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Interview with Janice MacGregor – Miss Regal World Delegate and International Ms Canada 2018

Thanks to the beautiful and inspiring Charlotte, Ms Diamond South Yorkshire 2020, for this interview. I appreciate you valuing my opinions and making time for this. I’m so thrilled to have you as a Sister Queen ❤

Pageant Lockdown Blog by Ms Diamond South Yorkshire

Firstly thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions about your pageant journey. It’s lovely getting to know fellow pageant queens and more about the systems that they represent.

Can you introduce yourself ?

Name: Janice MacGregor

Title:

Miss Regal World Delegate
International Ms Canada 2018

Age: Sorry, there was a glitch with my phone. I didn’t hear that. 😂🤣

What made you enter pageants ?

Pageants seemed (and proved to be) a great way to meet and connect with women of different backgrounds and to spread my messages of epilepsy awareness, anti-racism, and civil rights.

Can you tell us about your journey so far including previous titles ?

  • Miss Saskatoon 2007
  • Miss Saskatchewan 2007
  • Miss Canada International 2008 (I didn’t place but I left with dear friends with whom I am still in contact.)
  • Miss World Canada (I didn’t place but I value the experience…

View original post 1,116 more words

beauty · Community · Culture · Entertainment · Pageants · Uncategorized

The Scary Truth Behind Pageant Security

It seems that many state/provincial-level pageants are taking place soon. And some international pageants will be taking place soon too. Some pageants such as the international Galaxy pageants and Miss America have been postponed as a preventive measure to keep COVID-19 from spreading between delegates who would then take it back home to their state/province or country (hello second wave).

COVID-19 causes some logistical problems for delegates. For example, if a pageant is being hosted somewhere that has a mandatory 14 day quarantine on new arrivals the delegates have to budget for an additional two weeks of food and accommodations. Or they may have to quarantine after returning home from the pageant.

But there is a problem with delegate security that has been around since long before the novel coronavirus hit and will be around long after COVID-19 is under control. Let me tell you the story of when I was a judge at an international pageant. This is more so applicable to delegates who are travelling to another country to compete rather than delegates who are travelling within their home country.

This is a firsthand account of what I saw a few years ago when I was a judge at an international pageant. This pageant had delegates fly in from different countries across the globe, from five different continents. Of course, in order to enter the country that hosted the pageant they needed a valid passport. One night I went to the director’s hotel room and I saw two stacks of passports on her nightstand. That immediately made me uneasy. I asked why she had the delegates’ passports and she said it was for security because she would be held responsible if anyone ran off and stayed in the host country illegally.

I’m going on the record as saying that I do NOT believe she had nefarious plans when she took the passports away from the international delegates. Even still though, the logic didn’t make sense. If someone has the resources and/or connections to abscond in another country they could have a fake passport and fake ID made. But even with no ill intentions it was wrong to confiscate passports from the delegates who were coming from outside of the country.

Pageant delegates: LISTEN TO ME! Never, ever hand over your passport to someone. Keep your passport on you or in your hotel vault. Never give anyone else possession of your passport. For your own safety, never let anyone have your ID especially when you are in another country. Also keep in mind that your passport is not yours to hand over to someone else. On both the inside cover and the first page of my passport it is clearly stated that my passport is the property of the Government of Canada. As such, I cannot just give it to someone else. But aside from my passport not being my personal property, it is incredibly unsafe to give someone your passport. Again, I do not believe this particular pageant director had bad intentions when she confiscated anyone’s passport but there are some people/groups who hold fake pageants used to attract beautiful women from around the world who they then force in to prostitution or human trafficking.

I’ve competed internationally and when I competed in the USA the pageant director did not ask for my passport. She knew I was coming from a different country and would have my passport with me but she did not ask to hold on to my passport during the days leading up to the pageant or from the pageant until the day I returned to Canada.

Ladies (and gentlemen competitors), I’m one of you regardless of if we compete in different pageant systems or different countries. I’m a Sash Sister, Sashionista, Sister Queen, Pageant Girl, or whatever term you want to use. I want you all to be safe while travelling. I want each of you to get home safely. I want you to have a safe and enjoyable pageant experience. Fundamental to all of this is your safety. Do not give your passport or any other government issued ID to anyone. Before you leave home make sure to confirm in writing that you will not be asked to hand over government issued ID to any pageant officials upon arriving in the host country. Print out that email so you can show it to any pageant staff who asks for possession of your ID.

