Alyssa Chiasson has done it all—a regional, national, and now an international pageant.
The 17-year-old Fort High student recently returned from the Caribbean island of Curaçao, where she represented Canada in the H2O Miss Teen Bikini International pageant.
Although she didn’t win the Miss Teenage Canada pageant that she competed in back in August, her impressive top 10 showing caught the eye of the pageant director, who chose her to represent Canada at the international level.
Chiasson called her experience an “interesting” one.
“It was a lot different than the other pageants I have done,” she said of the inaugural pageant that saw 12 other contestants participating from Aruba, Bonaire, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Isla Saona, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rica, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and the host country.
Chiasson finished in the top six in the competition, with Miss Teen Puerto Rico becoming the first Miss Teen Bikini International H2O Ambassador.
She spent a week in Curaçao competing for the title and learning about water conservation.
“As soon as I got off the plane, there was someone waiting for me,” she noted, adding there also was a photographer taking her picture right away.
And despite it being nearly 9 p.m. when she arrived, Chiasson said she was taken straight to hair and makeup to get ready for a photo shoot.
The following day, she met her fellow contestants—who all spoke Spanish.
“It was pretty difficult,” she admitted. “But they were all very friendly and really nice to me.
“They tried to speak English.”
Even those running the pageant primarily spoke Spanish.
“They spoke English, too, and they would translate whenever they remembered, but that wasn’t very often,” Chiasson recalled.
Despite the language barrier, Chiasson got to experience plenty of different things as the contestants were kept busy throughout the week.
They visited the prime minister of Curaçao, Dr. Bernard Whiteman, toured a water treatment plant, and did a beach clean-up.
They also visited an aloe vera plantation, an ostrich farm, an art factory, and the Dolphin Academy Curaçao.
“It was pretty neat to see everything,” Chiasson remarked, noting it was a unique experience to feed ostriches and get a kiss from a dolphin.
She also learned about the culture, tasting different foods, and learning a dance.
When it came to the competition, Chiasson competed in several categories, including an interview with the judges, a water conservation presentation, a national costume, evening gown, and best body.
“We had our hair and makeup done for everything that was getting marked,” she said.
“They treated us really well,” she added, noting they always had a lot of security with them, as well as two photographers and a cameraman.
“It was really well done for the first year.
“I liked how they kept their Facebook page updated so we could keep track of what was going on from home,” said Chiasson’s mom, Susan.
For her national costume, Chiasson was provided with a costume by the Miss Teenage Canada director.
It was a silver mermaid outfit—to represent water—and also showcased a Canadian flag.
“I had to give an explanation for my costume,” Chiasson said, noting she incorporated the mermaid in Fort Frances into it.
Then they were filmed in their costumes and completed a voice-over for each contestants’ introduction for the final show.
“That was really cool,” Chiasson enthused. “It was really intense and professional.”
When it came to the final show, they showcased their evening gown and swim suit—then the names of the top six contestants were called.
“They called Canada and I started walking,” Chiasson recalled, although noting there was some confusion in which the contestant from Panama thought she was called.
“They had called Canada so [Panama] went back to her spot, but then they called Panama,” she said.
The top six then had to choose a question from a bowl, with Chiasson’s question being: What is the biggest problem facing today’s youth?
“So I talked about bullying,” she noted.
Then they called the top three contestants—but Chiasson wasn’t one of them.
But in a way, she was happy because earlier in the week, she had injured her ankle and she was in a lot of pain by that point.
“My ankle was hurting a lot,” Chiasson stressed, noted it began to hurt the night before the preliminary round.
“In the morning it would feel okay, but it would get worse throughout the day,” she recalled.
“Then before the final show my ankle was quite swollen.”
Chiasson managed to complete the show with a smile on her face and she hopes she represented Canada well.
“I just hope I made Canada proud,” she remarked. “It was a tough week but it was a week I’ll never forget.”
She also said the experience helped her to grow as a person.
“I learned more about independence and figuring stuff out on my own,” Chiasson said. “And travelling on my own, especially internationally.”
She also gained an appreciation for different cultures.
Chiasson thanked the director of Miss Teenage Canada for giving her the opportunity.
“It was a great learning experience,” she enthused.
“We’re really proud of everything she has accomplished,” her mom said. “This is much more than we expected when she first decided to do Miss North Ontario.
“We did not expect it to go this far, but I think it’s been a good experience for growth.”
For now, though, Chiasson is taking a break from the pageant world as she prepares to attend university next fall.