Michelle Saine, representing Nanaimo in this year’s Miss B.C. pageant, credits role models, such as her stepmother Liz Reddick, for being positive influences that helped her create a good life for herself and her family. Saine sees the pageant as a vehicle allowing her to deliver a message of how women of all ages and backgrounds can draw on inner strength and courage to achieve anything they want. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

Miss B.C. contestant’s goal is to empower women

Nanaimo’s Michelle Saine will be competing in the Mrs. category at pageant on Monday, July 2

Life pitched Michelle Saine curveballs from the first inning.

Her grandparents adopted her at birth. They cared for her until she was six when their health failed and she was placed in care of her biological father. He suffered from bipolar disorder, and she and her brothers moved multiple times.

Without the continuity of a stable home, Saine struggled with forming long-term relationships and a strong sense of family and security.

Saine promised herself if she were to ever marry, she’d provide a loving, secure home.

“My dad … was a really good person, but he struggled…” she said. “He did the best he could, for sure, but it made me who I am and it made me strong and it made me want to have a different life.”

Saine, now 54, has been married 29 years – she met her husband 35 years ago on the day she arrived in Nanaimo – and has three grown children and has had a 25-year career with the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction and is Nanaimo’s Mrs. category contestant in this year’s Miss B.C. pageant.

In her work, Saine faces societal issues. Social housing and working with young people are are important to her and she plans to complete her degree in social work. She’s also trained in suicide prevention and credits much of her success to the positive influences from people who appeared at critical times in her life, including her grandparents and her stepmother Liz Reddick.

“My dad was with a woman who was a saint,” Saine said. “She took us on – myself and my two brothers – and she was an amazing role model for us and I miss her a lot … she made a total difference … at pivotal moments, at the beginning when you’re a teenager. There were really positive people in my life that guided where I was going.”

Those influences will also guide Saine’s future.

“What I’m hoping to do when I grow up is work with families … work with children, integrating families that are struggling, working with children and parents and keeping families together,” she said.

The pageant happens in Fort Langley on Monday, July 2, but in the days leading up to it, contestants participate in workshops on public speaking, interviewing, etiquette and manners, self-defence, personal expression, self-esteem awareness, modelling choreography, on-stage presence, lifestyle and leadership. With a lifelong interest in education and personal development, the pageant is up Saine’s alley.

“When I was 17 I lived in Calgary and I was at a mall and they were asking for contestants for Miss Teen Calgary,” Saine said.

A friend of her’s had competed in a local pageant and loved the experience. Saine, being shy, wondered if she could do it too.

“I was in the second or third from the table to sign up and I jammed, I just couldn’t do it. I thought, no way, so here I am, years later and I thought, you know, this might be a really good thing to do. Face your fears,” she said.

This time around she has support from her family and her friend and sponsor Sybil Worthington, owner of Xcessoreyes Cosmetic.

“To me I look at she’s representing everybody,” Worthington said. “She’s a wonderful representation of a female … she’s just a beautiful person inside and out.”

Saine admitted she’s as terrified facing the prospect of walking across a stage in high heels and speaking publicly as she was when she was 17, but pushing through the fear is part of her message.

“Don’t be afraid of who you are. Don’t be afraid of who you think you are. Don’t be afraid of what people think of you. It’s how you feel about yourself and having the courage to stand up and do something that scares you, that you’re afraid to do and do it anyway,” Saine said.



photos@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Opinion: The Second Street development might be a problem – but it’s not council’s problem

Reporter Kate Saylors writes about the common misconception surrounding a BC Housing development.

What’s happening for Family Day in the Boundary

Activities in and around Grand Forks offer something for everyone.

Call a foul on cancer with the Pink Whistle Campaign

Local basketball referees are raising money for cancer research

Petition on Second Street project presented to council

Over 1,000 signatures were gathered, but staff say council can’t do much about the project.

Have an escape plan, meeting place in event of fire

Grand Forks Fire/Rescue offers tips to keep your family prepared.

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

PR firm suspends contract with former B.C. premier amid groping accusation

Edelman says in a statement that Campbell has served as a special adviser to the firm since last July

James says B.C. budget puts priorities on NDP’s poverty, environment plans

She said she expected the government’s poverty reduction and climate change strategies to be priorities in the budget

PHOTOS: Day 1 of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Games kicked off in Red Deer this week

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

East Kootenay illicit drug overdose deaths lowest in B.C.

Local expert credits harm reduction efforts; declares support for legalization of opioids

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Most Read