Penticton’s Julia McKibbon, a Penticton Secondary School student, won the title of Miss Teen B.C. Interior at a recent pageant in Langley. (Contributed)

Penticton student crowned Miss Teen B.C. Interior

Grade 12 student at Penticton Secondary School previously went through Miss Penticton program

Enjoying her experience with Miss Penticton, Julia McKibbon wanted to take her platform a little farther.

The Grade 12 student from Penticton Secondary School recently was crowned with the title of Miss Teen B.C. Interior.

“For me, my platform is super personal. I am a queer teenager and a lot of people my age really have struggles. I am lucky that my family members and friends are super understanding, but I had a hard time in middle school and high school. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out my own identity and maybe if I had more voices that were close to me it would have helped,” said McKibbon. “I went through a really lousy phase in my life and I want to be that voice for other kids that might be going through the same thing.”

READ MORE: Winners crowed at 2019 Miss B.C. competition

McKibbon participated in Miss Penticton last year, learning about public speaking, learning life skills and growing her confidence in speaking on topics that she is passionate about. Miss B.C., in its 18th year, was held in Langley in early July and it is where McKibbon earned her crown. The pageant is a condensed version of Miss Penticton, all taking place over one weekend.

“I spent the weekend as an openly gay person, so I was a little bit nervous going into it with so many different women of all races, orientations and religious beliefs. I didn’t really quite know what to expect but everyone was super kind and all really cared about each other. It was just really cool getting to be completely, unapologetically who I am and not have to hide a part of my identity,” said McKibbon.

READ MORE: Meet the 2019 Miss BC contestants

McKibbon advanced to the Top 16, going through the dress walk presentation, athletic wear walk and a one minute interview to talk about her platform or removing violence and discrimination in our communities.

Now holding the Miss Teen B.C. Interior title, McKibbon wants to use it to do good things for others.

“That crown and sash really are for getting your foot in the door for volunteer opportunities. Once you put that tiara on people really listen to you and it can present you with a lot of opportunities. I want to focus on helping people, especially young people, to let them know that a lot of people go through different struggles but that is normal and it is OK. I am hoping to be able to share that message at elementary and middle schools,” said McKibbon, who is considering running for Miss Teen Canada next year.

Her first big event as Miss Teen B.C. Interior will be attending the Penticton Peach Festival, where she will assist in the Kids Zone, Kiddies Day Parade and walk in the Peters Bros. grand parade.

McKibbon is reaching out to the public, asking anyone that would like her to attend their event, needs an extra volunteer or wants her at a speaking engagement to contact her at crowns@MissBC.ca.

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