By Oscar Wailoo
When Sachi Mahadeo was 19, her parents died within five weeks of each other. They came from Guyana to Vancouver in the 1960s and raised her in what she called a typical, happy Guyana-Caribbean home.
Mahadeo moved to Toronto and suffered another blow when her boyfriend died; she lapsed into a depression and suffered anxiety attacks.
She rallied to graduate with honours in human resources at U of T, acquired a Certificate in Fashion Styling from Toronto Fashion Academy and now plans to expand her online business, Closet Envy – Wardrobe and Image Consulting, into the Canadian and U.S. entertainment and fashion industries, and to open an online store with various brands including her own.
But first Mahadeo is aiming to win the 2015 Miss World Canada pageant on Saturday (May 16) in Vancouver. This follows a week of competition (from fitness to talent to poise) among 45 young Canadian women as well as the men vying for Mr. World Canada.
Mahadeo says she chose to take a run at the pageant for many reasons; high on the list is that it’s less of a beauty contest and more of a test of depth of character and a commitment to causes like Variety, the children’s charity, which she supports. The pageant’s motto is Beauty with a Purpose.
But she says her true motivation i6s that she “wanted to say something about mental health, and saw it as a way of putting in onto a larger platform and build from there. Maybe I can try this … I wanted to help end the stigma associated with depression and panic disorder – something that still affects me.
“From what I went through … I want to put myself to the test. For a time I thought I was weak but discovered that I’m in fact strong.
“I think I can win based on values and beauty but most of all I care for people and I think I set myself apart from the other contestants because of what I’ve overcome in my brief life.”
She said she once doubted herself and want to encourage people to “push themselves out of their comfort zone.”
On pageant day, Mahadeo will give her Caribbean roots a big play by donning a Carnival-style costume complements of Toronto Revelers Mas band, designed by Sugar Cane Designs. She said she will wear it with pride and will be “strutting myself down the catwalk.”
The Caribbean Camera will be down with sister Mahadeo, watching like a nervous father. And we know that whatever the outcome, Sachi Mahadeo is already our Miss World Canada.