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

Move natural gas pipeline, MP suggests

Coastal GasLink could then avoid opposition

B.C. minister says rural internet is ‘railroad of the 21st century’

Jinny Sims talks details about the $50-million provincial and possible $750-million federal funds

Zero-interest student loans a huge relief: CMTN student union

Parliamentary secretary hears from Terrace students, alumni and staff

Tl’azt’en man emerges strong from leukemia struggle

“You have to find that inner you and fight back,” Darren says

WANTED: Five sought by RCMP

Police asking for public’s assistance finding five people on outstanding warrants.

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

Teen girl accused in plot to attack Kamloops school with weapons out on bail

Judge warned the girl she would be back in jail if she threatened to shoot anyone

Crown drops one assault charge against B.C. man linked to human remains probe

Curtis Wayne Sagmoen will still stand trial on one count of assault causing bodily harm in December.

POLICE: ‘Don’t leave children unattended in vehicles’

Williams Lake RCMP issue warning after attending complaint at Walmart Wednesday

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

Minor injury cap, court restrictions take effect April 1 in B.C.

Trans woman hopes funding cut will send message to B.C. rape crisis group

Rape Relief does not turn transgender women away and often connects them to other services, group says

B.C. sees fourth straight day of record-breaking warmth

Bob Marley said it best: The sun is shining and the weather is sweet

UPDATE: Two avalanches confirmed at Okanagan ski resort, one in hospital

A man has been sent to hospital after an isothermal avalanche at SilverStar March 20

Most Read