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BY JANE STEVENSON, TORONTO SUN
FIRST POSTED: MONDAY, OCTOBER 09, 2017 07:59 PM EDT
Lauren Howe is more than just a pretty face.
The 24-year-old is also a University of Toronto industrial engineering grad and budding entrepreneur who over the weekend beat out 64 other contestants from around the country to become the new Miss Universe Canada 2017.
“This was my second try at Miss Universe Canada and it worked out,” said the Torontonian, who was second runner-up in the 2014 edition and competed in two other pageants previously.
“It ended up being a really good time for me to give this another go and not ever look back and have regrets.”
We caught up with Howe for an exclusive interview on Sunday. The only child of a single mom (Lorrie), she was running on very little sleep and still wearing her Miss Universe Canada 2017 crown, sash, evening dress and high heels at her hotel lobby. She makes the media rounds on Tuesday.
•Do you have a day job?
— After university, I started working in sale strategy with Adidas which led to a role in technology consulting and I recently left that to pursue my own entrepreneurial ventures [in the financial technology sector].
•Are you looking forward to representing Canada at the Miss Universe pageant on Nov. 26 in Las Vegas?
— I am. This is a unique year where it’s a much shorter time frame to get ready but I think that’s actually a benefit since we hit the ground running.
•Is there anything you’d like to do when you get to Las Vegas to honour the victims of the recent mass shooting?
— Now that I officially have a title I want to start connecting with not only the organization itself but the other representatives of other countries to know if we do something as a group.
•Beauty pageants get a bad rap. Have they improved?
— They absolutely have. Pageants are what you make of it. That’s the main difference. The quality of girls who enter this and what they’re looking for is different than what it used to be. Rather than ... entering a pageant with the goals of “I want to be an international model,” the goals are now “I want to change lives.”
•And how will you?
— There’s no denying there are still the superficial aspects to [pageants] and that’s a lot of what I’d like to address in my now year as Miss Universe Canada for young women who look at me and might be watching [me]. This is work. This is a team of hair and makeup and stylist and I certainly do not wake up like this. And I really want to encourage young women to listen to the messages that people are saying rather than simply what they look like.
•You were previously a Toronto Maple Leafs in-arena host. What do you think of the team’s chances this year?
The Leafs are on an incredible roll. I was a part of the team right before they drafted Auston Matthews and it’s just been so special to watch how quick of a turn around they’ve had from then until now. I know better than to say anything out loud. I’m not a jinxer.
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