Pleasant pageantries
Yellowknifers enjoying week in Toronto

Anne-Marie Jennings
Northern News Services

NNSL (Aug 21/98) - Spending a week in Toronto has been fast-paced and exciting for Nicole Gagnon and Kim Rossignol.

The two Yellowknifers are in the big city this week to participate in the Miss Teen Canada and Miss Canada International pageants respectively.

When Gagnon left for Toronto last week she said she was not nervous, but definitely excited.

And now she is dealing with another emotion -- the drive to win.

"I get nervous when something means a lot to me," she says. "I really want to win this."

Gagnon has already undergone the required fitness and scholastic tests which are all part of the lead-up to the actual pageant. She says one test was much easier than she had expected.

"The scholastic test was easy," she says. "But I guess that because there are contestants here who are only 14 and are just about to go into Grade 9, the test has to be fair for everyone."

While she says she's not all that nervous, Gagnon admits that she has felt the pressure of the event over the past few days.

"There is a lot of pressure, but it's no big deal. I'm more excited than anything else."

For Rossignol, who was considerably more nervous than Gagnon on the eve of their departure, the week in Toronto has gone well.

"It's been a pretty good week," she says. "We've been on a tight schedule this week and there hasn't been a lot of time for sleep."

"I was a little run down at the beginning of the week, but I'm feeling much better now."

The pageant organizers are also keeping the contestants on the alert for impromptu events giving the contestants sometimes less than 15 minutes to be ready to go.

"We have a general idea of what's going on, but we don't know when things are going to take place."

As Rossignol spoke to Yellowknifer from her hotel room in Toronto, she was interrupted with the news that she had 15 minutes to prepare for their next outing.

Many of the events already planned have been to allow the contestants to meet each other, as well as to interact with pageant judges and officials.

Gagnon feels her chances in the Miss Teen Canada pageant are good, with only six other contestants from across the country.

"One of the things the judges are looking for is how you talk to people," Gagnon says. "I'm not shy and I will tell people what I think, which is something they like to see."

In Rossignol's competition, there are 29 contestants competing for the title of Miss Canada International.

Both the Miss Teen Canada and Miss Canada International pageants are scheduled to take place this evening in Toronto.