More than just a pretty face

 

By Joel Charron

The 2012 Miss Canada has been crowned and she calls Amherstburg home.

Jaclyn Miles, 23, recently won the prestigious title Jan. 15 in Montreal and returned home this past weekend for the first time since being crowned Miss Canada.

“This is truly a tremendous honour,” said Miles.

According to Miles The Miss Canada pageant wasn’t something she actively pursued and admits that it was the pageants director that contact her to enter the contest after finding her on Facebook.

 

2012 Miss Canada gets a warm welcome from her family on her first visit since being crowned. In photo (L to R) Corinne Dawson (mother), Jaclyn Miles, Peter Miles (father) Back- Dwaine Dawson (step-father) absent from photo- Lisa Miles (step mother)

Miles, who studies at the University of Western Ontario in hopes of becoming a teacher, didn’t decided to go to Montreal until three days before the pageant.

“I wasn’t going to go,” said Miles. “I go to school full time and I have three job on top of that, so I was thinking that there was no way I could fit this into my schedule.”

However, after weighing out her options and a generous offer from a friend to pay for the trip, Miles decided to make her way to Montreal.

“My friend told me that she felt this opportunity came to me for a reason and that I needed to go,” explained Miles.

Miles said the pageant format was very different from what she was used to. The first day the over 20 Miss Canada hopefuls were taken on a day of fun, which included arcade games, laser tag, bumper cars and bowling. The second day, the young women were treated to a day at the spa.

“It was a really nice experience because usually for these types of pageants you’re doing photo shoots and fashion shows or visiting places,” said Miles. “We were literally having fun.”

Miles said Miss Canada is about more than just beauty, she added, with the organization valuing such aspects as education, intelligence and community service work.

“It was a personality based contest,” she said. “They judge you on your character, the way you present yourself, your intelligence and your platform. It wasn’t your typical pageant.”

Miles explained that each contestant had to talk about their platform, something they

Jaclyn Miles is all smiles as she is being crowned Miss Canada 2012.

believed in. The 23-year-old said she took a “big risk” as she spoke out against all forms of abuse.

Miles spoke of her own experiences, revealing that she was once in an abusive relationship.

“It was the worst time of my life,” she said. “I completely lost myself and my friends. I didn’t even talk to my family. I pretty much stopped going to school. It took everything away from me.”

After Miles removed herself from her abuser, she promised herself two things, first, she would never let herself be put in that kind of situation ever again and second, she would help people deal with their abusive situation so they wouldn’t have to go through what she did.

“I was surprised by how many people around me went through the same thing,” she said. “No one want to talk about it, no one wants to report it because it’s embarrassing and people judge you, criticize you. It makes people not want to speak up and that’s wrong because they are the victim, not the problem.”

For the next year, Miles hopes to speak out locally, nationally and perhaps even globally against all forms of abuse. She believes most people in the world have been impacted by abuse in one form or another.

The theme of her reign as Miss Canada will be “breaking the silence” and plans to encourage people to talk about their situations in order to make positive change. Miles said she never would have become Miss Canada if she hadn’t spoken up about her own situation and made a change.

“I felt going into this contest that this is why I went through this experience,” said Miles. “I have a very strong personality and once I got out of that situation, I never let it bring me down. I went up and up from there. I want to pass that along to other people and maybe prevent the abuse.”

Miles’ mother Corinne Dawson and stepfather Dwaine Dawson said words cannot express how proud they are of her.

“I’m extremely proud but not surprised,” said Corinne. “Her personality dictates her success. She’s already been very strong willed, very personable and sociable. It all goes together and that’s why she’s here today doing this.”

Her father, Peter Miles, called his daughter a “natural born leader” and commends her for having the strength to pull through a very dark time in her life.

Peter also mentioned that he feels that Miles has set her self up for further bullying because of her title however knows Miles will prevail.

“I know she can handle it,” said Peter. “It just proves that her point needs to be brought to light.”

Miles took the crown from 2011 Miss Canada Tara Teng, one of the top 25 women in Canada. Miles knows she’ll be following in some rather large footsteps, but it’s a challenge she is ready for.

“It’s not about me,” said Miles. “It’s about being the voice of so many people that can’t speak up. It’s about showing people that they are beautiful and they are worth it.”

 

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