Learning to walk is one of the first skills we all develop as a child, but Brittany Orsted had to learn to do it all over again.
The Estevan teen recently returned from her jaunt to Toronto as a participant in the Miss Teen Canada World competition. She did more than just participate, but was selected for the top four as most photogenic and is using this experience to propel herself to Ecuador.
Michelle Weswaldi is the Miss Teen Canada World executive director and took a particular liking to Orsted in Toronto, encouraging her to pursue the pageant world further. That will first take her to Ecuador in September for Miss Teen Earth. There will be about 15 to 20 countries competing, and Orsted will be Canada’s representative.
The quiet and shy 19-year-old confirmed that all these experiences have made her more confident, but that’s still what Weswaldi wants to see more of from the Estevanite.
“I’ve always had modelling in the back of my head, but I said ‘no, this is not me.’ I didn’t have the confidence,” Orsted said.
After graduating from high school in June 2011, she said she started to get more confident. When Weswaldi first told Orsted she’d like to see her in more pageants, she was thinking it would be a year or so before the next one, not in less than two months.
After the trip to Ecuador, Orsted has another date in November to head to Vancouver for an international modelling event with women from 50 other countries.
“I would love to pursue it. I love doing this,” she said, unable to keep her smile from showing.
Her mother Sherrilee said it was a bit of a surprise to learn her daughter was selected into the top four as most photogenic.
She said, “It was funny because she called me that night and said, ‘You know how I think I’m not very photogenic,’ and she had just said she saw the picture that they put out there and said, ‘My eyes look creepy.’ I’m like, really?”
Brittany was incredibly busy over the course of the week-long pageant.
She said they only had three to five hours of sleep, with their days spent going to events, dance rehearsals, photo shoots and interviews.
“We had an instructor that showed us how to walk properly, and there was another person that came in and showed us how to dance and what you have to do with your poses in the bathing suit and evening gown,” said Brittany.
The dancing she missed because she was in a photo shoot after being selected as one of the most photogenic. She has a background in dance, but hasn’t taken any classes in the past year. Even so, she picked up on the moves pretty quickly.
“This whole modelling experience, I haven’t done before, so it’s all new to me,” Brittany said, particularly in regards to the walking. “My walking has been improving since I went to Saskatoon for provincials. (Weswaldi) said that when I walk it’s stiff, so when I walk I have to hold my poses longer and be more confident.”
She was in Toronto from July 14 to 22 representing Saskatchewan’s southeast after being selected at the provincial competition in Saskatoon this past March.
“It was a great experience meeting all the girls from across Canada,” said Brittany, noting there were 62 pageant participants in the competition.
It’s an expensive trip — the cost just to enter the pageant was $2,900 — so Brittany was expected to do some fundraising in order to help cover her costs, as well as raising funds for the pageant’s primary charity, Free the Children. Brittany had no trouble surpassing her goal of $1,000, raising just over $2,000 for the organization that empowers children to help other youth around the world.
“I’m so proud of what the community has done for me,” said Brittany. “It’s such an honour how the community supported me.”
To raise money for the charity, she hosted a chipping contest, went to the Bikers Against Diabetes rodeo and appeared at the MS Walk and anti-bullying walk.
“My platform was bullying, so I thought that was a great way to start it off.”
She noted that she had been bullied in school and understands it’s a community problem.
“It affects teenagers and children in the community. It really touches me because I’ve been affected.”
The pageant in Ecuador is from Sept. 11 to 16 and will include competitions in both bathing suit and evening gown.