talking to myself (I like to practice EVERYWHERE I go, oops), and reading; I find that it calms me down.

I have a ton of more updates involving my Nationals preparation, but I’m going to save them for next week! For now, I just want to say that I am EXTRA-emly excited and cannot wait for these next 10 days to pass!

One last event to share…

11709624_953256741361149_9196459808217730419_nOn July 1st, 2015, I was fortunate enough to be apart of the annual Canada Day parade in Niagara Falls, ON. Although this wasn’t my last event, it was one of the last, as I decided to leave the last two weeks leading up to Nationals free for my preparations. So, I alongside some other pageant queens from other systems took our places in the stunning convertibles, plastered our smiles on our faces and prepared for a fun parade!

What was my favourite part? Seeing the smiles on the children’s faces when I would give them eye contact or compliment their amazing Canada Day spirit was by far my favourite part! Being referred to as a princess is one of the most fulfilling moments as a title holder. It reminds me of my 4 year-old self ouing and awing at the princesses in the parades that I would watch; thus, knowing that I can be that princess for another little girl is quite honestly, the most amazing feeling in the world.

It was also amazing to see how spirited everyone was! What great Canadian pride everyone had, weather it be through face paint or them constantly chanting the national anthem! It is the moments such as these that make me so proud to call myself a Canadian.

Extra special bonus…

Hannah & I after the parade

Hannah & I after the parade

Over the past few years, I have met a ton of pageant people! Some, however, stick out more than others. I’ve been lucky enough to become an older pageant-sister to an amazing girl by the name of Hannah-Mae. There is not a single thing that I would not do for Hannah and she knows that. Although we live pretty far apart, we can always look forward to seeing each other at pageant related events and even have matching sister bracelets to remind us of each other every day. Knowing that I would see her at the parade made this an even more exciting experience.

BUT WAIT… There’s more…

Hannah,Kate & I waiting for the parade to start

Hannah,Kate & I waiting for the parade to start

Just as Hannah looks up to me, I have recently met someone who I look up to just as much. After seeing her name and picture floating around Facebook over the past few years, I finally met Kate just a few months ago at a pageant that we both judged. She is a very kind, intelligent and motivated young woman who completely won me over. Although I haven’t known Kate for an extensive period of time, I already find myself trusting her expertise and quite honestly, viewing her as a big sister too.So you can only imagine how much fun it was to have three generations of role-models sharing a convertible! The laughs, memories and amount of lipgloss that we shared was absolutely priceless. I would re-live this day 100 times over if I could, but I suppose I can just look forward to many more day’s like that in the future!

A special thanks to Miss Joanne for allowing me to join the parade and of course, to Hannah and Kate for always being so amazing.

That’s all for this week, I’m off to the park with my cousins!

Thinking positively,

Michela P. <3

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