A Greater Toronto Area teenager is one of just two Canadian contestants in this year’s Face of the Globe International Beauty pageant.
Cadarackque Public School Grade Seven student Simone Shanks joins 97 finalists from around the world in the annual event later this month in England and Paris.
The contestants will spend two days in London undergoing training sessions and rehearsals, orientation meetings, a fitness camp and attending a Halloween Fancy Dress Ball on October 21 before heading to Paris for the crowning ceremony four days later at Disneyland Park & Studios.
Shanks is competing in the junior (9-13) age category. The other groups are mini (5-8 years), teen (14-17) and adult (18 +).
A French Immersion student and teen model, Shanks is excited to represent Canada on the world stage.
“This is a great opportunity for me and I am really happy that I have been selected to go to this big event,” she said. “My parents are awesome and very supportive and I will go out there and do my best to make them and my country proud.”
Hazel Shanks said her daughter, who she will accompany to Europe, was recruited by the pageant organizers.
“She’s a commercial model with an agent and one of the Face of the Globe organizers saw her profile and contacted her agent,” said the proud mom, a former model who migrated from Trinidad & Tobago 25 years ago. “We were hesitant at first because of what pageants are perceived to be and Simone is still very young. The organizers were however persistent, just asking that we at least take a look at their package to see what their event was really about. We did and Simone was fascinated that the finalists reward was a trip to Europe where she has never been before. She felt this would give her exposure, especially the French leg because she has been in the French Immersion system since Grade One.
“This pageant does not require the contestants to appear in swim wear, do make-up and tanning and utilise hair pieces. That was really appealing to us as parents because we want our daughter to be able to represent herself no matter where she goes. By joining so many contestants from around the world, she will be able to establish new friendships and learn about other cultures.”
Following a written application and Skype interview, Shanks was selected to represent Canada in her age group which has 11 other contestants.
“Because the organizers do not have a national director in Canada, Simone was not required to appear at a live event to be judged,” said the contestant’s mom. “Everyone will however be judged equally at the grand finals in Paris.”
Outgoing, confident and friendly, Shanks has a passion for life and new adventures.
“I am so proud of my daughter,” said Gord Shanks. “I am a trucker who spends a lot of time on the road and much of that time is spent thinking of my wife and baby girl. I just well up sometimes when I think about how much she has grown and what she has accomplished. Just thinking about what the future holds for her makes me so excited.”
In addition to modelling, Shanks is a two-time triathlon participant and a competitive cheerleader with Dynasty Cheer Academy for the past eight years. She also recently appeared in a Meredith Shaw music video.
Shaw is a singer, model and radio personality with Boom 97.3.
The other Canadian Face of the Globe pageant contestant is George Brown College business & marketing student Kara-Lee Gore.
Funds raised through the pageant go the Rainbow Child Foundation that supports underprivileged children globally.
Interested individuals can support Shanks, who is required to pay her airfare to travel to Europe, and her chaperone costs through her online fundraising page at www.gofundme.com/simoneshanks.