Throughout her teen years and into adulthood, Jenn Sheffield, Mrs. Vancouver Island 2018 and military spouse, has been competing in various pageants. While most women enjoy pampering themselves and getting dolled up for an evening out, Sheffield said sometimes there’s more to it than that.
“When you get to do that and be around other women who are very charitable-minded, they think kind of the same way you do in a philanthropic way, it gives you that chance to see what you’re doing and how it measures up to what someone else might be doing,” she said. “What are their ideas and how can we share back and forth to make both of our platforms even bigger and better than they are?”
Unlike what most people envision a pageant to be, Sheffield said the BC pageant line isn’t like that. When she arrived for the weekend-long event, Sheffield said much work was put into self-development, self-defence, interacting with other contestants, and media training.
“I’m not going to say they’re all bright, brilliant places you can go and develop yourself because unfortunately, they’re still not, but I think there are some shining examples like the Mrs. BC pageant stream where you just show up, and you just bring yourself,” she added. “What I would say is go for it! Because every woman who is there between the age of 14 all the way up to the age of 54. Every single one of those women had the chance to shine their best, and their brightest and every woman came away a winner.”
Also, Sheffield found that rather than the women wanting to bring each other down, these women looked to empower one another and if something had gone wrong, they were willing to drop everything to help a fellow contestant in need.
“Wearing evening gowns, and every woman was trying to put together a dress for someone’s zipper who just broke,” she said. “There was every woman, and there was 40 of us just gathered trying to figure out what can we do? How can we fix it? I’ve got fabric, I’ve got this. How can we make this work? And we did!”
When she received the title, Sheffield said she was shocked and had no idea she would be the one chosen to wear the crown.
“I was not expecting it at all just because the other lady from Vancouver Island is a really wonderful person and her light and heart shone through the entire weekend,” she added. “I don’t know if validated is the right word but encouraged because my platform is one that I live for. I want to serve young teenage girls who are survivors of sexual, domestic, and bullying violence.”
As a survivor herself, Sheffield said she wished there had been resources available to her to access. With her new title, Sheffield said she’s excited to expand on her platform and show these young women they are worthy, strong, and more than their experiences. In turn, she would like to create a yoga-wellness class to empower these young women further.
“If anyone feels they have something to contribute to my program, if there’s anyone either in the area or can contribute to either helping me figure out a plan or through sponsorship. I would love to hear what anyone has to say,” Sheffield concluded.
You can follow he journey on her Facebook page, Mrs. Vancouver Island BC 2018-19.