Matharu sets sights on youth suicide awareness
By Laura Lennie, News Staff
Kiran Matharu hopes to use her recent pageant win to bring awareness to teen suicide.
The 17-year-old Orchard Park Secondary School Grade 12 student was crowned Miss Teen Hamilton – World on Jan. 20 in Toronto. The title earns her a place on the Miss Teen Canada – World stage in July in Toronto.
“I feel really accomplished,” she said. “I feel like with the title, it just gives you that extra power to go out there and do something because I feel that with a title, people might take you a bit more seriously.”
Matharu competed in an interview, swimwear and evening gown contest.
About 46 hopefuls participated in the competition. Seventeen other teens were given regional titles to represent Ontario at the Miss Teen Canada – World pageant.
Matharu plans on using her title to raise awareness of teen suicide.
“I feel that mental health issues are growing in the youth of our society and they have less self-confidence, lower self-esteem and especially with bullying – bullying really plays into this – it’s really hard to get over that and sometimes they feel like it’s the end, but it’s not,” she said. “I not only want to raise awareness for youth suicide – because it’s the second leading cause of death among youth in Canada – but I also want to help youth overcome their low self-confidence and these feelings that they have. We need to step back, take a look at what’s going on and see how we can make it better.”
Matharu said she decided to compete for Miss Teen Hamilton – World and enter the race for Miss Teen Canada – World because the title and pageant offer an ideal platform for aspiring change.
“The main reason I wanted to do the pageant was not because of all the glitz and glamour – because that’s what we associate with pageants – but because this pageant is about so much more,” she said. “It’s about going out in your community and making a difference, having the title to go out there and really do something for the community. That’s the one major factor that made me want to go for it because I’ve always been passionate about helping others.”
Matharu said being crowned Miss Teen Hamilton – World was an “amazing experience.”
“The girls there were great; they were all so kind-hearted and they were all basically there for the same reason, to go out there and make a difference,” she said. “It was amazing to see that there are still so many people out there that want to make a difference in our world. These girls are definitely difference-makers.”
Matharu said the upcoming national pageant will see more than 60 finalists vying for the Miss Teen Canada – World crown.
“I’ve done a lot of theatre performances in school, so the nerves don’t hit me until the day of,” she laughed. “I really want to meet these girls, see what they’re about. That’s what I’m most excited about, just going there and having the experience.”
To follow Matharu in her journey to the Miss Teen Canada – World stage, visit www.facebook.com/MissTeenHamiltonWorld2013.