Vanya Shastri, a recent Clayton Secondary School grad, was crowned Miss Canada Petite International 2019/2020 last month.
The national pageant took place in Toronto with fifteen women competing, all between the ages of 18 to 29 and who are no taller than 5’6”.
“Girls from the age of 13 to 29 in the categories of Miss, Miss Petite, and Teen all bonded together so well during the 10 days. We were a sisterhood – eating, training, laughing, and crying together,” Shastri recalled.
“I spent the past six months before the competition, gaining stamina through basic kickboxing training, receiving vocal training to reach my singing voice, practicing my walk in heels, and researching my organization of choice which is the Canadian Women’s Foundation.”
Shastri, a Clayton Heights resident, said she wants to use the spotlight to raise awareness about forced marriages and to break the mold when it comes to typical pageant requirements.
“I entered because, for the longest time, I wanted to bring awareness to a cause I was passionate about on a larger scale but couldn’t in the past as I had no platform. I was just an anonymous film student before this. Now, I can speak about women’s rights and bring more awareness to pay gaps, domestic violence, and education opportunities,” Shastri explained.
Shastri, who’s height 5’4”, was one of three women to earn a title, the others being the official Miss Canada Petite winner overall and Miss Canadian Petite MesoAmerica.
“During nationals when I was called for the title of Miss Canada Petite International, I couldn’t stop smiling and it was an overwhelming relief to know I’d made it. After the crowning, I later dipped my feet into an ice bath to reduce the pain from wearing heels all day and ate a ton of chocolate,” Shastri said.
Shastri will go on to represent Canada to the Miss Petite International Pageant in El Salvador. She is currently studying acting at Vancouver Film School.
For more information on the pageant, people can visit www.misscanada.tv.
Is there more to this story?