Airdrie girl awarded title of Little Miss Calgary 2013
Despite her young age, Grace Pound knows a thing or two about what it takes to harness passion, determination and courage in order to succeed.
At only eight years of age, the pint-sized powerhouse beat out 17 contestants to take home the coveted title of Little Miss Calgary 2013.
Poised and confident beyond her years, Pound impressed the crowd and judges with a heartfelt speech that spoke of her relationship with her grandfather, Mark Pickup, and his struggles as a triplegic (a person afflicted with the paralysis of three limbs) due to Multiple Sclerosis.
She talked of his bravery and steely resolve, and how his example has encouraged her to face her own challenges in the same way.
Before a packed Crystal Ballroom at Calgary’s Fairmont Palliser Hotel, Pound encouraged people to take more notice of the daily struggles people with disabilities face and what she hopes for Calgary’s future.
“I want people to not just ignore someone in a wheelchair,” said Pound.
“Maybe that the mayor could give more money to people with disabilities, because it’s not cheap to be disabled, that’s what my papa jokes about. Little Miss Calgary will maybe let me make a difference even if I am only a kid.”
The pageant is designed to give young girls the opportunity to gain self-confidence through public speaking opportunities, interviews and a talent showcase. Fashion is also a component of the pageant, but is not the central theme.
Contestants are instead judged on their overall poise, presentation and public speaking abilities.
As the newly crowed Little Miss Calgary, Pound will be busy in the next year. In addition to a number of speaking engagements, she will be working with several local charities.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting people and doing something good with my crown,” said Pound.
“My mom is always talking about how frustrating it is that people don’t understand what a wheelchair-accessible home really is. She sells houses and she grew up seeing papa struggle to do simple things like get into washrooms with a big wheelchair or get his leg over the bathtub to have a bath or try to cut veggies when the counter is too high. When I ride on the back of my papa’s wheelchair around the town, sometimes we get stuck trying to get into restaurants or off the curb.”
With experience in modelling, Pound is no stranger to the spotlight and is looking forward to putting that background to work as she begins her yearlong reign. And as for her own future, Pound admitted that it is still undecided.
“Plan A is to go to university and become a nurse,” said Pound.
“I’m not sure if I’ll do another pageant when I’m older. Probably, but I know I need to do something for myself to grow in my heart and my brain. If I do a pageant later in my life, it will be to use it to speak up for something.”