We need to watch out for each other. Please listen to what I’m saying. I know from seeing it in person that some pageants will ask for possession of your passport upon your arrival. I also know from personal experience that some pageants do NOT ask for possession of your ID. Be smart and be alert if someone asks for your ID. It’s not your property to just hand over and it’s not safe to just hand it over. Even if the person asking for your ID doesn’t have ill intentions, your passport may not be safe. As I said, the stacks of passports were on the pageant director’s nightstand, not even in the room’s vault. Myself and other female pageant staff had access to the passports. Did hotel staff also have access to the passports when we were out at events and appearances in the weeks leading up to the pageant???

National pageant directors: You need to talk to your pageant delegate about her safety before she leaves home to compete in an international pageant. Parents: You need to talk to your children about safety while abroad. Even if your child is a legal adult she/he may not be aware of the dangers of travelling internationally for a pageant. You need to discuss rights and responsibilities before they leave. Delegates: Use your common sense.

I wish all of my fellow pageant delegates the best in their respective competitions. May you be the best version of yourself, make new friends, have fun, learn about different cultures, stay safe, and return home safe and healthy.

Confidence · Evening Gown Competition · Health · Mental Health · Modelling · Pageants · Uncategorized

Dealing with Pageant Nerves…

I recently did a pageant interview where I was asked how I deal with pageant nerves. I don’t experience pageant anxiety and my initial reaction was that after a decade and a half of runway modelling and theater experience I had been desensitized to on-stage nerves. But then I realized that although my theater and modelling experience may play a factor there is something deeper in play…

Competing in a pageant requires one to put her best self forward… and it’s best to be one’s authentic self or it will become obvious that one is fake. I can think of three examples IN THE PAST WEEK where people involved in different aspects of pageantry in different countries were exposed and had their pageant reputations damaged, if not permanently destroyed. All three cases made international headlines in the pageant community around the globe. I’m not going to discuss those cases now, I’m just using those as examples of how one’s true self always surfaces.

The truth about my lack of pageant anxiety is that I know that a pageant (and the preceding weeks spent interacting with the other delegates) is basically a job interview. Each pageant system is a company or brand and they will crown (aka hire) the person who best represents their company. If there is another delegate who better jives with a pageant’s brand then it would be in the pageant’s best interest to hire that delegate instead of me. And if I don’t fit in to their system’s mission it could be an unpleasant year for me as a titleholder as I try to live a life that is true to myself while trying to fit in to what they want me to be.

I know that not winning a pageant does not mean that I’m not smart, articulate, personable, and compassionate. It just means that I’m not suitable to represent this particular pageant system. There will aways be another pageant system that fits with my values that I can compete in in the future.

I walk in to every pageant knowing that I will not be the tallest girl in the room. I know that I will not be the one with the most symmetrical features. I’m cool with that. I can’t change my height and I certainly will not have surgery to make my facial features or body more symmetrical. (Note: If someone else wants surgical enhancement I’m not judging them. But with my body I’m making the decision to not undergo elective surgery). If a pageant is being based solely on physical beauty that is not a pageant I want to be associated with anyway. Besides, if I won that kind of pageant my message to pageant fans would not mesh with that pageant’s mission/brand so we’d be at odds in this employee/employer relationship.

So why do I not have pageant anxiety: I’m confident in who I am and if I do not win that does not mean that there is something wrong with me. It just means that I am not the best selection for that pageant’s mission statement. That does not speak to my worth as a human, nor does it speak negatively about the pageant. It’s like any successful romantic relationship: Both sides must be compatible and if they are not compatible that doesn’t mean that either side is “wrong” or needs to change. Whining about how I was “robbed” of a pageant title without evidence of there being a bias against me or bias towards another delegate is like whining about an opera company not hiring me when I have no opera training or experience. There were two situations in the past (2009 and 2016) where a pageant organization was biased against me because I have epilepsy. One day I may write about that my experiences with that pageant system. For now suffice it to say that they thought that having epilepsy made me inadequate since I “would just go falling down everywhere” at the international pageant. I’m not sure what they think epilepsy is but their discrimination against me was unfounded and based in ignorance. (PLEASE NOTE THAT I AM **NOT** TALKING ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL MS PAGEANT. The International Ms Pageant system fully embraced me knowing full well that I have epilepsy. They did not treat me with kid gloves or treat me like I was a freak or of lower status than the other delegates. I fully support the International Ms Pageant because of the way they treated me like everyone else while knowing that I have epilepsy.) I am not talking about Miss Dream Girl which I won less than a year ago. The director knows my situation and the judges’ decision was based solely on judgment criteria without knowing that I have epilepsy. Miss Regal World has also welcomed me with open arms even though a Google search of my name will result in hits about epilepsy awareness. PLEASE DO NOT SEND HATE MAIL TO INTERNATIONAL MS, MISS DREAM GIRL, OR MISS REGAL WORLD. These three are the ones who are capable of seeing past a neurological condition and seeing that I am an intelligent and capable woman. The Miss Canada International system did not know I had epilepsy when I competed in 2007 but I am still in contact with the director and I know that she would not have held epilepsy against me.

