For the University of Saskatchewan law student, participating in beauty pageants has always been more about a platform for positive speech than the stereotypical glitz, glam and fake tan.
The first Métis woman to be crowned Miss Universe Canada in 2016, catapulting her onto the world stage, Bearchell has used her pageant success to champion the rights of women and Indigenous peoples through public speaking.
Losing her family home to fire at age 16, spurred a young Bearchell’s passion for advocacy.
“I could have gone down a path of self-pity,” she explained. “Instead, I used it as an opportunity to reach out to people.”
She began volunteering with the Canadian Red Cross, choosing to share her own devastating life experience to help others overcome theirs. Shortly after, and wishing to further spread her positive message, she came across the Miss Teen Saskatchewan pageant.
“I didn’t enter the pageant for the typical reasons. There was a glamorous side to it for sure, but for me, it was more a way to see if I could raise my voice a little bit,” she said.
Proudly Métis and Saskatchewanian, hailing from Moose Jaw, Bearchell has never let being from a small community stand in the way of chasing big dreams.
“I’ve always had that pride that you can be from somewhere small and still do great things,” she said.
And winning pageants, including her victory at the 2016 Miss Universe Canada, has given her a golden opportunity to reach out to vulnerable groups on a global scale. A passionate advocate for women and Indigenous youth, Bearchell has done a lot of public speaking to high school-aged women, and has been a keynote speaker at the youth-focused WE Day in Saskatoon.