A 17-year-old student at McRoberts secondary has been crowned Miss Teen Canada Globe, and she’s competing for the title of Miss Teen Mundial (World) in El Salvador next month.
Marlene Ong was crowned second princess when she competed in Miss Teen Canada Globe back in August 2018, but when the first-place winner couldn’t fulfill her duties, Ong found out in April that she’d receive the title months after the original pageant.
That allows her to represent her country at the upcoming South American Miss Teen Mundial.
“My goal, aside from bringing the crown and the title, I think my main goal is to make friends,” Ong told the Richmond News. “And bring home the culture that I’m going to learn in El Salvadore.”
She credits pageants with helping to boost her confidence and improving her public speaking.
“I was really shy, and then I tried the pageants,” Ong said, “I thought I was going be shaking on the stage.”
She didn’t grow up competing; Miss Teen Canada Globe was her first try. It turned out she was a natural.
“I feel confident walking on stage, showing the audience what kind of person I am.”
Teens interview for the competition and participate in Q&A sessions about causes they’re passionate about and charity work they do to help their community. Ong recalled doing her Q&A about issues facing the LGBTQ community.
“I think the judges want to see the true self,” she said. “Just answer it sincerely and from the heart.”
For the charity component, she highlighted the work shoe does to help seniors. She said it’s important to her because she’s very close with her grandparents.
There are also beauty components to the pageant, when competitors don swimsuits and then extravagant gowns. But Ong wanted to dispel the notion that the pageants are just about looks.
“I think confidence is a key. During the pageant week you’re going to learn to accept your full self. You’re going to embrace who you are.”