Volume 96, Issue 65
Friday, January 24, 2003

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Miss Universe could be a Mustang

By Chris Webden
Gazette Staff

Finally, Western has the proof to back up all of its bragging.

Christie Bartram, a first-year social science student at Western and Ivey hopeful, is competing in the Miss Universe Canada finals taking place in Toronto this weekend. Bartram will be competing against 45 other women, representing a diverse assortment of cultural backgrounds from across Canada, in an attempt to be crowned Miss Universe Canada.

According to Fabrizio Loza-Alvarado, regional director of Miss Universe Canada, Western Ontario, the pageant will crown a winner based not only on her beauty, but also her personality, strength and awareness of the issues that concern young women and Canadians.

"[The winner] has to be completely aware of the issues around her that affect Canadians and the entire world," Loza-Alvarado said, adding Bartram has a good knowledge of those issues and has been working hard to prepare for the pageant.

Set to take place at the Metro Convention Centre this Saturday night, the pageant will judge women in three categories: bathing suit, evening gown and interview segment.

The pressure and intensity of the competition have steadily increased over the last week, as the women made their final preparations in Toronto, Loza-Alvarado explained.

"I am nervous, even though I am confident," Bartram said. "You never know what could happen the night of the show."

Bartram, who was crowned Miss Chinese Toronto in 2001, said her experience in past events have helped her to prepare and stay calm leading up to Saturday's finals.

"I think I would be able to supply a voice to the youth of today, because I am aware of the issues that affect them," Bartram explained, noting the AIDS epidemic, Kyoto protocol and wars in the Middle East as being areas of concern.

"Hopefully, I would be able to use my position, should I be crowned, to help with a lot of fundraising events [for various charities]," Bartram said, noting a victory will bring added responsibility.

Bartram said women gain a lot of independence and self-confidence when competing in pageants. "You really have to rely on yourself [in this type of competition]," she added.

"I think [having a Western representative at the pageant] is great," said Martina Chesnik, a second-year media, information and technoculture student. "If you work that hard to look good, why not be recognized for it."

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