Miss International Volunteer, Samantha Sewell of Vernon, is the only Canadian woman nominated to a top 12 spot for the 2018 Most Inspiring Miss Award.
The honour is given by the international pageantry award system Positive Pageantry.
Sewell is recognized as an active advocate for anti-bullying. Her story, as well as charity work, garnered nominations from as far away as Australia.
When Sewell was young, doctors told her she would never be able to speak and sound like everyone else. Her speech impediment made her a target of bullying throughout her school years. In Grade 9, bullying by a teacher had her consider dropping out of school.
She began showing signs of depression and anxiety. It was at this time that one teacher and a small group of girls stood up for Sewell, and she realized how much difference a single act can make.
When she won her first pageant title in 2015, Sewell made it her goal to help children who were bullied and told they cannot do something. She also noticed that "people listen more when you wear a crown on your head, and that crown can become a microphone for change."
As well as her own platform work, Be Someone's Hero, Not a Bystander, Sewell is a Canadian ambassador for the Live Out Loud charity. Through this, she has received training in suicide prevention, anti-bullying, and character development. She has spoken at events including Chicago Fashion Week.
Sewell, now a student at Gallaudet University and an early childhood education assistant, is pushing to have the Kids Help Line phone number posted in all elementary and high schools across B.C., and, eventually, Canada.
– Cindy Rhyason