Not having a father in her life and worrying about her mother’s struggle to support the family led to sudden bouts of depression and suicidal thoughts at some points in Jade McLeod’s young life.
“Life was not easy growing up and sometimes I felt not wanted,” admits the 23-year-old Brampton resident. “It was always a challenge for my mom and I worry a lot about things like that. I am, however, a fighter and I have managed to emerge from those dark periods in my life.”
Graduating from St. Joan of Arc Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga, McLeod completed a two-year Creative Advertising diploma program at Seneca College and George Brown’s one-year pre-health science program that provides students with a basic understanding of social sciences and human relations.
Before entering university in September to pursue an undergraduate degree in nursing, McLeod is using the Miss Universe Canada pageant as a platform to network and build confidence. She is among 60 candidates in the 62nd annual event to be held on May 23 and 25 at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. The top 20 contestants will be selected on May 23 to advance to the final the next day.
“This is just something that I am doing for myself,” said McLeod, who was a participant in the 2010 Miss Global International Pageant in Jamaica. “You get to meet interesting people, learn new things and also support charitable causes.”
This year’s contestants are raising awareness and funds for Operation Smile and SOS Children’s Village.
Operation Smile is a medical charity that provides a cleft lip and palate repair surgeries to children worldwide and SOS Children’s Village is an independent non-governmental international development organization that is working to meet the needs and protect the interest and rights of children since 1949.
“These are great causes and I am just happy to be given an opportunity to help support them,” said McLeod.
Fans can also vote for their favourite delegate four times per day per IP address. The delegate with the highest number of votes between April 15 and May 23 will win the People’s Choice Award and a spot among the top 20 semi-finalists.
Voting can be conducted at www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/vote-for-your-favorite/
BY RON FANFAIR