By Kathy Yanchus
For 14-year-old Mackenzie Campbell, being crowned Miss Teen Southern Ontario means much more than the silky sash and glittery tiara.
“I want to do something with it, make somebody’s life change,” said the Grade 9 Waterdown District High School student, who was crowned last month from among more than 40 competitors.
All contestants were required to present a platform; Mackenzie’s was bullying and low self-esteem awareness. With her title, Mackenzie wants to be an ambassador, visit schools, talk to her peers about the importance of inner beauty. If you feel beautiful, others will see you that way too, she said.
“It’s not about outer beauty; beauty comes from within,” she said. “A lot of kids don’t feel that way. I really want to support them.”
Mackenzie admits she experienced bullying in elementary school and it wasn’t until she reached out for help that things changed.
“I was a very shy person and some people took advantage of me. It’s difficult to ask for help.”
Her mother Lisa is proud of her daughter and amazed at how the pageant experience has transformed her, with its components of poise, performance, public speaking and fund-raising (she raised $1,200 for Cardiac Kids).
There has been so much of a change in such a short amount of time, she said.
“I think I changed even more in those two days of the pageant,” added Mackenzie.
She remembers the moment her name was called.
“I said, ‘Ooh, don’t trip,’” she laughed. “Once I got past all the dresses, I thought, ‘Wow, I did it.’”
As Miss Teen Southern Ontario, Mackenzie is a finalist in the Miss Teen Canada World pageant in July.
Regardless of what happens on that night, she keeps her title for a year and in that time, hopes to make many appearances at local parades and festivals and in schools, as well as raise sponsorship dollars. For the overall title, contestants will again fund-raise, this time for Free the Children.
She wanted to thank “Miss Sarah” (Sordoni), owner of Live Dream Dance - where she is a member of the competitive dance team - for her assistance in preparing for the pageant, as well as photographer Sean P. Carson and Drs. Len and Ken Chan for their financial donation.
To follow Mackenzie’s journey to Miss Teen Canada World, visit www.facebook.com/MissTeenSouthernOntarioWorld2013.