On July 22nd 2017, The Miss World Canada pageant organization crowned Cynthia Menard (17) as their next Champion to represent Canada on the world stage in China later this year. The competition was a week long affair that tested the contestants ability to walk the runway and showcase their unique talents. Miss World Canada serves as one of the few platforms in which young women can exemplify their beauty, poise, and ambition to realize a better world for everyone, everywhere.
Like any teenager her age, Cynthia faces all the conventional milestones of relationships, work, and school. So when we had the opportunity to sit down with her, we wanted to know what someone her age is doing to prepare for these kinds of competitions and how she manages to keep up. On the day of the interview, Cynthia and her mother arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule. Cynthia presented herself as welcoming and friendly, wearing a little black dress and a pair of flats. Luckily with a bit mutual love of Ariana Grande she opened up to Beyond Fashion Magazine about her incredible journey during Miss World Canada beauty pageant.
(Marcus Muñoz) : I should probably start off by asking, how do you feel? Months of preparation and days of competition and now you’re finally done! Sort of.
(Cynthia Menard) : Yeah sort of… I’m very excited for the year ahead of me. But I’ll be honest, also very nervous. Just about all the things that I’m going to have to do – but no doubt going to be an exciting year for sure.
What was the most difficult part of the competition, or even the whole process in general?
Definitely the heels! Since I wasn’t used to wearing heels all the time… hopefully, with more practice I’ll get more used to them. Also, just getting ready for interviews made me pretty nervous (laughs). I mean, Top Model Search Canada was good practice for getting the hang of walking in heels… I guess it was just the standing for a long time part that was painful.
So what was the most exciting part then?
Probably the photoshoots… I really do love getting my picture taken.
Is there anything specific you learned from this experience – personal or constructive?
I learned how to answer questions on the spot. It’s tough when you can’t prepare for it before but when it came down to actually answering the questions when I needed to, it was pretty easy, because I believed in what I was talking about.
From what you have learned and experienced how will you use this platform to forward your current projects?
Well as soon as I can, I want to get my “Beauty with a Purpose” campaign going, but also focus on being a good role model for confidence and believing in yourself.
“Beauty with a Purpose” was the title theme of the Miss World Canada competition. It looked to exemplify the beauty of young women but in a purposeful and impactful way.
Do you take any particular inspiration from anyone?
My parents for sure, they’ve always been there for me. My mom always pushes me to do what I like – even if people doubt me, she always says just go for it. My dad is pretty social – he taught me a lot on how to speak in front of others.
Have you always wanted to be in pageants?
I’ve always liked beauty pageants and seeing the competitions. I’d watch them on tv or the internet, and always thought it would be a great experience. When Top Model Search Canada said that they were looking for people to be a part of the Miss World Canada competition, I thought it would be a great opportunity – so I went for it.
Many would say that you are pretty young for pageants of this size. You have even told some news outlets that you don’t have as much experience as most of the other girls in the competition. So with that, in your mind, what did you think your chances of being crowned were?
Honestly at the time, I didn’t think I would get crowned, because so many other girls had a lot more experience than I did. A lot of them also had more time to get prepared for the competition. But I really do think that I’ll be a great role model, and I’m glad that other people see that too.
On a lighter note, is there anything funny or maybe even a little dramatic that you can share with us that happened during the competition?
How about a little of both? So basically one of the mornings I woke up and thought we had to leave at 7:45am. Naturally I decided to take my time getting ready. But then we heard this other girl saying that the bus already left. I started freaking out and rushing to finish getting ready. Luckily my roommate told me the bus was still there but we had to hurry. So I literally grabbed (what I thought was my dress for the day) and ran for the bus. Just my luck though, because the dress I took was the wrong one…and we were already on the bus…halfway to the venue. My roommate had to text Michelle (Senior coordinator for Miss World Canada) to grab my dress. Apparently I wasn’t the only one to forget something. It was pretty funny hearing the story of Michelle asking the hotel to let her into over 10 different rooms to grab clothes for the girls – I’m sure it was a little awkward at the time.
Are you planning on keeping in touch with any of the girls from the competition?
Definitely. My roommate and I got super close so we’ll for sure keep in touch. There’s also another girl that I met during Top Model Search that I became really close with – we always cheered each other on.
They must be so excited for you to represent Canada in China. Speaking of, how exactly are you preparing for that?
Basically, a lot of training: interview training, runway training, photoshoots, lessons on how to do my hair and makeup application. I’ve never been to China before, so I’m excited to travel around for a month there.
And how old did you say you were? I swear I’m getting vertigo hearing about all the different ages people are assuming you are.
I’m 17. Apparently, I’ve been written out to be 20, 21, I think I saw one that said 25. (laughs)
Backtracking a little bit, do you think your age put you at a disadvantage at the time?
At the start yes, since everyone was older than me, more experienced. But I still went in with a positive mindset and maturity – I really didn’t want any negativity to bring my chances down.
How do your parents and friends feel about all the success you have had so far?
They’re so happy for me and with everything that has happened. When I was crowned pretty much everyone I called was crying. My mom and boyfriend came to watch me on the final day – they were pretty emotional too.
Okay so I am going to mix things up a bit. I devised a short mini game for us to play. Basically I ask you a bunch of multiple choice questions and you have to answer them as quick as you can within 20 seconds.
Oh my gosh okay I’ll do my best! … (game ensues)
So in 20 seconds we pretty much learned that Cynthia prefers: Chanel over Versace, flats over heels, MAC over NYX, Sci-Fi over Horror, and….PASTA over PIZZA #savage (the pasta over pizza was definitely an unfair question in her defence).
A couple more questions before photographer steals you away… for anyone looking to become Miss World Canada one day, what is some advice you would like to share?
Honestly, just be yourself. Be happy and confident with who you are as a person and that will shine through.
Would you do it all again?
(instantly smiles) Definitely.
If you ask us, despite anyone’s age – being young and ambitious doesn’t mean you’re incapable of success or creating long lasting impact – it just means you have a lot more time to do that, and we think Cynthia will do just that.
Photography by Margarita Menard
Makeup by Christina Brakhnova (@kmakeup_pro)
Hair by Samantha Fabian
Dresses by Stephan Caras and Dress Empire