Surrey resident Stephanie Solem is competing in the Mrs. BC pageant this Canada Day weekend. (Submitted photo)

Surrey pageant hopeful aims to inspire others with anxiety

Sex abuse survivor Stephanie Solem is competing in the Mrs. BC pageant in Langley this Canada Day weekend

For Stephanie Solem, entering the Mrs. BC pageant is an opportunity to inspire others who struggle with anxiety and push past her own challenges in life.

This Canada Day weekend, the Surrey resident will take a second shot at winning the pageant.

“I entered Miss BC when I was younger and unfortunately I had to drop out because my mom was diagnosed with cancer,” said Solem. “So this is kind of like a second chance for me, and when I got accepted I was over the moon.”

It’s particularly meaningful since the charity pageant involves raising funds for Cops for Cancer, and supporting children who have the disease.

“I know how much it can change your life,” she said of the disease that took her mother’s life. “Honestly I’ve always had a drive to make a difference. To live a meaningful life. Losing my mom at such a young age I learned how short life can be. I want to make a difference while I’m here.”

See also: Langley’s Natasha Chadney competes for Miss BC title

See also: It’s all about the journey for Delta’s pageant hopefuls

See also: Surrey pageant contestant’s goal is to give back

The pageant is also an opportunity for Solem to face her anxiety, which she says is the result of childhood sexual abuse.

“I have suffered from anxiety most of my life and it does stem from the abuse I suffered when I was a child,” said Solem. “But I’m a survivor.”

Talking about it helps, she added.

“The reason I shared that about myself in my biography was to raise awareness and inspire other women who have been abused,” said Solem. “It doesn’t encompass who you are, and there’s no need to bottle it up.”

But she acknowledged the anxiety she battles with makes it hard to put herself out there.

“Being a part of this pageant I really had to push myself,” she said, “and become comfortable in situations I normally wouldn’t be.”

In addition to inspiring others who have anxiety and are overcoming abuse, she hopes to inspire her two children, ages two and five.

“I just want them to see it’s important to have a voice and be active in shaping the future,” Solem said, “and what you can do if you put your mind to it.”

Solem, now a wife and stay-at-home mom, was a trained nurse for five years before having children.

She herself grew up with foster parents, and 10 siblings, in Tsawwassen.

“It was absolutely a wonderful experience,” she recalled. “I learned so much from my parents and the children in my life. To love unconditionally. I really learned compassion.”

Solem said she’s grateful for her main sponsor, Lucy Clothing in Langley, which is providing her pageant attire.

“They have clothing for the curvy plus-size woman, which I am and proud to be,” she said.

The Miss, Miss Teen, Jr. Miss and Mrs. BC Pageant will run from June 30 to July 2 in Fort Langley, with the pageant finale set for 6:30 p.m. at the Chief Sepass Theatre (9096 Trattle St., Langley) on July 2.

Visit missbc.ca for more information and to see a complete list of contestants across the province.



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Amy on Twitter

Just Posted

Threatened species found nesting at Teck Trail

Canadian data collected from 1968 to 2005 show an 80 per cent decline of the Common Nighthawk

Pitching proportional representation

Advocates say about half of population is aware of referendum

Genesis of a Trail mural

Toews is planning to begin painting the mural next week

RAM Camp opens next week, all musicians welcome

You don’t have to be accomplished to go to the two-day camp, organizers say

Lost sheep returned to the fold — stolen sculpture reappears

The Castlegar Sculpturewalk sculpture was reported missing Tuesday.

VIDEO: Messages of hope, encouragement line bars of B.C. bridge

WARNING: This story contains references to suicide and may not be appropriate for all audiences.

First court date for B.C. man accused of murdering Belgian tourist

Family and friends of Sean McKenzie, 27, filled the gallery for brief court appearance in Chilliwack

Pot, cash, mansions: Judge divvies up illegal estate of divorcing B.C. couple

The Smiths ran a multi-million marijuana operation that spanned three counties

Around the BCHL: Nanaimo Clippers acquire defenceman from Langley Rivermen

Around the BCHL is a look at goings on around the BCHL and the junior A world.

B.C. co-op develops tech to help prevent ODs, especially for alone users

Brave Technology has been awarded $200,000 in the Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge

Recent jump in U.S. butter imports? All smooth, says Canadian dairy farmers

U.S. farmers recently enjoyed extra access to the Canadian market

Potential replacements for Phoenix pay system to start testing soon: Brison

Testing of prototypes to replace troubled federal pay system will begin within weeks

Nanaimo’s Tilray Inc. briefly the world’s largest cannabis company

The company, only listed in the US, nearly reached $300 in afternoon trading on Wednesday

Woman who helped kidnap Elizabeth Smart released from prison

Smart was 14 years old when she was snatched from her Salt Lake City home in 2002 by street preacher Brian David Mitchell

Most Read