A young woman from Nanaimo is a Miss Canada pageant queen and will take her crown and sash into international competition.
Demitria Rounis, a 22-year-old Vancouver Island University student, recently won Royal International Miss Canada Role Model for Western Canada.
It was a return to the pageant spotlight for Rounis, who was National Canadian Miss 2017. After some time away from competition to focus on her studies, she said she had considered trying for another pageant title in 2020, but COVID-19 ended up delaying those plans by a year. She was asked about what drew her back to pageant competition.
“The dress-up part of it is a fun aspect of it, but it’s mostly because of the volunteering. That’s always been something that I’ve done and getting to gear it towards something that I could work on and was a fun project for me but would still benefit my community seemed like a pretty good win-win situation,” Rounis said.
Her first-ever virtual pageant was something a little different. She recorded a video of her evening gown walk and also submitted an essay, and the final component was a Zoom interview with judges.
The evening gown walk allowed her to be creative, as there were some guidelines around music choices and walking pattern, but she was able to show her personality with her poses and expressions.
“I’m trained as a dancer, so I’m very used to being on a stage and feeding off of the audience’s energy, so not having that was definitely something I wasn’t used to,” she said. “But it was also kind of nice because I was able to do multiple takes and make sure that I was really happy with the submission before I sent it off.”
Now that Rounis is a Miss Canada again, she looks forward to serving in that capacity. Her volunteering focus will be on literacy accessibility, she said, as she’ll be part of a Volunteer Nanaimo initiative called the Hand in Hand Intergenerational Storytelling Project that helps seniors create memory books, and she also plans to do tutoring.
“A lot of people tend to think [literacy] comes naturally with the education system that we grew up with, especially here,” she said. “But people have alternative learning styles [and] lifestyles and sometimes there’s ways that we can make more equitable opportunities for people to develop those valuable skills.”
She expects COVID-19 will take away some opportunities for her to attend community events, but she hopes there will be a few on the calendar.
“I’d be happy to come and lend a hand and give back to a community that I’ve grown up in and has given so much to me,” she said.
Rounis expects to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in tourism management this spring, and will then head off to the Royal International Miss pageant in Orlando, Fla. at the start of the summer.
“That’s going to have delegates from all over the world,” she said. “I’m super excited to get to meet and connect with all of them there.”