Savannah Elias-Beaulieu didn’t hear her name being called at first.

“They speak Spanish,” recalls Elias-Beaulieu, who was named Miss Teen Maja of the World 2017 at a beauty pageant in the Dominican Republic in late November.

Savannah Elias-Beaulieu was named 2017 Miss Teen Maja of the World at a pageant in the Dominican Republic. She represented Canada at the international competition after being crowned fourth princess in the Miss Teen Canada pageant earlier this summer.
Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo

“They pronounce my name different, so when they called me up I didn’t know they called my name. They called my name a few more times and I was like, oh, it sounds like Savannah.”

The year has been a whirlwind for the 15-year-old and her mother, Eleanor Elias. Elias-Beaulieu was also crowned fourth princess in the Miss Teen Canada Globe pageant earlier this summer.

“I feel like I was a lot more prepared for this one than the first one, because I knew what to do, how to walk and what to expect,” she said.

It was her first time out of the country and she loved it, especially the 42C heat.

The pageant tests competitors in a number of events, including modelling and dancing. Elias-Beaulieu said some people might think the pageants are just about outer beauty but they have a heavy focus on inner beauty, too.

For Elias-Beaulieu, competing in a pageant was a dream come true.

“It definitely has given me a lot more opportunities,” she said, now that the rush has settled down. “I’ve got a lot of opportunities to do modelling and be in fashion shows.”

She’s also been asked to judge a pageant next summer.

Elias was a little bit hesitant at first about her daughter’s interest in pageantry, especially because the costs of entry and fundraising for travel were so high.

“I wasted so many years not going before,” she said, reflecting on what she thought of it now. “At first it was really scary, just the unknown, but after you get down there in the hot weather, you sit at home (and say) this is something I never expected to do.”

Everything about the experience, including the long plane rides, was a new experience for the pair.

“When I look back on it, I appreciate it so much more and I’m looking forward to our next trip,” said Elias.

For now, Elias-Beaulieu is continuing to work at Northmart and as a FOXY peer facilitator. Next year, she will be headed south again to hand over her crown to the next winner, and to participate in modelling and photoshoot opportunities.

She is also working to recruit five girls for the 2018 pageant in Toronto. She says she has one from Inuvik already.

Along the way, she has been raising awareness for Moyamoya disease, a rare blood vessel vascular disorder that took the life of her father, Frederick Beaulieu, when she was 10.

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