May 28th, 2024

City woman wins Miss World Canada crown


By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman on October 12, 2021.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Jaimie Yvonne VanderBerg recently won the title of Miss World Canada 2021.

Lethbridge was recently represented on the international stage by Jaime Yvonne VandenBerg, who won the title of Miss World Canada 2021 on Sunday, Oct. 3 in Vaughn, Ontario at the Richmond Center for Performing Arts.
VandenBerg has been competing in pageants for about eight years. She held the title of Miss International Canada 2020 and Miss Earth Canada 2018.
VandenBerg explained that Miss World Canada has a “beauty with a purpose” component – an opportunity for each delegate to create a campaign for a cause or something to bring awareness to, which they can pursue if they win the title.
This year, the winner of that component of the pageant was Aleria Mackay, who created a Six Nations suicide prevention support group that has been running for years.
VandenBerg submitted a project called “Canadian Herstory,” a non-profit that she started here in Lethbridge and originally began on TikTok as a way to infiltrate the algorithm of young viewers with the help of her 12-year-old sister.
“What we did was, her and I created a TikTok account together called Canadian Herstory, where we do your classic tacky little dance, but then we would point at little information bubbles and it would be something like Viola Desmond and a couple of points about what she did like combatting racial segregation or how she was the first woman to stand alone on a Canadian bank note,” explained VandenBerg.
From there it grew into a project where now she is working on building a Canadian women’s encyclopedia. This idea came from the fact that when researching women to be futured on her TikTok, she found it difficult to find information that was consolidated in one place.
“While there is the Canadian encyclopedia and things like that, they don’t always have adequate representation of women, nonetheless women of colour,” said VandenBerg.
VandenBerg said that her goal in her year as Miss World Canada is to offer Canadian women’s history lectures in every province of Canada, even if it is on Zoom due to restrictions within schools.
She recently offered a lecture for Grade 7 and Grade 9 students at St. Joseph School in Coaldale, where she talked about gender equality. She featured Viola Desmond, Mary Two-Axe Earley and Hide Hyodo Shimizu and spoke about their role in Canadian history.
“Unfortunately too often they are left out of our history books and people don’t really get an accurate representation of the role that women have held in Canadian history,” added VandenBerg.
VandenBerg has been very passionate about gender equality for many reasons, but two incidents in the last few years pushed her in the direction of Canadian Herstory.
“I represented Canada in an international pageant in 2018 called Miss Earth. It was not the experience I had anticipated. Unfortunately, one of the sponsors was showing up at my hotel room and I was getting sexually harassed,” explained VandenBerg.
VandenBerg said that the best way to represent her country and to gain the respect she deserves, she needed to walk away from the contest. So, she did it in a very public way, in the middle of a competition.
The other incident happened earlier this year while travelling through South America, where she was the victim of gun violence. Fortunately, she was not hurt, and the locals helped her survive the incident by apprehending her aggressor while she fled.
“Between everything that’s kind of happened in the past couple of years makes me wonder you know, if there were more women in governance or if women were portrayed in a greater sense of being strong rather than being weak, it started to make me think like how could we change that narrative, like how can we change the narrative of women’s being weak and I think if women were more inclusive in our history and shown in powerful roles that might be able to change that idea from the root” said VandenBerg.

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