The only pageants I would enter now are pageant systems that echo and support my values: Civil rights, anti-racism, epilepsy awareness, multiculturalism, and access to education for girls and women.

The tl;dr is that I don’t have pageant nerves because I know that I go out there as who I really am, not as a fake version of myself. If that isn’t something that fits with a pageant system’s mission that’s cool. I’m just there to be my authentic self, nothing less and nothing fake. Not winning does not mean anything bad about me or about the pageant system.

Of course there are nerves about tripping on stage. I get around those nerves by practicing in my hotel during pageant week. And tripping on stage is always bigger in our heads than in real life. I stumbled on-stage in the parade of candidates in International Ms 2019 but when I watched the video a few months later it wasn’t even noticeable. Unless you face plant, tripping isn’t as big a deal as it seems in your mind. And you can avoid face planting by practicing your walk in your gown and high heels, right? Relatively few people actually have a noticeable misstep on stage and with practice walking and posing in your gown and heels you can avoid those missteps. In short, with practice you’ll be good to go AS LONG AS YOU ARE COMFORTABLE BEING YOURSELF. That doesn’t mean you won’t evolve over time, it just means being comfortable with who you are at the time of your pageant. I know that I was comfortable being authentic Janice when I competed in Miss World Canada 2008 but if I met that person now that I am xx-years-old I probably wouldn’t want to be friends with “2008 Janice”. But as I evolved as a person that’s how I presented myself in my pageant paperwork, in the interview, and on stage. Who I am right now is the best version of myself and I can’t wait to see how I evolve as a person and as life presents me with new opportunities to grow and learn!

beauty · Clothing · Confidence · Entertainment · Evening Gown Competition · Mental Health · Recycle · Reuse · Uncategorized · Upcycle

Do You Wear the Dress or Does the Dress Wear You???

With COVID-19 turning our world upside down, several pageant directors have made the responsible decision to either cancel their local and provincial/state level pageants or postpone them to a later date. As a result, a lot of pageant girls are selling their BRAND NEW pageant dresses. This is because by the time their new pageant date comes around the dress will be “last season”.

But does the dress really matter? Of course the length and fit matter. A pageant dress should be altered to fit the wearer like a glove. It should not be baggy or tight. It should also be the appropriate length- not too long, not too short.

I personally don’t think that the dress’ brand name or how old it is makes or breaks the Evening Gown Competition. The delegate should be the focus, with the dress being secondary. Let me give you an example: In 2018 I competed in the International Ms Pageant. International Ms is the top ranked pageant in the Ms division according to The Pageant Planet. I wore a dress which I had purchased in 2009 that was from the 2008 collection of a now defunct bridal fashion line. It was not my first time wearing that dress and I won the Best in Evening Gown Award! There were other delegates who were wearing brand new dresses, dresses that were way more expensive, and custom made dresses. But my dress made me feel happy and that happiness radiated on stage. The judges picked up on that.

Whether it’s in day-to-day life or on the pageant stage, clothes do NOT make the woman. How you feel and carry yourself is what matters. I still have my 2008 dress and I can’t wait to wear it again!!! Here are some photos of other times I’ve worn it.

2010. Holding the train.
2015. The train was likely down but is not visible in this photo.
2018. I wore the train down for the Evening Gown Competition at the International Ms Pageant.
2018. I had the train in a bustle for the awards part of the pageant.
2018. If I had known that I would win Best in Evening Gown I would have left the train down in all it’s satin and sequined lace glory.

And that, my friends, is the tale of a ten year old dress helping me snag the Best in Evening Gown award at a prestigious international pageant. That dress was literally twenty fashion seasons old! Clothes don’t matter. How you feel and how you carry yourself are what really matters. Sell your dresses and buy new ones later if you want, but make sure you’re always in the state of mind where you can rock anything regardless of what the people around you are wearing. xo

Uncategorized

Hey, Parents: Y’all Still Mocking Trudeau?

Well this post is going to make me Public Enemy #1…

Most Canadians know that Prime Minister Trudeau was a drama teacher. A lot don’t care to look in to his teaching career any further than that. The Huffington Post reports that Trudeau also taught math, French, and humanities. But even without knowing that his scope expanded beyond drama, it never made sense to me that he’s job shamed for having been a drama teacher. Why denigrate people who make an honest living??? As long as it’s an honest job, it’s worthy of respect regardless of how much or how little prestige comes with the position.

