Dakota Stallard didn’t know she was the “pageant type.”
A soccer player and dancer, the Saanich resident was noticed by a former beauty contestant through her dance studio, Vibe Street Dance.
Now, just weeks before the start of school, the 15-year-old Mount Douglas secondary student will be competing at Miss Teen Canada Globe in Toronto. The competition is for teens aged 13 to 18, and ends on Aug. 23.
“My whole family is onboard, though at first I wasn’t,” says Stallard, who was scouted by former Miss Teen Canada winner from 2012, Natalie Zachary, also from Saanich.
“At first I didn’t consider myself a pageant-type girl. I’m more into sports and playing soccer (with Saanich Fusion), and not wearing high heels. This summer I’ve been learning to walk in heels,” she added.
The Gordon Head resident believes she’s the only contestant from the South Island, though the list hadn’t been finalized when she departed. There are no localized qualifying competitions, but Stallard will participate in a Miss Teen B.C. contest during the Miss Teen Canada seven-day regional assessment. The assessments are also a time to study the art of the pageant, as Stallard will attend workshops on the how-to’s of the runway and public speaking.
Winning Miss B.C. would give her a leg up, she says, in the Miss Teen Canada competition, but it’s not necessary.
“There’s a lot to do. Before I even leave, I have to submit an essay for the written component,” Stallard said.
That’s where judges will read about her extracurricular activities, including volunteer and fundraising work. Stallard has helped survivors and patients participate in the Walk for Leukaemia, among other endeavours.
Last month, she and her Vibe Street Dance group ran a major fundraiser to help recover from a break-in at the studio, the day before her group’s year-end recital. Money and several items were stolen.
“Even our handmade costumes were taken that we designed for our year-end performance. The fundraiser went really well and raised back a lot of money that was lost. We were really well supported in a huge dance show with dancers from across the community.”
If Stallard wins Miss Teen Canada Globe, she’ll donate the $4,000 prize to Blue Wave, which helps teenagers with depression and social anxiety.
Stallard’s formal dress will represent her heritage, as she’s half Chinese and one-quarter Aboriginal.
“It’s a Chinese traditional dress that my mom wore at her wedding, and I’ll wear a dreamcatcher on my wrist.”