Jacqueline Verellen. (Photo courtesy of Renee Verellen/ photos by Danny Sedore).

Kent Bridge Native Looks To Become Miss Universe Canada 2017

A woman raised in Chatham-Kent is looking for support from the community as she competes to become Miss Universe Canada 2017.

Jacqueline Verellen grew up near Kent Bridge and went to school in Chatham. Now, she’s a 23-year-old woman with a passion for music and helping children.

Verellen graduated with honours in opera at Western University and has a minor in childhood psychology. Her name may also sound familiar because she is a Canadian singer/songwriter with a country single called “Home is Home”.

However, competing to become Miss Universe Canada is something new for her.

Jacqueline Verellen. (Photo courtesy of Renee Verellen/ photos by Danny Sedore).

“This is actually my first pageant, I’ve been a singer and a songwriter my whole life,” she says. “I decided to go into [the pageant] partially because there is a talent portion… but I found that I actually really enjoyed the entire journey.”

So far, Verellen says the process has been very vigorous with her having to research current events and work on charitable efforts towards Operation Smile Canada. The organization helps provide surgeries for children with cleft lips.

In addition to her efforts behind the scenes, Verellen has to prepare for the on-stage portion of the competition — something that is causing some jitters.

“I feel like because I’ve been a performer, I always get nervous but I know how to handle them on stage,” she says. “I’m nervous now, but I know that if it’s meant for me I’ll do well. I’m excited — and I’m also excited to be around the other girls. One of the best parts has been being inspired by them.”

The preliminary round of the competition takes place October 5 in Toronto, where only 20 women will make it into the final round.

With enough online votes, Verellen can take the “fast track” into the top 20.

“Any support from the people of Chatham-Kent is really helpful,” she says.

To vote for Verellen, click here.