Jessica Wesson wants to show Chilliwack’s youth they too can step out of their shells and succeed.
The 20-year-old Chilliwack resident is vying for top spot in next month’s Miss BC 2012 pageant.
It’s something she would never have done just a few short years ago.
“Growing up, I was self-conscious and quiet,” said Wesson, who graduated from Chilliwack secondary in 2009.
A trip to Europe in her grad year, though, changed that.
“That was my first trip, my first time on a plane, first time away from my family,” she said. “I took a leap of faith, and I loved it.
“Since then, I’ve wanted to do things that please me and make me happy, regardless of whether they scare me.”
Becoming Miss BC is one of those things.
While Wesson won’t be required to sport a swimsuit this year (that component of the pageant was omitted to attract a wider selection of contestants) she will be required to perform a choreographed number, walk the stage several times, and be interviewed by a panel of judges.
But she’s not scared.
“The only thing I’m nervous about is tripping in my heels,” she laughed.
Unlike the stereotypical image of a beauty pageant contestant, Wesson isn’t competing for fame, glory, or to boast about her undeniable beauty. She’s competing to show others they can do things they love too, regardless of how shy or insecure they may be.
“I want to be a role model for women and youth in B.C.,” said Wesson, who’s being sponsored for the pageant by Lucy Bruni Photography.
Wesson, who’s lived in Chilliwack her whole life, also wants to shine a light on her beloved hometown.
“I love it here,” she said. “People come here in the summer all the time, but Chilliwack has so much more to offer – they should be coming here all the time.”
On June 24, Wesson will be hosting a fundraiser for Cops for Cancer, the pageant’s charity of choice, at the Village Classic Car Show. She has also been diligently raising funds for the cause online and through a donation box at IGA on Menzies.
It’s something she could easily get behind, she said.
“Kids are very self-conscious about themselves, especially when they know they have something different about them, and I think it’s great to support a charity that sends these kids to a place where they can feel like everybody else.”
The Miss BC Pageant is on July 2 and will be televised later in the summer.
To donate to Wesson’s Cops for Cancer fundraiser, visit her charity page at http://www.copsforcancerbc.ca/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=1018247&supid=354804368
Wesson also has a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/JessicaWessonForMissBC2012
From June 15 to July 1, the community can vote for the Miss People’s Choice Award at www.missbc.ca. One vote per house, per day.