Chronic Illness · Epilepsy · Epilepsy Awareness · Health · Invisible Illness · Mental Health · Uncategorized · Wellness

“A Royal Girl Talk” IGTV with Warrior Footprints

On Thursday 14 January 2021 I had the privilege of chatting with Ashley Flowers the founder of Warrior Footprints, an epilepsy nonprofit based in the USA. We had a great hour sharing our stories and talking about anything and everything- epilepsy related or not 😊

You can find me on Instagram @ms.janice_macgregor and Warrior Footprints is on Instagram @WarriorFootprints

Here’s a link to Warrior Footprints’ IGTV where you can watch the entire video:

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CKDGiUSFVL_/?igshid=qeq53ldw32hs

#Repost @warriorfootprints
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Tonight was such a blast! Thank you @ms.janice_macgregor for joining me 😊. You are truly one of a kind! Make sure to catch the full live on @warriorfootprints IGTV 😊

Bullying · Health · Mental Health · Relationships · Self Acceptance · Uncategorized · Wellness

Jasmine Pearce (Miss Teen Global Darling) on Her Journey with Anxiety and Bullying- Skype interview

I first met Jasmine Pearce through the Miss Regal World pageant system. Jasmine lives in England and was in the Miss Teen division and made it all the way to the finals of Miss Teen Regal World! Since then she has competed in a different pageant… and won Miss Teen Global Darling!!! 👑

Jasmine wanted to do this interview to raise awareness about mental health. In this interview we discuss her journey with anxiety and panic attacks and the bullying that exacerbated them.

… And we spent a lot of time at the end laughing and giggling 😁 😍 😊.

It seems that the video won’t upload on my blog but you can view it on YouTube. Here’s the link to the interview: Mental Health, Anxiety, and Bullying.

COVID-19 · Health · Mental Health · Quarantine · Relationships · Self Acceptance · Self Improvement · Uncategorized

Quarantine Convo’s

Some of you reading this might not believe this right now and may just chalk my words up to the sad element of the country music I’m listening to as I write this (yes, I’m listening to classic country at 2:30am). The truth is that this is a topic I’ve been thinking about for a few months… besides, I’m constantly listening to country music so I’m somewhat immune to the sadness in country songs 😊

So, about these “Quarantine Convo’s”… I hate to say this but more often than not these conversations are distractions and not real relationships. I’ve seen people fall in love with their neighbours or with online matches. But few people stop and think “Would I feel this way about this person if life was ‘normal’?” The answer in these cases is more than likely a hard pass.

With quarantine and lockdowns due to COVID-19 people are being forced out of their normal lifestyles. For some people that means that they are ending long-term relationships. For other people that means starting relationships they would normally never consider.

I think it’s important to remember that these “relationships” are likely not going to last once people’s lives are back to normal. With Coronavirus putting us in these situations that are abnormal to humans, people are reaching for whatever human interactions they can find. IMO, that means that people are reaching out to people who they would normally not be interested in.

I’m not judging or looking down on anyone- we all have the right to live our lives as we please. But I think it’s important to realize that these “quarantine conversations” are just a distraction. Under normal circumstances this would be considered a distraction from the boredom between relationships. People need a distraction from feeling imprisoned in their homes so they are reaching out to neighbours or online relationships. It’s important to stop and think about whether one would have been interested in this “relationship” under normal circumstances.

It seems that more often than not one (or both) party is in this “relationship” simply to fulfill the normal human desire for contact with other humans. Normally this would be considered having a distraction from mundane day-to-day life but considering how online dating and relationships have proliferated during quarantine/lockdown/social distancing it seems that people are looking for extreme distractions. That is, rather than just seeing these “relationships” as stopgaps they are seeing them as something more than that and ascribing meaning to them.

I guess what I’m saying is to just guard your heart and be smart. Don’t fall in love with someone you normally wouldn’t be interested in just because that person is convenient and pays attention to you. When things get back to normal will this person still invest their time and energy in you? Before starting a relationship ask yourself if you would be interested in this person if you weren’t locked in close proximity.

And for goodness sake, do not settle for less than your worth just because you’re lonely or bored. There will be a COVID-19 vaccine soon enough and things will be back to normal. If you’re not really in to the person you suddenly find yourself attracted to, rather than investing your time and energy in to that person spend that time investing in yourself. Read books that expand your knowledge in to areas that you’re not familiar with. Learn about historical events. Explore other perspectives in to issues that you have already made up your mind on. Learn a new skill. Take up knitting or crocheting. (And don’t mock either of those- knitting is one of my favourite hobbies!) With winter rapidly approaching knitting blankets or mittens for homeless people would be a better investment of your time and energy than spending those resources in a man or woman who wouldn’t typically be your person of choice.

Yes- you are just human and have a need for human companionship and interactions. Use this time to connect with friends and family via video calls. Use it to invest in your community by helping the less fortunate, especially as winter approaches. Do things that are spiritually, mentally, and emotionally fulfilling. If you’re meant to be with a person, that person will still be around even after quarantine/lockdown is over.

There’s no rush to get in to a relationship and a pandemic is no reason to mess up your personal life. Don’t settle. Focus on things that improve YOU for your own sake- you’re the person you’ll be spending the rest of your life with! Check out musicians you’d normally never consider. Between books, podcasts, and calls with your friends and family there really is no time left over for either being someone else’s distraction or for using someone as your distraction. This is the time to be focussing on growing yourself and helping your community.

The world is on fire- don’t do anything that will add to the negativity in your personal life.

I mean this with your best interest at heart. Janice 🙂

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