BERWICK, NS - Kings County was well represented at the recent Miss Teen Maritime International competition, with contestants bringing home multiple titles.
Several girls and young women from the Valley region took part in the 2018 Miss Teen International, Miss International and Ms. International competitions in Moncton and Dieppe, New Brunswick, in May.
The Ms., Miss and Miss Teen Maritime event is a scholarship achievement program, not a beauty pageant or model search. Delegates are judged on personality, intellect, communications skills, public speaking, charity platform and overall desire and passion to help people and make a positive difference.
Miss Teen Nova Scotia International
16-year-old Destiny Bartlett of Berwick was crowned Miss Teen Nova Scotia International. She’s very excited to be representing the entire province and to have a future career in pageantry.
“I was thinking that this would be probably one of my last pageants, as I soon age out of the teen division or retire,” Bartlett said. “But, after this pageant, I think I have discovered a drive to do more and to be a lot more involved in that whole world.”
Bartlett took part in the Berwick Gala Days pageant in 2017 and ended up winning the title Gala Days Queen. It was the first time she had been involved in such an event. She really enjoyed the experience and said she learned a lot, including leadership skills, and she became more active in the community.
“I really enjoyed the whole world of pageantry, it opened up a whole set of doors for me that I didn’t really know existed,” Bartlett said.
When asked if she has any advice for other young women who may want to give pageantry a try, she said “just do it” and “don’t overthink it.” It can be a bit intimidating but it’s a great learning experience, whether you win a title or not.
First Runner Up – Ms. Nova Scotia International
27-year-old Kristina Gillis, who lives in Berwick but represented Kings County in the pageant, brought home the title of First Runner Up – Ms. Nova Scotia International. She first got involved in pageants when she was 14 and recently got involved again after taking a seven-year break.
“This one is probably going to be my retirement one, I’m kind of reaching a phase in my life that I wanted to do one last one and go out with a bang and I think I did,” Gillis said.
She said she was very reserved when it came to being herself when she competed as a teen. She felt that she had an image to uphold and said she hid a lot of who she was. However, going back at age 27, she approached the competition differently and let her personality shine through.
Gillis describes herself as “a nerd” who is quite into cosplay, a hobby in which participants wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character. She did cosplay for the talent and fashion portions of the pageant, playing Catwoman and Ariel from The Little Mermaid respectively.
“One of my biggest things going into it this time was just completely being myself and not really caring if it went over well or not as long as I was happy with who I was,” Gillis said.
She has competed nationally in the past and been a runner-up but Gillis said it means more to her being a runner-up at more of a local level as part of the 2018 Ms. International competition. She had more people rallying around her and supporting her this time, which “really hit home in a personal way.”
Miss Teen Kings County International
13-year-old Shilow Viner of Waterville represented Kings County as Miss Teen Kings County International 2018. She said it was really fun and she never experienced anything like it before. Viner enjoyed meeting and interacting with the other contestants. She said it was the people around her who inspired her to get involved.
“My friend was in it too, so I decided why not try it. It’s something new, so go for it,” Viner said.
She said being Miss Teen Kings County International 2018 means a lot to her because she now gets to represent people her age at various community events. Viner said it’s something she wants to do, not something she has to do.
She hopes to become a role model to other girls who may be interested in getting involved in pageantry and has tried to convince some of her friends at school to get involved.
Amanda Kirkpatrick of Canning brought home the title Ms. Nova Scotia International and Shanika MacEachern of Cambridge was awarded the Ms. Friendship title.
A proud sponsor
Delformals Wear owner Del Filippone of Berwick sponsored all five of the girls and said she is very proud of them. She’s been working with the contestants and supporting them over the past several months. She couldn’t make it to Moncton for the pageant because of an injury but watched it live on YouTube.
“When I saw them coming across the stage and saw them given their titles, I screamed, I cried and tried to jump for joy,” Filippone said. “They all know me as ‘Momma D’.”
She was thrilled to get to know the contestants and sees them as great role models for young girls. Her granddaughter, Kaydem, looks up to them and Filippone said it makes her comfortable knowing that we have young women like them representing our communities and province.