Iverson on path to top of pageant world
Miss Universe Canada Siera Bearchell crowns Jenaya Iverson of Camrose Canadian Young Model Miss last month in Leduc. The 12-year-old beauty queen dreams of one day wearing Bearchell’s crown. Eve Henry/ ee Dupree Pageant Photography
Jenaya Iverson received all the motivation she needed as she was being crowned Canadian Young Model Miss.
As her idol, Miss Universe Canada Siera Bearchell, was placing the tiara on her head last month in Leduc, she whispered in her ear “One day, Janaya, you will be where I stand.”
The Camrose native was already hooked on pageants, but now she has the confidence to chase down her dream.
“She cried, she couldn’t speak, she couldn’t say her name, she wanted to faint,” said her mother Bernadine Iverson.
This was the second national-level title for the Camrose native after winning the National Canadian Young Miss last year. The path to the top is a long one that will take several years for the 12-year-old.
Each year she has to win a different round of regional and provincial competitions to get to nationals, and she will not be able to compete at the Miss Universe level until she is 18 years old.
“These pageants help me build up to that so I can go to it when I’m older,” said Jenaya, who is sponsored by local businesses to get to different competitions.
Competing in pageants is much more than just a beauty competition. Public speaking and talents are emphasized as much as how they look in different outfits — though each competition has different events.
Iverson has also been training with Ballet Camrose for 11 years and is one of her big strengths during the competitions, where she is known for her stage presence and her big smile.
“In dance I can express myself through my dance on stage, I can become the character in that dance,” said Iverson, who is in Grade 7 at Ecole Charlie Killam School.
Competing and winning in pageants also give contestants a platform to shine a spotlight on different causes. One of Bearchell’s big campaigns is against body shaming.
For Iverson it’s her sister who has muscular dystrophy. She committed to helping spread awareness about the disease as well as other related organizations like Special Olympics.
“With my title I can do volunteer work in the community,” she said, noting the title usually draws attention.
She also auctions off crystal tiara cowboy hats with the money going towards muscular dystrophy.
The next level up for Iverson will be taking aim Miss Teen Canada competition next year in Toronto as she moves up in age.
She also has her eye on life beyond pageants and one day she wants to be a teacher.
“In dance I do student teaching and I really like teaching,” said Iverson.