A Wetaskiwin teen is competing in the 2016 Miss Canada Globe Pageant as a finalist after having the opportunity slip through her grasp the past two years.
Monique Makokis-Lee was recruited to compete in the 2014 national pageant but due to a family affair was not able to attend. “I did regionals and I took Miss Teen Alberta.”
In 2015 she was working to the Alberta Indigenous Games, which ran at the same time, and could not compete.
Makokis-Lee’s mother introduced her to the world of modelling at seven years old and by 12 she had acquired a personal photographer. “When that started we started doing photoshoots yearly.”
Makokis-Lee is drawn to pageants and other similar events because of the personal growth they encourage. “I knew it wasn’t just based on physical features, it was more internal than external.”
“What interests me most is it comes from internal knowledge and what kind of charities you want to help,” she added.
Makokis-Lee will be competing against approximately 90 other girls during the August event and says because she knows how it will run and what to expect she has no nerves, just excitement; mainly due to the supportive environments she finds at the pageants. “It’s a competition but it doesn’t define who’s better.”
Half Aboriginal and half Vietnamese, Makokis-Lee has been raised by her grandparents since she was six months old and now in Grade 12 she is community minded, and is making aboriginal youth suicide education in Maskwacis her platform.
“I’ve been working to bring a suicide youth mentorship program to Maskwacis,” said Makokis-Lee.
She and five other youths from the community have created their own Nehiyaw committee to have aboriginal youth directly handled, but the committee has already faced a number of challenges.
Makokis-Lee says because she is not a member of any of the Maskwacis bands and grew up in Saddle Lake there are some in the community who do not want her trying to help.
The committee decided to remove themselves from affiliations with Maskwacis for the time being in order to continue moving forward. “My platform is going to be the challenges Aboriginal youth face in their communities. Just making it a safer environment for them.”