It didn’t take Tanya Sagar long to adjust to the world of pageants.
Finding out just weeks before the Miss Teenage Winnipeg competition that she would be competing in her first-ever pageant after her mother registered her, the Harbour View South resident prepared herself for the two-day competition, held at The Fairmont Winnipeg on May 10 and 11.
The 17-year-old The King’s School student will now move on to the Miss Teenage Canada competition in Toronto on July 26.
"My mom signed me up for this, and I was just going along with it until I won. It’s a great honour for this to happen," she said. "I couldn’t even walk in heels before this.
"The week before the pageant — I guess I’ll try on heels now."
The local competition included an interview, dance performance, as well as three turns on the runway including swimwear, evening gown, and cocktail dress rounds. The Grade 11 student said the competition searched for well-rounded individuals.
"They’re not only looking for beauty, but beauty and brains," Sagar said, adding the rubric included academic grades and community involvement.
Hammering home the latter point, Sagar volunteers at a variety of local institutions, including at Concordia Hospital as an ambassador in the front lobby, a visitor at Bethania Mennonite Personal Care Home, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and for the last two years, she has danced at Folklorama’s Indian Pavilion. She also volunteers at the Hindu Society of Manitoba temple in River Park South.
Each contestant also had to select a charity to support, and Sagar opted for CancerCare Manitoba, as her aunt battled back from a grave diagnosis with support from the organization.
"Doctors told her that she wouldn’t be able to live anymore, but she was really strong, her determination kept her going," Sagar said. "She got saved, and it’s been really close to my heart."
Already boasting a schedule jam-packed with athletic and academic pursuits, Sagar squeezed in appearances at the Winnipeg International Children’s Festival and Asian Heritage Month festivities.
"With exams, it’s been hard, but I’ve been having a good time," she said.
In Toronto, there will be a talent portion of the competition, and Sagar plans to show off some of her heritage, as she plans to show off a fusion of Bollywood and western dancing.
Sagar added part of the scoring on the national stage is based off the number of supporters she has through her three social media platforms on Facebook (Miss Teenage Winnipeg 2014-Tanya), Twitter (@tanyatia2), and Instagram (@tanya_sagar).
Looking ahead, Sagar is running for school vice-president, and later plans to attend university to become a radiologist.