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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fiery collision involving truck closes Highway 1 at Three Valley Gap

Drivers should expect major delays and congestion; estimated time of re-opening is 2 p.m.

Westbank First Nation Grand Chief Noll Derriksan passes away

Derriksan was 79 at the time of his passing

Central Okanagan school superintendent addresses technology’s impact on students

Physical and mental well being for students key themes during Kevin Kaardal’s presentation

Lake Country approves 5.88 per cent property tax increase

The average home assessed at $711,000 will have to pay an extra $123 per year

Kelowna to introduce new strategy for community education about supportive housing

The model seeks to enhance community engagement, accessibility and transparency

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

Prolific offenders from Alberta lead RCMP on chase from Kelowna to Abbotsford

Men first reported in Chilliwack ending with allegedly stolen vehicle in an Abbotsford pond

Adapting to love along the Columbia River

One man starts a GoFundme to help his partner with health costs caused on the trip where they met

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

B.C. massage therapist suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct

While suspended, Leonard Krekic is not entitled to practice as an RMT in B.C.

Gas drops below a dollar per litre in Penticton

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Most Read