Thursday, May 29, 2014
Chanel Beckenlehner: U of T grad crowned Miss Universe Canada
Caledon’s Chanel Beckenlehner, 25, was given this year’s title on last Saturday at Toronto’s St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts where 64 women competed to represent Canada.
“I was drawn to this industry and am passionate not only to work as a title holder but also for the organization,” Beckenlehner said.
Right after Beckenlehner’s win — and in her first interview as Miss Universe Canada — she told the Toronto Sun how excited she was to be a SUNshine Girl.
“I think the exposure will be awesome. It will create awareness for the pageant and help give a voice to my opinions. I’m thankful for the opportunity,” she said.
Beckenlehner says the pageant isn’t just about being a “pretty girl” but being a role model for education, sports and being a role model in the community.
One of her favorite parts of the pageant is its charitable support for kids, like SOS Children’s Villages Canada — which builds homes internationally for abandoned and orphaned children — and Operation Smile, which provides cleft surgery to children in third-world countries to help transform their lives.
Beckenlehner who is used to working with charities — says she is proud this year’s pageant raised $130,000 for children’s causes.
“The opportunities we have in Canada I want to share and give to other kids in the world,” said Beckenlehner, who is planning a humanitarian trip to Nicaragua with Operation Smile.
“This is what I want to do wherever I go throughout this whole year, now that I will have such a big voice,” she said.
While attending the University of Toronto for four years to become a political science specialist, she also took a course in HIV/AIDS and plans to take that knowledge into schools and promote awareness and prevention.
“It will be an awareness campaign to educate young people to make responsible decisions. Without your health you have nothing,” she said, adding her work will include an anti-bullying campaign. “I want to increase the peace and communication with teachers and students by developing connections and give students to opportunities to seek guidance.”
While she enjoys a variety of hobbies such as golf, fashion, traveling and the arts, she has a special place in her heart for horses and riding dressage in particular and hopes to ride internationally.
“The will to win is not worth anything without the daily commitment to do what it takes to prepare to win,” Beckenlehner said, who rides six days a week. “It is my passion. I would love to compete in the Olympics for Canada.”
The date and location for the 2014 Miss Universe pageant will be announced this fall.
Beckenlehner says she can’t wait to come back to the Sun for an interview and photo session after a win at Miss Universe.
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