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

Port Alberni to consider the future of McLean Mill

City council will be holding a committee of the whole meeting on Jan. 21

Intern gives Port Alberni’s museum artifacts an update

St. John’s man travelled more than 7,000 kms to assist with curatorial duties

BCHL: Bulldogs best Salmon Arm at home

Bulldogs face Powell River in Sunday matinee Jan. 20; puck drop is 2 p.m.

Port Alberni’s Kari Trott set to shine at Canada Winter Games

Trott is one of two Special Olympics BC figure skaters invited to the national event

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Vancouver Island senior dies after medical emergency and rollover crash

Incident happened Saturday in Nanaimo on Poplar Street

Parole granted for drunk driver that killed BC RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

MARS seeing influx of sick, injured eagles from north part of Vancouver Island

Factors for increase in eagle cases can be anything from lead poisoning to vehicle strikes

Suspect allegedly armed with handgun robs Island gas station

Incident occurred Sunday night in Nanaimo

Doug Ford says the Liberals’ carbon tax will plunge Canada into recession

The Ontario premier said there are already warning signs of difficult economic times ahead

Kamala Harris opens U.S. presidential bid in challenge to Trump

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Most Read