Gloren Guelos was already considering entering her first pageant when her mom spotted a Miss BC advertisement.
The White Rock resident applied, and on Sunday she got the crown.
“It was very unexpected,” said the 21-year-old by phone Monday, a day after winning the pageant. “I’m still kind of in the clouds right now.”
The weekend pageant, held at the Chief Sepass Theatre in Fort Langley, featured 53 competitors in three categories. Guelos’ family cheered her on with posters in their hands.
“I’ve never seen their eyes sparkle in that way,” said Guelos, a nurse at two White Rock care homes.
“It was just unbelievable, because two years ago my father passed away. I think I made my entire family proud of how much I’ve grown in the last year and how much I’ve pushed myself to use my dad as an inspiration.”
Throughout the pageant weekend Guelos received training in leadership, empowerment and etiquette before Sunday’s finale. She impressed judges with a freestyle hip-hop dance routine, and showcased a costume that included a crown of cash in honour of her sponsor – an investment firm. She also modelled sportswear and an evening gown for the show.
Guelos also won the Black Press People’s Choice Award.
Pageant organizers encouraged participants to be themselves and to enjoy the experience.
“I was just being me,” said Guelos. “Since I was younger I’ve always wanted to make a difference in my community. That’s my main thing, and also to inspire my younger cousins.”
Guelos moved here from the Philippines as a 12-year-old. In Grade 9 at Semiahmoo Secondary she joined the school dance team and discovered her passion. Now she teaches hip-hop dance and is also a member of the Felions – the BC Lions dance team.
Having won the Miss BC crown, Guelos wants to get more involved in the community and inspire young women and girls, particularly those struggling to find time to pursue their passions.
“I fought for my passion which is dance,” she said. “I really want to help kids find this balance so that they can have the happiness that I have now.”