“It feels amazing, it feels so surreal,” said 2019’s Miss Castlegar, Rhyan Johnstone, after the pageant last Friday where she was chosen. “I totally wasn’t expecting it, it’s just crazy.”
Johnstone may have been the only person in the room who didn’t expect her to win the award.
Just a few moments before, she was given the Training Award, the Talent Award, and was runner-up for the Speech Award. The Miss Castlegar crown seemed like a given by then.
Johnstone was selected from a slate of nine candidates at the pageant, held at Stanley Humphries Secondary.
Johnstone’s Princess, Luisa Glowalla, was also shocked and honoured by her win.
“I don’t have words, I wasn’t expecting it at all to say the least,” she said. “It felt amazing. I couldn’t control my tears.”
Busy five months
The Miss Castlegar contest is designed to help groom all the candidates into capable, confident young women.
The pageant is only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Three-quarters of the candidate’s points are earned before they even take the stage, in a five-month long course.
The nine young women started training in January, and met every Wednesday for three hours leading up to the pageant. Their training included public speaking, modelling, current events, and time management. They learned about city council, political parties, Castlegar history, resume writing, and personal interview skills.
Guest speakers come in and talk to the young women on nutrition, make-up/skin care, customer service/etiquette, women’s safety and awareness, and budgeting/financial planning.
They also learn an opening number dance for pageant night.
They present a prepared four-minute speech at the judged speech competition, which is held two weeks prior to the pageant. They also have a 15-minute personal interview with the judges the day of pageant.
“I feel as though my public speaking skills have increased, as a musician I am used to being up on stage and presenting myself,” said Johnstone. “But I never knew public speaking would be so much harder, and I think this program has helped me to grow in this aspect.”
As the runner-up in the competition, Glowalla agreed.
“The hardest part was standing here,” she says. “I am used to talking to people face-to-face, but being on stage scared me.”
The two young women now have a year ahead of travel, representing Castlegar, and taking part in public events. The pair are neighbours and old friends, so they say they’ll have no problem working together and having fun in their new positions.
Both girls acknowledged their friends and fellow contestants.
“I knew coming into the program I would meet lots of new friends,” said Johnstone. “They were amazing, all of them. I never knew I would come out finding so many friends and buildings such strong bonds with the rest of them.”
Following is the list of award winners:
Queen Committee Training Award (given to the candidate in recognition of her responsibility, dedication and effort during the five months of training): Rhyan Johnstone
Speech Award: Isabel Fitchett
Runner-up Speech Award: Rhyan Johnstone
Talent Award: Rhyan Johnstone
Runner-up Talent Award: Luisa Glowalla
Perseverance Award (awarded to the candidate showing determination and strength to move forward and who has grown substantially through the program): Lucy Walters
Miss Friendship (chosen by her fellow candidates): Stefanie Soukeroff