Anna Serogyna, a Grade 11 student at Stelly’s Secondary, did not intend to get into pageants. She downloaded a scouting app, StarNow, to find modelling or dancing work, and ended up being recruited by two other girls.
“It was very spontaneous. It just kind of found me,” said Serogyna.
The process began in August 2016 with paperwork and preliminary interviews over the phone. She competed in Toronto this Aug 16-27, and is now Miss Teen Canada Globe.
Both parents were skeptical at first.
“I said no, like, ‘no way we’re going’ because she’s not so organized, and I did not believe she could go,” said her mother, Victoria.
Her father, Vasyl, said “the demands are quite high. Knowing Anna as we do, we were not really sure about her being ready for that.”
Her parents said Anna was persistent, which Vasyl said is “one of her personal strengths.”
She learned to walk in four-inch heels by walking the dog at night so no one would see her struggle, because “when I first put on heels my ankles were just wobbling like crazy. I probably couldn’t take five steps without falling on my face.”
She said the 10 days in Toronto were “really fast paced.” Participants were trained in Q&As, pageant walking, confidence, and hair and makeup, with breaks at Canada’s Wonderland or karaoke and dance nights.
Serogyna said she was worried it would be a cutthroat environment, but the girls bonded quickly.
“I was honestly expecting a lot of the girls to be cruel and mean, like trying to cut each other down to make themselves rise up, but that wasn’t the case at all. We became really, really close.”
Victoria went with her daughter to Toronto, but did not get to see her too often.
“I tried to support her, bring her desserts and food, talk to her,” said Victoria.
After a regional round, there was a swimwear walk, an evening gown walk, and an on-stage Q&A where contestants are asked about topical issues or who their role models are (Serogyna chose her mother). She did not have expectations.
“Every time they started eliminating people, I was going, ‘Oh, I’m going to be the next one, I’m going to be the next one to go.”
She said her jaw dropped when she found out she won.
“I was so frazzled, but in a good way.”
Vasyl said one part of Anna’s success were the dresses she wore, which were hand-made by her mother. Victoria used to own Victoria’s Stitch on Resthaven Drive.
The family has lived in Sidney for 12 years, moving to Canada in 2003 from Ukraine. They spent a year and a half on the Lower Mainland, then moved up to Sidney in 2005. She once had a paper route delivering the Peninsula News Review, and both parents work for BC Ferries.
As she placed in the top five, Anna will be sent to compete internationally, but there are no firm plans. She’s been reaching out to make appearances at community events, which is part of her contract. In September, she marshalled a Terry Fox run and spoke to kids. She said she is focused on environmental issues and supports Friends of the Earth Canada.