Nineteen-year-old Hayley Bowdery from Bradford was crowned Miss World Ontario 2020 on Feb. 2 in a pageant held in downtown Toronto.
Bowdery isn't new to the pageant scene, having competed in many events since the age of 15. In 2015, she competed in the Miss Teen Canada pageant and placed in the top 10.
Since then she has competed in other smaller pageants around the Greater Toronto Area. She decided to enter the Miss World Ontario 2020 pageant with a positive mindset.
On Feb. 2, 42 candidates from cities all across Ontario stood on stage, in hopes their name would be called as the lucky winner.
"It was very nervewracking to be honest," Bowdery described.
She was ecstatic when her name called and she was crowned the winner.
Bowdery is hoping to use her recent title as a way to raise awareness on social issues that matter to her.
"Pageants give you a platform to voice your opinion on certain issues," she explained. Her main focus now is to collaborate with local charities and raise awareness about homelessness.
Before becoming involved in the pageant world, Bowdery said she was very shy and it was her mother who encouraged her to enter her first competition. Looking back, she says she is glad that she did.
"She pushed me to do it and I am so happy that she did," she explained, noting how it helped her tremendously with her self-confidence.
"I feel like they(pageants) are empowering. I like the feeling of being on stage and just being myself," she explained.
Bowdery has lived in Bradford since she was five-years-old, and attended Holy Trinity High School. She enjoys the small-town charm the community has to offer and is planning to attend Georgian College this fall for nursing.
With Bowdery's winning title, she will go on to compete in the Miss World Canada competition this July. She is open to working with local businesses and organizations in the community to help her on her journey in terms of sponsorships or publicity events.
Bowdery is a model with International Professional Entertainment Network in Toronto (IPEN). You can follow her on Instagram @hayleybowdery.