An idea that started from a simple thought has now become an uplifting reality.

According to Andreane Blais, Organizer of the Mattice Mlle & Miss Carnival Pageant for 2019, her so called pageant is actually quite far from it.

The Mattice born Laurentian University Student says as a part of her studies as a fourth year Social Work student at the university, she embarked on a project of her own to create a self-esteem building program.

The program, Blais explains, was to value differences, self-acceptance, respect for others, and to educate girls about volunteering and community implication.

She also hoped to diminish the sexualization of little girls to allow them to be, in fact, little girls, putting all of the focus instead natural beauty.

Based off her experiences in pageants since the age of 16, Blais says she approached her community a few years ago to seek out their approval to throw this unique spectacle.

“I approached the carnival committee in my community three years ago and I asked them , ‘Hey can I build a pageant’ and they were like, hey, why not.”

She says her first year was a no go, but the second time around 13 girls signed up to take part in the experience. That led her to an astounding 28 girls this year, including many returning faces that showed some terrific improvement from the year prior.

Blais also says she is most happy with what she has given the girls participating moving forward.

“Well, I think that alot of the stuff that I teach them can be used in everyday life, so I believe they can use it at school, during presentations, they can use it anywhere, so it’s a win-win.”

She says another part of any pageant, including hers, is the fundraising aspect, one they were proud to announce collected $4,821 for Northern Ontario Families of Children with Cancer.

12-year-old participant Mackenzie Courchaine says it was awesome to simply meet new friends.

“It was a good feeling to get there and to know that I get to meet lots of new girls and have the opportunity to do something like this, because its not a thing that you can do everyday.”

Courchaine also says she would suggest everyone give it a try.

“Yes I would definitely suggest that people give it a try because its something that’s really fun and you won’t ever forget.”

7-year-old Emma Nadeau also spoke about her experiences, saying being a winner and making friends were tops.

“It was of winning and making more friends, because it took a long time and it was fun.”

With the pageant now at an end, Blais has also admitted this may be her last for a bit, as she looks to take more of a focus on her own future and career for the time being.

As she does, Blais says she is ever so grateful for the community, from the council, through to the parents, to the sponsors, for all their hard work and effort, and of course her wonderful little ladies who she has one message for, stay beautiful.