Although she didn’t make top 20, Miss Teen Ponoka County, Ann-Marie Rogers-Cooper, couldn’t imagine loving her experience at the Miss Teen Canada World pageant any more than she already does.
“It was definitely worth it. We did so many things it didn’t matter. By the third day all the girls were guessing which girls would win. The girl everybody thought would win, won,” said Rogers-Cooper.
Rogers-Cooper began her Toronto experience July 13 and got back home July 24. “It was amazing, we did such a whirlwind of stuff.”
The first day included photo and video shoots — one of the portions of the trip Rogers-Cooper didn’t like.
“I do not like watching myself on video,” she stated. She also didn’t like the turbulent flight across the country.
Rogers-Cooper and the 64 other contestants — 14 from Alberta — also toured the CN Tower, visited Breakfast Television and Much Music Live.
For their appearance on Breakfast Television the girls had to be ready by 4 a.m. and up by 3 a.m. to do their hair. Taking in the time difference, they were up at 1 a.m. Mountain Standard Time; they weren’t back in bed until 11 p.m.
“There were some really long days,” said Rogers-Cooper.
The girls were fed three square meals a day but because of all their commitments those meals were pretty spaced out. “It was a lot of hoarding snacks in your purse. Whenever you left the hotel you had like three granola bars with you. By the end of the day we were covered in chocolate.”
Amid the television appearances the girls had several other difficult tasks to think about — one of those being shopping.
At a mall the contestants, each in her crown, attracted a mob of about 100 people and were accompanied by 14 security guards. “We were surrounded by security guards at all times. You couldn’t even go to the bathroom by yourself,” said Rogers-Cooper.
Not everyone at the mall appreciated the attention the girls got. “There was a boy on the upper level yelling things and calling names, not nice stuff,” she explained.
There were other bumps in the road on the way to the final pageant. While Rogers-Cooper wasn’t one of the unfortunate, a group of contestants got stuck in an elevator and had to pry the doors open.
Three hours before a four-hour talent gala, the power went out for half an hour. “All of us were worried we wouldn’t get our hair done in time and would just look like one big mess,” said Rogers-Cooper.
For the pageant the girls had to learn two dance numbers. “We did a lot of rehearsals,” said Rogers-Cooper.
“We had to learn how to walk properly, how to talk properly, how to stand properly and how to sit properly,” she added. If the girls didn’t get the stance right or if their shoes touched, the judges could dock marks.
During a rehearsal for the final pageant show, host Luke Bilyk, who plays Drew Torres on Degrassi, came to meet the girls and perform his own duties. Little did he know, while they were practicing Rogers-Cooper and the others weren’t allowed to talk to him.
“He finally stopped it and said, ‘Do you not know who I am or are you just ignoring me?’,” recounts Rogers-Cooper.
“He’s definitely a very genuine superstar. Some actors come across as very snooty, he wasn’t,” she added.
Rogers-Cooper was also able to meet last year’s Miss Teen Canada, Megha Sandhu. “I love her, she’s like the perfect person.”
Sandhu passed over her crown to this year’s winner, Jill Martin, which was already a day to celebrate as it was also her birthday.
“She was actually on my bus. She was one of my chaperones,’ said Rogers-Cooper.
While the pageant is over Rogers-Cooper keeps her title until February.
“I hope to get out and inspire. I want to put my title to work.”
Her platform focuses on self-esteem. “There’s always something you can excel at.”