I’ve said it before but I have to say it again – my absolute favourite thing about what I do is being able to connect with such amazing women. After all, that’s what inspired me to start this series so I can share their knowledge, insights and words of encouragement with you!
Katherine reached out to me a few weeks ago and literally after a few seconds of learning about her, I knew she had to be the next Stylish and Successful feature. You’ll read her full bio below but in a nutshell, she’s a super ambitious woman who has been participating in pageants for over 15 years! She was Miss Trillium Canada in 2016 and was a National Finalist to Miss Universe Canada in 2017. With an educational background in Radio and Broadcast and a passion for education and volunteerism, she’s pretty much a force to be reckoned with!
Keep reading to learn more about Katherine Highgate!
Let’s say we just met each other at a networking event. How do you introduce yourself and what you do?
I am an aspiring media professional and a graduate of the Radio and Television program at Ryerson University. My background is in communications, and I work as a freelance writer and blogger. I also do promotional modelling in my spare time.
You’ve been in pageantry for over 15 years! That’s amazing. Tell us a little bit about your experience and what encouraged you to get into pageantry.
I started competing in pageants during my pre-teen years as a way to overcome my shyness. I was really timid as a kid and participating in pageantry did wonders for my self-confidence. I think that pageants are a great way to polish yourself and to network with new people. I have been able to build a lot of relationships through this experience and I now have friends all across the country!
I know you’re an expert now but do you still get nervous before a competition? How do you boost your confidence before going on stage?
With each competition, the nerves tend to kick in! I think that it’s important to remain positive throughout the entire process because the judges and the audience really feed off of the vibes that you’re putting out onstage. It always helps when you get to wear your dream gown because I think that when you love what you’re wearing, you feel extra confident. I’ve had lots of advice over the years from coaches advising me on wardrobe, but at the end of the day, I always wear what I feel most beautiful in.
It’s safe to say there are some negative perceptions around being in pageantry. What would you say to these people? What do you wish more people knew about it?
I think that there are a lot of misconceptions about beauty pageants in general. What most people don’t know about the Miss Universe Canada program is that a large chunk of the score comes from the fundraising that we do on behalf of the pageant’s official charity, Operation Smile. Each of the delegates has completed a service project in support of Operation Smile and is judged on both awareness and funds raised. This aspect of the competition really makes the whole experience richer. I think that the humanitarian component is probably the area of competition that I’m most passionate about.
What would you say is the most important lesson that you’ve learned through your pageantry experience?
The most important lesson that I have learned through competing in pageants is that persistence is key. I don’t think that success happens overnight, and this is actually my second attempt at the Miss Universe Canada crown. Competing at this level has been challenging and I think that this time around, I am a much stronger contender. Perfecting a skill takes time and patience and I think that having a strong work ethic is crucial in any competition.
You also have another competition coming up soon! Tell us a little bit about this!
I will be competing for the title of Miss Universe Canada on October 7th. For the next week, I will be living with the 64 other delegates and making appearances and attending events around the city, as well as prepping for the show. It is quite a whirlwind experience and the winner will have the privilege of representing Canada on the Miss Universe stage!
Where do you see your career in 5 years? What about 10 years?
In five years, I hope to be more established in my career and working in broadcast television. My goal has always been to be in front of the camera but I think that it’s important to be really well rounded in this industry. Currently, I’m job shadowing a director and I would love to elevate my camera skills and technical knowledge.
I have to admit – my favourite part of watching pageants is admiring the gorgeous dresses! How does the outfit process work during a pageant? Do you pick them out yourself or do you work with a styling team?
Some girls choose to work with stylists, but picking out my own clothes is part of the fun! I get a kick out of hunting for a dress, or shoe or bag and finding a hidden gem from a local designer or funky little store on Queen Street.
How has being in pageantry influenced your personal style and how you present yourself on a daily basis?
Pageantry has taught me the importance of always presenting the most polished version of yourself. That being said, I’ve learned that an evening gown or cocktail dress does not need to cost a fortune! Dressing well is really about the fit and tailoring of the garment. I have an amazing seamstress that I work with, and my secret weapon has always been having my clothes tailored to fit me well.
What’s your favourite everyday outfit?
I could absolutely live in an evening gown and 5 inch heels every day, if I could! I have fun shopping for evening wear but I’ve always thought that the process of looking for more practical pieces is a chore. My staple daytime outfit usually consists of a well tailored jacket and flats.