CANMORE – Let the reign begin.
Canmore’s Katherine Kearney, one of Alberta’s top competitive bodybuilders, flexed on the competition in a different way last weekend when she was crowned Ms. Calgary 2020.
By winning the inaugural “Ms. division” at the Calgary Pageant, the queen hopes to inspire and empower women and girls of all ages during her year-long rule.
“I just hope I can continue to demonstrate to all generations that it’s rewarding to continuously grow through education and self-fulfillment activities,” Kearney said. “Staying positive and optimistic in all daily situations has benefits.”
As part of the pageant, contestants can reside in Calgary and its surrounding areas, and were judged on six different components over three weeks to comply with social distancing measures.
Out of six competitors, Kearney finished first in two categories – social media queen and best in swimwear/resort wear – on top of winning overall.
After most competitions shut down due to COVID-19, Kearney said she was heartbroken to not have any fitness goal targets. On a whim, she joined the pageant as a first-ever performer; it was familiar, but completely new.
“[The judges were looking for] personality and how people have contributed to their communities in these tougher times – they were looking for a leader,” she said.
With a heavy heart, she noted that her mother, Diana, passed away a few months ago and she struggled to make sense of continuing to be active and healthy.
“That kind of deters from what I expect of myself, so to continue to train and eat healthy and have a mission in a life – this is what I wanted,” she said. “I’ve been learning about pageantry and I find they have a lot of concepts and principles that are very uplifting and empowering and based toward achieving goals, so when I registered I wanted to win.”
Having an award-winning background in fitness modelling and contests where she’s had to count her calorie intake, Kearney said the pageant’s rules allowed her to be more herself.
She said doing a double bicep pose of fitness competitions is easier than answering the on-the-spot interview questions, but stepping out of her comfort zone allowed for room for what she hopes to inspire: growth and learning.
“I definitely love fitness competitions because I love the work I have to do to get there,” said Kearney. “Pageantry is different because I had to do different work to get there. I had to really emphasize who am I, what am I about, and what do I want to see in myself.”
Over the next few weeks, Kearney will be learning more about her role and responsibilities and won prize money to enter a national pageant contest.