Making a difference: Beyond outer beauty
Story by Cody Howe
Insecurity, poor body image, and drama are just a fraction of the negative words associated with “beauty” pageants. However, Vanessa Gaal, a first year social sciences student and Miss London/Ontario winner, is challenging these stereotypes. As a bright and driven young adult with a strong passion for advocacy, Gaal’s claim to fame took only a mere two months to achieve and she is already on her way to bigger things. “I currently hold the title of Miss London and Miss Ontario but I am competing to become Miss Canada Petite, “she excitedly claims.
The typical “end world hunger” speech was replaced with a passionate discussion about her intentions of becoming a lawyer, helping those in need of representation. In order to achieve her dream of working in the legal profession, Gaal has decided to focus her academic studies on the study of criminology. Now a two-time pageant winner, Gaal has not only acquired networking abilities, but she is challenging herself by talking to the community at large events, allowing her to improve her public speaking skills. Gaal also has a strong interest in women’s studies and points out that the pageant focuses more on inner beauty rather than physical appearance. Contestants are judged based on meaningful traits including their values, aspirations, and volunteer experience.
Being a part of the King’s community that is devoted to social justice has been a great experience for Gaal. She agrees time management is essential to a successful career. Balancing post-secondary education with the daily tasks of a pageant title holder requires support and understanding. “The professors are extremely supportive with helping me balance my agenda. The small size of King’s has really allowed me to get the individual support I need to maximize my efforts in succeeding both academically and as Miss London and Miss Ontario,” Gaal says. She also adds that the prominent reputation King’s has for social sciences attracted her to the school and encouraged her to start her academic journey here.
Gaal is now focusing on getting involved in the community through volunteer work and is currently assisting the Boys and Girls Club of London with organizing events, looking for sponsors and raising money. If you are interested in helping Gaal along her journey give her Facebook page a “Like”.
Founded in May 2000, Miss Canada Globe Productions’ primary mandate is to promote inner beauty and confidence, as well as to provide Canadian women with opportunities to compete for a national title regardless of their height, size or creed. The organization’s vision is to “recreate the glamour of pageants with a stronger focus on education and equality.” Title holders are ambassadors and role models representing her Canadian community, appearing to assist local charities and non-profit fundraisers.
For more information visit www.misscanada.tv/
To follow Gaal’s journey visit www.facebook.com/VanessaGaalMissOntario