Surrey resident Stephanie Solem is competing in the Mrs. BC pageant this Canada Day weekend. (Submitted photo)

Surrey pageant hopeful aims to inspire others with anxiety

Sex abuse survivor Stephanie Solem is competing in the Mrs. BC pageant in Langley this Canada Day weekend

For Stephanie Solem, entering the Mrs. BC pageant is an opportunity to inspire others who struggle with anxiety and push past her own challenges in life.

This Canada Day weekend, the Surrey resident will take a second shot at winning the pageant.

“I entered Miss BC when I was younger and unfortunately I had to drop out because my mom was diagnosed with cancer,” said Solem. “So this is kind of like a second chance for me, and when I got accepted I was over the moon.”

It’s particularly meaningful since the charity pageant involves raising funds for Cops for Cancer, and supporting children who have the disease.

“I know how much it can change your life,” she said of the disease that took her mother’s life. “Honestly I’ve always had a drive to make a difference. To live a meaningful life. Losing my mom at such a young age I learned how short life can be. I want to make a difference while I’m here.”

See also: Langley’s Natasha Chadney competes for Miss BC title

See also: It’s all about the journey for Delta’s pageant hopefuls

See also: Surrey pageant contestant’s goal is to give back

The pageant is also an opportunity for Solem to face her anxiety, which she says is the result of childhood sexual abuse.

“I have suffered from anxiety most of my life and it does stem from the abuse I suffered when I was a child,” said Solem. “But I’m a survivor.”

Talking about it helps, she added.

“The reason I shared that about myself in my biography was to raise awareness and inspire other women who have been abused,” said Solem. “It doesn’t encompass who you are, and there’s no need to bottle it up.”

But she acknowledged the anxiety she battles with makes it hard to put herself out there.

“Being a part of this pageant I really had to push myself,” she said, “and become comfortable in situations I normally wouldn’t be.”

In addition to inspiring others who have anxiety and are overcoming abuse, she hopes to inspire her two children, ages two and five.

“I just want them to see it’s important to have a voice and be active in shaping the future,” Solem said, “and what you can do if you put your mind to it.”

Solem, now a wife and stay-at-home mom, was a trained nurse for five years before having children.

She herself grew up with foster parents, and 10 siblings, in Tsawwassen.

“It was absolutely a wonderful experience,” she recalled. “I learned so much from my parents and the children in my life. To love unconditionally. I really learned compassion.”

Solem said she’s grateful for her main sponsor, Lucy Clothing in Langley, which is providing her pageant attire.

“They have clothing for the curvy plus-size woman, which I am and proud to be,” she said.

The Miss, Miss Teen, Jr. Miss and Mrs. BC Pageant will run from June 30 to July 2 in Fort Langley, with the pageant finale set for 6:30 p.m. at the Chief Sepass Theatre (9096 Trattle St., Langley) on July 2.

Visit missbc.ca for more information and to see a complete list of contestants across the province.



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Amy on Twitter

Just Posted

Kanaka Open Mic celebrating 10 years in Maple Ridge

The 10th anniversary celebration will be taking place June 19

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

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