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

Burrards lose in Victoria

Maple Ridge WLA squad hosts Salmonbellies on Sunday

UPDATE: Multiple fires along the railway tracks in Pitt Meadows

Firefighters asking CP rail to close tracks

Maple Ridge coaches and players on Team BC

Heading to California tournament with 15U team

Maple Ridge woman reported missing now located

Police have spoken with Karen Gorrie, reported missing in May

Golden Ears Bridge at 10: Community had called for a crossing for decades

From nothing, to the Albion Ferry, to the bridge was a long wait

Dog at Maple Ridge SPCA needs spinal surgery

Miniature pinscher has painful condition known as Wobbler Syndrome.

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Metro Vancouver’s air quality could be the worst yet this wildfire season

As wildfire season approached, Metro Vancouver experts predict the air will be an issue for many

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

B.C. farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted on Vancouver Island

UPDATE: Two-year-old involved in Chilliwack pool drowning has died

Toddler was reported to not be breathing as air ambulance called out Thursday afternoon

Most Read