Now that schools are closed due to COVID-19 it’s surprising how many parents are saying that they are homeschooling. Ummm, no. You are just going through a lesson plan that a real teacher came up with. Unless you developed the lesson plan you are not homeschooling. To simplify: If I sing Purple Rain I can’t pass it off as “my” song, it would just be Purple Rain covered by Janice MacGregor. If you go through a lesson plan that someone else came up with you are not homeschooling, you are going through someone else’s work. And after life gets back to normal, if you’re thinking “I handled homeschooling during COVID-19” try coming up with a lesson plan the way that your kid’s real teacher does. Teaching isn’t that easy, is it? Are you still mocking teachers?

As countless parents drone on about the difficulties of “homeschooling” I hope they become more appreciative of real teachers and how much work, time, and energy they put in to being a teacher for a class of 20+ students. And hopefully people will be less likely to job shame teachers regardless of which subject they teach.

Entertainment · Unpopular Opinion

Unpopular Opinion Game

I saw this circulating and decided to give it a try. The point is to share ten things you dislike that everyone else seems to like. These are the ten things I dislike:

1. Tik Tok

2. Facebook

3. “Reality” TV

4. Entertainment shows (ETalk, Entertainment Tonight, TMZ, etc.)

5. Trying on clothes when shopping. (My objective is to get in and out as quickly as possible.)

6. Guacamole

7. Shows that exploit people for ratings under the guise of helping them (Dr. Phil, Judge Judy, etc.)

8. Using the bus on a pub crawl. It’s fun at the beginning of the night but I’d rather cab with friends than be stuck on a bus with a bunch of drunk people who I don’t know.

9(a). Misuse of the word “literally” and (b). neglect of the Oxford comma

10. Football (CFL and NFL). This is a very unpopular opinion where I live- please don’t break in and kill me while I sleep!!!

Media

Social Media… the Modern World’s Go-To for News

First, let’s start off by saying that this is NOT a political post. It’s an apolitical post about fact checking using examples involving politicians.

I saw the following post on Facebook when a friend shared it so I went to the original post and that is where I got this screenshot. I cropped out the comments because I don’t want to promote the negativity that was coming from both sides. I decided not to blur the name or profile pic of the original author because he chose to make this is a public post that’s visible to the entire world. That said, please do not look him up and hate on him if you disagree with him. He’s got the right to his opinions and the right to share them in a civilized manner. He’s done nothing wrong.

The post starts off with the original author imploring us to look at this photo of President Donald Trump and “imagine the weight he must be feeling right now” (emphasis added by current author). Although the original author does not specify what is meant by “right now” given that it was posted on 30 March 2020 and references “what we’re currently experiencing” it is reasonable to assume he is talking about the COVID-19 pandemic. But in the end it doesn’t matter what issue he’s talking about because this photo was not taken during “what we’re currently experiencing.”

I ran a reverse image search last night and it turns out that this photo was taken on 14 November 2019. You may remember that the impeachment inquiry that eventually lead to Trump’s impeachment was going on at that time. The downtrodden look is not surprising. But this photo has nothing to do with current events so why share it now???

I saw another post by someone else on 2 April 2020 about Prime Minister Trudeau getting a pay raise on April 1st despite all that is going on with COVID-19. I saw that post on a social media page that tends to be biased so I decided to fact check that claim. Yes, Justin Trudeau got a pay raise on April 1st… in his capacity of Member of Parliament representing the riding of Rideau. In fact, EVERY SINGLE MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT GOT A RAISE ON THAT DAY. Legislation implemented in 2005 entitles MP’s and Senators to a pay raise on April 1st every year. The post neglected to mention that every other MP also got the exact same pay raise as Trudeau and that this wasn’t implemented during a global crisis. And if it’s any consolation to naysayers the leaders of our major parties- Trudeau (Liberal), Scheer (Conservative), and Singh (NDP)- have all volunteered to donate their bonus to charity this year.

What I’m trying to say is that if you read something in the news that vilifies a person or position you dislike and praises a person or position you support do a simple fact check. It may be too good to be true. Check the date that it was posted. Check for the name and contact info of the author and his/her editor. Always use critical thinking and common sense. And just because you saw it on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true! If posting something online makes it reality then Elvis is alive and we’re getting married in Hawaii! I said it online so it must be true, right 🤔

Entertainment

Joe Exotic is Dead!…

… dead to me. Can he be resuscitated? That’s up to him.

