beauty · Canada · Clothing · Community · Cultural Appreciation · Culture · Fashionista · First Nations · Heritage · History · Indigenous · Media · Modelling · Pageants · Uncategorized · Western Canada

Toast… Honouring the Past. Inspiring the Future.

I’m so excited to share with you the interview I did with Toast! The article is part of a throwback series done by Bill Stevenson (who doubles as the photographer). You can find the entire article on the Toast website by clicking HERE.

This shoot was done in June 2020 (following Covid reopening guidelines). I did not win the Miss Regal World pageant until August 2020 but Bill proposed the idea of having a Miss Regal World interview as a standalone segment of the throwback issues. I was honoured to be a part of this and to share about my Guyanese heritage, what I’m up to now, and my plans for the future.

In this interview we touch on the societal perspective on pageants, racism, and the importance of personal authenticity and how that is the key to success.

The featured outfits in these photos were created by Indigenous designer Faye Thomas. I encourage you all to research the origin and significance of First Nations ribbon skirts. They are rich in history and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of such a relevant photo shoot.

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 · 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)