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Anjelica Conrad hopes to inspire other young women

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Anjelica Conrad of Fort Macleod will compete in the Miss Canada Petite Pageant in Toronto.

A Fort Macleod woman will use a national beauty pageant as a forum to support girls who are being bullied.
Eighteen-year-old Anjelica Conrad is a finalist in the Miss Canada Petite 2013 pageant Aug. 22 in Toronto.
“I hope I’ll be able to reach some of the girls that have the same problem I did growing up,” Conrad said. “Not to be a different person for somebody else, but to be yourself and have people who like you for who you are be your friends. I want my voice to be heard. I want girls to understand that.”
Miss Canada Globe Productions invited Conrad to compete at the national level after viewing one of her posts on a social media site.
“It was something about being bullied,” said Conrad, who no longer has the message. “It was just a post about who are my real friends, I don’t know who they are anymore. People come in and out of my life so fast I never really get a chance to know the real them.”
Miss Canada Globe Productions interviewed Conrad about her situation and then asked her to apply to join the pageant.
Conrad was surprised and elated to receive the invitation to compete in a national beauty pageant to win a scholarship or compete internationally.
“I felt special,” said Conrad, who last week graduated from F.P. Walshe school. “All through elementary school and junior high I was bullied for my looks. I was always told I wasn’t going to go anywhere with my life.”
“I actually felt like I was somebody to someone, and I could be somebody for a bunch of other girls who have the same problem I had going through school.”
From Grade 4 to Grade 9 Conrad was bullied because she was smaller than her peers and had big front teeth.
“They called me beaver and they bullied me. They called me names, and I wasn’t really accepted with anybody. I was always kind of a loner.”
Conrad had a few friends going into Grade 7 but other people interfered and those friendships were spotty.
In Grade 10 Conrad came to F.P. Walshe school and with a new start found that the bullying eased.
“It might be because it’s a different environment. Going into somewhere where nobody knows you, you can make a different impression on everybody. It shouldn’t be like that. You should be able to go anywhere even if people know you and be the person you are and not have to pretend to make people like you.”
“I want girls to realize you don’t have to pretend to be somebody else to be accepted. People who like you for who you are, are the people you want to be your friends.”
When some people from her former school arrived at F.P. Walshe, the bullying started again. Although she was in a new environment with real friends, Conrad was worn down and wrote the post that caught the attention of the pageant people.
“I got so fed up with it I actually went into a state of depression. I’m fine now, but it took a while. Doing something like this with my life already has raised my self-esteem. I am actually beautiful, no matter what anybody else says.”
It was the steady support from her parents that allowed Conrad to get through the depression.
“They support me in everything I do,” Conrad said.
Conrad, who aspires to join the RCMP, has prepared a portfolio and has been working at Bouvry Exports Ltd. and Tim Hortons to raise $3,000 for the trip to Toronto.
Conrad is close to her goal, but still has to raise $500 before Aug. 21 when she leaves for Toronto.
There will be three days of training in areas such as walking on stage, poise and fitness.
Following training, Conrad will take part in the national pageant along with more than 100 teenagers from across the country.
There will be a swim suit competition, evening dress portion, talent competition and question and answer session.
Conrad is getting plenty of emotional support from her family and friends but still needs more financial help. Anyone who wants to contribute can call her at 403-553-3266.
“I would love to represent Fort Macleod in something like this,” Conrad said. “When I was younger it was always something I wanted to do. It was an experience I thought would be interesting. As I got older it just seemed less likely it would ever happen to someone like me from a small town.”