Based on the number of memes and how much “Joe Exotic” has been trending on Google, I’m guessing that I’m the only person on the planet who hasn’t seen the show Tiger King. At first I wasn’t going to watch it because the most interesting part of it seemed to be Joe’s outfits. I’m not being sarcastic- I like his shirts! But I don’t like his shirts enough to invest my time in watching his show.

I was planning on watching the show if I found the time. Fortunately for me, information about Joe Exotic surfaced before I invested my time in him and his show. Video footage has surfaced indicating that Joe is racist and uses the n-word. Tiger King director Rebecca Chaiklin is quoted as saying “Joe is a racist, I would say categorically” and that he said some things during filming that were “unsettling”. Chaiklin said that Joe’s racist trait and language was cut from the show because it wasn’t relevant to the plot. (https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/netflix-tiger-king-director-joe-exotic-racist-carole-baskin-a9441801.html)

His racism may not be relevant to the show, but it does impact whether some people would choose to watch the show. I’ve decided not to watch the show because I don’t want to support him in any way. This decision is not extreme- I imagine that most people reading this would not support a new project by Bill Cosby, Jussie Smollett, or Harvey Weinstein if any of them were ever given Hollywood redemption. Their personal characteristics do not impact their ability or talent, but the way their characteristics present in their behavior towards others does influence whether we choose to support them.

That’s why I’m glad I was too busy to watch Tiger King and why I do not intend to watch Tiger King. That said, I don’t subscribe to cancel culture so if Joe gives an HONEST AND GENUINE apology and demonstrates that he has changed his mentality towards other people groups I might be open to watching a future iteration of the show. But because his racist attitude was demonstrated during filming of the current Netflix show (but skillfully edited out) I will not watch Tiger King.

Uncategorized

#HumboldtStrong

Two years later and I still don’t have the words to describe this. We still remember all 16 of the victims, the 13 survivors, and the families of all involved. I can’t imagine what it feels like to be the parent or billet of any of the players or the spouse/partner or child of any of the staff who died. My thoughts are with the first responders, police officers, doctors, and nurses who dealt with the injured and the casualties. Your mental health is in my prayers.

Living in a town of 600 people where we lost one of our own in this crash, this struck close to home. There have been very few days in the last two years where I haven’t thought about the boys, men, and woman who died in this crash and their families as well as the survivors and their families. My heart goes out to the truck driver who is responsible for this accident. He did not wake up that morning and think “I’m going to destroy as many lives as possible today.” One mistake permanently ruined his life too as he has to live the rest of his life with this on his conscience.

This day and the memory of those who died will never be forgotten in the hockey world, in Saskatchewan, or in Canada. My love to all effected by the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

beauty · Culture · Health · Heritage · Modelling · Self Acceptance

Loving a nose that isn’t “beautiful”… An actress/model’s perspective.

When I was younger there were so many times I desperately wanted a rhinoplasty (nose job). I was mocked because of the bump in the bridge of my nose and the bulbous tip. A nose job was definitely on my To Do List. Now that I’m older I’m so damn proud of this nose! This nose is the product of generations of my ancestors who I never had the privilege of meeting. This is the nose of people who were taken from their homeland and used as indentured labourers in a new country. They were brought from India to the Caribbean and had to earn their freedom. If they passed away before paying off the cost of their passage, their children had to work of the cost of the trans-Atlantic trip. My ancestors were the poorest of the poor in India and wanted to make a better life for themselves in the Caribbean. They were oppressed in the new country too. YET THEY PREVAILED. And I have the privilege of wearing the nose that they wore!

Ultimately every natural aspect of one’s appearance is the product of one’s ancestors. Whether it’s skin color, hair color, hair texture, freckles, height, or WHATEVER else, there is a story behind it. If you’re of Irish lineage and you have freckles that you don’t like, think of your ancestors who survived the Potato Famine and passed their freckles on through their descendants; you have the privilege of wearing their freckles! Whatever the physical trait is that you don’t like, there is an ancestor who had that trait and that person has a story that you might want to brag about. Hate your hair? What about that man or woman in your family tree who started a small business and provided for his/her family while wearing that same hair! Hate your height (or lack of height)? What about that person a few generations ago who served in World War II and despite his height (or lack of height) he contributed to The Allies winning! Whatever your physical trait is that you’re struggling to accept, there is an individual or a people group that had that trait and they were pretty darn awesome. Think of their awesomeness and embrace their physical uniqueness. It’s cool that YOU have the physical evidence of being linked to that person in the family tree or in world history!


This nose may not be the standard of beauty in the Western World or even in India but it is the nose of my ancestors and I am proud to wear it every day.

Thanks to Sanja (StudiO 2:22) for capturing my profile in this pic.

Photo by Sanja Jovic Filipovic (Studi0 2:22)