A South Sudanese woman has been crowned Miss Universe Canada 2020 to represent it in the Miss Universe pageant this year.
Nova Stevens migrated to Canada in 1993 at the age of 6, after her family fled civil war in South Sudan.
A media in Canada reported that the South Sudanese born Canadian was selected out of 55 candidates to represent Canada at the international Miss Universe pageant.
The 27-year-old activist is the co-organizer behind Vancouver’s Freedom marches, which saw thousands stand up against anti-Black racism and support the Black Lives Matter Movement this summer.
Stevens posted about her win on Instagram with an impassioned caption about race and inclusion.
She emphasized that Canada’s true beauty is its multiculturalism.
“I am Nova Stevens. I am a Canadian and a Black woman. As I stand before you, I want you to see me as a black woman,” she wrote.
“Yes. I want you to see colour. Because seeing colour does not mean you’re a racist; instead, it allows you to see the struggles experienced by people of colour.”
“You’ve heard the news, you’ve read the stories. Innocent black lives have been lost to police brutality and hate crimes. We want you to see us. We want you to hear us. We want you to feel us.”
“I ask that you diversify your surroundings because when you do that, it creates a better understanding. Know that hate is taught; therefore we can unlearn it. So let’s do that! Let’s get back to our truest essence, which is love.”
“My heart is full of gratitude. Thank you very much to everyone that has believed in me and supported me through this journey. As your new Miss Universe Canada, I promise to remain true to who I am and use my power, which is my voice.”
The Journey of a little girl
Stevens was born in Kenya to parents who fled the civil war in South Sudan. She was sent to Canada at six so she could have a chance for a better life.
Leaving behind her mother in a UN camp in South Sudan and her father and siblings in Ethiopia, Stevens uses her new chance at life in Canada as a driving factor in her mission to provide mentorship and support to children and youth in need.
By the young age of 15, with the help of the Youth Transition program in Alberta, she had already forged a life for herself: living independently, finishing school, and learning the importance of guidance for youth.
At age 18 she earned the manager position for the program because of her maturity and her drive to give back.
Being separated from her family and growing up without her parents in Canada, Stevens is acutely aware of the importance of fostering the healthy development of children and youth from all walks of life.
Dynamic, resilient, persistent, and full of life; this is how those who know her best would describe Stevens.
However, asked to describe herself, Steven would emphasize resiliency and the power of faith in being able to change your circumstances.
While continuing to work towards reuniting her family, she is continuously looking for opportunities to serve young Canadians as she is so grateful for the opportunities that being Canadian has given her.
She is a youth mentor with the Young Women’s Christian Association and a spokesperson for the Keep6ix program to help underprivileged youth who have been wrongly convicted to go on to live a constructive life.
Growing up, Stevens shined as a natural leader. Having been involved with youth leadership programs throughout high school, she championed the importance of education for youth and helped their families foster that environment.
She has always believed in the importance of a balanced and healthy lifestyle to promote both mental and physical wellness.
As such she has always excelled in sport, competing competitively in volleyball, track and field, and basketball. This led to a full basketball scholarship out of high school.
Stevens continues to maintain an active lifestyle and practices mindfulness to remain focused on her goals.
Through her persistence and disciplined goal-setting, she has become a published international model working in the fashion capitals of New York, Paris, and Milan. Currently, she is SuperModel Canada’s 2017 1st runner up.
Stevens can be seen on the cover of Jamaque magazine’s latest fall issue. She also works as a model and actress who can be found in commercials for Dairy Queen, Toyota Corolla, and Macy’s.
Stevens looks forward to bringing her confidence and passion to the Miss Universe stage this year.
This was Stevens’ third time competing for the Miss Universe Canada title. She will go on to represent Canada at the Miss Universe Competition.
The most beautiful women in the world will take center stage at this year’s 69th annual Miss Universe competition — when 89 contestants from around the world vie for the crown of Miss Universe 2020.
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