Beachburg teen headed for North American pageant

·3 min read

Beachburg—A local teen is excited to be in Orlando, Florida for the Miss Teen North America competition this week.

Lola Guthridge, 17, qualified by winning the Miss Teen Ontario title two years ago. However, COVID travel restrictions prevented her from proceeding to the next level at that time.

“I was able to compete online at the Ontario level, but for the North American level you have to compete in person,” she said.

She became interested in pageants in 2019 when she was 14, encouraged by another Beachburg teen, Emma Jeapes, who won the Miss Teenage Canada title that year.

Lola entered the regional (Ontario East) level of that particular competition and walked away as first runner up.

Encouraged by her success, she entered the Miss Teen Ontario, the regional level of the Miss Teen North America contest, the following year. Part of the process was an interview with a panel of judges, including winners of previous pageants.

“I submitted video clips for the talent portion and for the ‘walks,’” she said.

She explained the ‘walks’ component.

“You have to do walks wearing different types of outfits,” she said.

For the talent portion, she submitted videos of herself doing dance routines. Lola had been studying with the Pembroke-based CDE Dance Academy since she was 11.

“I was introduced to a variety of different dance styles, including ballet, contemporary, jazz, and hip hop,” she said. After she passed her ballet exam, she began working as a teaching assistant. She left CDE when COVID hit.

“By then, my friends had ‘aged out’ of CDE’s programs, and my own teacher left the school,” she said. “I have not rejoined. I’m going on what I learned during my time there.”

Her wide range of interests keeps her busy. One of her newer ventures is aerial silks, a type of performance in which one or more artists perform aerial acrobatics while hanging from a fabric. Performers climb the suspended fabric without the use of safety lines and rely only on their training and skill to ensure safety. They use the fabric to wrap, suspend, drop, swing, and spiral their bodies into and out of various positions. Aerial silks may be used to fly through the air, striking poses and figures while flying.

“I love music and art, and I have sold several paintings,” she said. “I do mixed martial arts fighting, and I do yoga as well. Once I am good at something, I like to move on to learn something else.”

She left for Florida last Friday for the competition which takes place Thursday (July 21).

And if she wins?

“I haven’t given much thought to that,” she said. “That outcome is far from certain, given that I’m from a small town and have very little experience. But I would love it to be an outlet to help people and to travel.”

If she doesn’t win?

“I haven’t given much thought to that either,” she said. “I see the competition as a wonderful experience to meet all kinds of great people and to get my name out there. I try to live in the present and make the most of the opportunities that come my way.”

Lola is the daughter of Mark and Jackie Stewart. The family has lived in Beachburg since Lola was 7, and she attended Beachburg Public School. She then moved on to Bishop Smith Catholic High School where she is entering Grade 12 in September.

Marie Zettler, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader

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