Anne-Marie Rogers-Cooper has never placed lower than third in competition.
Still the 16-year-old beauty queen from Ponoka was pleasantly surprised when she was chosen to compete in the Miss Teen Canada World beauty pageant at the Calgary qualifier in January.
Crowned Miss Ponoka County World, Rogers-Cooper will use her charm and confidence to wow the judges at the national competition in Toronto this July.
Between now and the competition, Rogers-Cooper will focus on fundraising and raising awareness about vision loss.
“It can affect you at any point in your life,” said Rogers-Cooper. “It can and not everybody knows that.”
The Ponoka Composite High School Grade 11 student has optic neuritis in both eyes, an optic nerve inflammation causing blurred vision. Rogers-Cooper said her condition is not very common in teenagers and usually attacks people under the age of six and over 65 years of age.
She said having the condition spurred her into the beauty pageant life.
“As a self-esteem boost, I started pageants,” said Rogers-Cooper. “It turns out I was good at them. I’ve been doing them for three years now and this teen one was a big step up for me.”
The condition can lead to permanent blindness. Rogers-Cooper said her eyesight has improved recently.
Rogers-Cooper said she never imagined she would have entered such a prestigious pageant and to win a spot in the nationals. Outside of her pageant life, Rogers-Cooper is a Girl Guides leader and participates in youth groups. She is the daughter of Cory and Kim Powers.
After she graduates high school, Rogers-Cooper would like to pursue a career in forensics science. But her main goal right now is to show girls that anything is possible no matter what happens.
Miss Teen Red Deer World, Madison Fertig, 17, of Red Deer, will also compete on the national stage.
The Miss Teen Canada World pageant sponsors Free the Children, an international charity and youth movement founded in 1995 by children’s rights advocate Craig Kielburger.
Fifteen girls from each province will compete in the televised pageant.