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Going for Miss World

Jennifer Zielinski

Pooja Anand may just be one of Kelowna's busiest 22-year-olds.

The soon to be psychology graduate from UBCO with honours, is about to publish a book, organize a fundraiser, continue her day job as a health and fitness coach, all the while preparing to compete in the Miss World Canada pageant.

"Basically it takes really great time management skills," she laughs. "You really have to differentiate your time, your time with family and friends, your time with this role (as a Miss World Canada contestant), your responsibilities, your school, everything extracurricular that you are doing."

As a child Anand loved sports like Taekwondo, but as she grew older her passions changed and she wished to align herself with a more humanitarian role.

In 2009 she was crowned Kelowna's Lady of the Lake and in 2011 she placed top five in the Miss World Canada pageant. Now she is hoping to take a run at the title again, during the competition in Vancouver this May.

"In 2011, I thought it would be a great platform to inspire women and empower the youth, public speak and do humanitarian work so I did that in 2011, " she explains. "Now three years later I am joining the pageant because the Miss World Canada organization, their mission statements and their values are parallel with mine."

Denise Nielson became Anand's chaperone for one year during her reign as Lady of the Lake, and says Anand has the passion and drive to represent the country as Miss World Canada.

"She just dives into everything; she is going to give it 100 per cent or not do it at all and she has a lot of energy. I really believe that she would be an amazing ambassador for Canada," says Nielson.

Anand will compete against 39 other contestants in the 2014 Miss World Canada Pageant, which takes place over one week.

"What I say is, be the best you can be, be true to yourself. There is no limit to your dreams. So I hope to inspire young girls to reach for their dreams and their goals."

Now on top of preparing for the Miss World Canada pageant, Anand is organizing a fundraiser for Variety, the Children's Charity on March 20 at 7 p.m. at the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort.

Tickets are still available online.

The Miss World pageant is one of the oldest surviving major international beauty pageants. It has raised over $500 million for charities and includes contestants from 120 countries.

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