Tanya Peterson deserves a huge applause for her patience, keen eye and artistic talent. Her photos are phenomenal and she makes me feel like my best, beautiful self. I am not a model and prior to this pageant I had never been on stage or in the public eye. Tanya is from Mackenzie, B.C and has thousands admiring her work in the North, around Northern B.C, and now Mexico.
I first met Tanya in 2010 when she did a blended family photo shoot with my mother and I and my step father and step sister. After my high school graduation I decided I wanted to do something edgy and different for a graduation photo shoot. I asked Tanya if she would shoot me on my farm with my horses and in some of my favorite locations in my gown. What came of this was a Rock the Frock extravaganza. Starting at six in the morning as the sun was coming up, Tanya took photos of me throughout the morning. Five hours later what she captured were some of the most spectacular images I’ve seen. I couldn’t believe it was me in some of the photos. Tanya has a gift for capturing light and a moment in time.
For my official pageant photo shoot it was obvious I would be asking Tanya, what I wasn’t expecting was for Park Avenue Apparel to provide me with a wardrobe for the day. One of my sponsors, Park Avenue Apparel has been more than generous with their time and expertise. They go above and beyond in helping me look my best for my appearances. This relationship was written in the stars, as their store slogan “Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful.” is the same as the pageant slogan. Park Avenue Apparel carries sizes from 0-3X and are committed to helping women feel confident and comfortable in their own skin. They are an awesome family business and I am proud to have them as my sponsor.
On the morning of the shoot we packed up our car with the generous wardrobe from Park Avenue Apparel and headed to Mackenzie, B.C. Mackenzie has played a vital part in who I am. Growing up in a small town affords freedoms and develops independence not always available in an urban setting. For this reason, I wanted to go back with my sash and crown in tow, and show the rest of Canada all Mackenzie has to offer (picture of worlds largest tree crusher below).
Mackenzie Secondary School holds mixed memories for me. I wasn’t a popular teen but I spent most of my time at school. There was one person I was excited to see, school counselor Ms. Hunt. Ms. Hunt helped me graduate a year early when I was told by everyone else it wasn’t possible. She was one of the most supportive adults and a source of information and guidance during a difficult time. One of my favorite teachers was also at the school, Mrs. Webster. Both women were more than thrilled to have me use Mackenzie Secondary School as a location for my official photo shoot. My photo shoot took place during class hours and we had to shoot between bells and class room shuffling. I don’t want to be a tattler, but I think my cheering squad should have been in class (see below). These fellows watched part of my shoot and were cheering me on as Tanya and I worked the scene.
After we had exhausted the locations at Mackenzie Secondary School we moved on to the Recreation Center. Mackenzie is fortunate to have a Recreation Center that houses the public library, the ice arena, the curling rink, a gym, a snack bar and the swimming pool. In the winter months having all of these places together is extremely convenient (it was also convenient for the photo shoot). For the shoot we used the Mackenzie Public Library and the swimming pool.
The last and final location was the spectacular scenery at Morfee Lake…this plan wasn’t fully thought through. Although, Morfee Lake is an outstanding place to take pictures, we didn’t take into consideration that it was the beginning of April in Northern B.C. The lake had begun to melt but was still frozen. Tanya and I discussed it and decided to brave the snow. We hiked through the snow bank (me in my bikini and flip flops, again we hadn’t fully thought this through) down to the frozen lake. Despite being numb from my crown to my toes I smiled and got into the moment, it was quite the experience. The overall appearance is stunning and overwhelmingly gorgeous. In some spots the ice was melting, in others it was solid ice and in areas you could see the lake. Tanya directed me on where to stand. I was preparing to break through the ice and have the coldest bath of my life. Thankfully the ice held. The experience was remarkable and a day to remember.