A former Dresden Exhibition Ambassador has her eyes set on winning a new crown.
Katherine Highgate, formerly of Dresden and now a resident of Toronto, is competing in the upcoming Miss Universe Canada pageant.
“This is actually my second time competing,” Highgate told the Sydenham Current.
“So I went for the title in 2013 and have been able to come back this year and go for it. I have been involved in pageants for a while. I did them a little bit in high school. I was able to represent Chatham in the ‘Miss Teen Canada World’ pageant, which was awesome and I got so much support doing and kind of I decided to see it through and pursue it.”
Back in 2008, Highgate represented the Dresden Agricultural Society at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) Ambassador of the Fair contest, after winning the Ambassador competition that year at Dresden’s fair.
“I think having those positive experiences really sort of gave me the drive to keep doing it because I had gotten so much good feedback and support,” she said.
“You really need a strong network of people to help get you there. So I think that is what led me down this path.”
Miss Universe Canada finals are Oct. 6
Highgate said she’ll be checking in on Saturday for the competition and will take part in rehearsals, school visits and other activities leading up to Thursday, October 5, when the preliminary competition is held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre at the John Bassett Theatre.
The following day, Friday, October 6, the final competition will be held.
Highgate said a large portion of the competitors scores will come from behind the scenes.
“So there is the stuff that you see on stage of course: evening gown competition, interview, swimsuit competition… but 25% of our overall score is also determined by our humanitarian projects,” Highgate said.
“So the official charity that that we are working along side with is ‘Operation Smile’. Every one of the 67 delegates has been fundraising and raising awareness for ‘Operation Smile’. Every year Miss Universe Canada makes a donation and also does a humanitarian tour to visit ‘Operation Smile’ in Nicaragua. So they are able to see some of the surgeries take place. It is surgeries for underprivileged children that have cranial facial abnormalities, but specifically cleft lip and cleft palate surgery.”
Highgate said she did a charity calendar project, featuring some of the delegates, as a fundraiser.
“I organized a photo shoot for some of the GTA delegates and we have a calendar printed up,” she said.
“The photographer, CJ Cromwell Photography, completely donated his time and talent to the project. We actually sold out of the first run of calendars that we had made.”
Proud of her Dresden roots
Highgate said it is special to her to have her roots from Dresden.
“You come into a competition like this and all of the delegates, I think, bring something different to the table, but I feel like my strategy going into it is always to try and have that work ethic and consistency,” she said.
“I to this day think that largely comes from my small town upbringing. I think having those roots and those ties… I have gotten so much mentorship when I did the CNE competition, working really closely with Shirley (McKerral). She would have me over to her house and kind of prep me on an interview and help me with my clothes and hair.”
Highgate added: “Having Gary Patterson take me under his wing and help me with my communications skills and speeches, all of that I feel like I am taking to Miss Universe Canada. It’s really my goal to try and represent my community really well and just show them the small town friendly comradery kind of spirit.”
The competition also includes a ‘People’s Choice Award’ component.
You can vote online, by clicking here.
Highgate, who graduated from the radio and television program at Ryerson University, models, writes and blogs in Toronto professionally.
She said she’s looking forward to the competition.
“It is a really good opportunity to meet other women that are doing the same things as you and are really goal oriented,” she said. “I feel like it is a really cool networking opportunity too,” she said.
“So you are competing, but you learn a lot from your competitors.”
For more details about the compeition, visit: missuniversecanada.ca
– Submitted photos