After our photo shoot, video interview, and interview with the national judges, we had the opportunity to attend a ‘Mentor Night’. Dr. Natalie Archer, Melani Chong, Katrina Hadden, and Alexandra Orlando are four extraordinary women; inspiring me in many different aspects of my life.
Dr. Natalie Archer
Dr. Archer is a dynamic Toronto dentist who began her dental career in 2001. One of her key messages was that women in our society today need to take more calculated business risks. Dr. Archer promotes women leaders in the business industry. Being a commerce student at the University of Saskatchewan, I really connected to this message. Her speech heightened the idea that I can control my own destiny to become a business leader. By putting in hard work and strategic planning, I can contribute to the flood of positive change that our generation will bring.
Natalie has also raised a family, while balancing a successful business career as a hospital dentist. She promotes the fact that you can’t ignore biology and that women should embrace having children. A lot of women struggle with finding the perfect age to having children. Dr. Archer has taught me that there is no exact age to start a family and to make having children a priority before it’s too late.
Melanie has had many accomplishments in her life; being a model, makeup artist, stylist, designer, and an entrepreneur. She has embraced many opportunities and emphasizes the words “You can do whatever you want to do”. She has taken her message, developed it, and is sharing it with people around the world.
She has been in the fashion and beauty industry for over 15 years. She has been a Canadian Ford Model, the face of MAC Cosmetics, and has had contracts around the world.
Having an enthusiasm in hair, makeup, and clothes, Melani practiced her other hobbies aside from modelling. Her creative interests transpired into becoming a stylist; leading Melani into a new stage in her life. She went back to school and achieved the proper education and developed her skills to create a personalized skin care line called Soya Boutique. Melaine has incorporated fashion, health, and beauty in her line. As a former model, Melanie knows the importance of using good quality skin care. She has constructed a natural skin care collection which features organic and local products.
Melanie reminded us that throughout our journey in life, there are lots of conversations to be had and lots to be learned. She taught us to always keep learning, researching, listening, communicating, and developing our skills.
Katrina Hadden is a size 12 model, as well as a competitive athlete. She participated in high school basketball and represented herself on provincial teams. Unfortunately, Katrina injured her knee in high school; leaving her dreams of playing basketball at the post-secondary level to come crashing down.
Having torn my ACL in my grade 12 year, I can relate to the struggles Katrina went through involving her injury. I had plans to play for the women’s basketball team at Ryerson University in Toronto, but because of my knee injury, I unfortunately couldn’t pursue my dream. Just like Katrina, I realized that life is more than just basketball.
After these symbolic events in our lives; both Katrina and I learned to put our other dreams and interests in the spotlight.
Miss Hadden decided to pursue a modelling career. She took a leap of faith and moved to Toronto to turn her dreams of being on billboards and commercials a reality. She found Ben Barry Models, an agency that embraces diversity and accepts different heights, shapes, and nationality. Katrina was featured on a Panasonic commercial, CTV, City Line, and many Dove commercials. She walked in Toronto Fashion Week in a size 12 dress; representing a different figure in the fashion industry. This was a special moment in Katrina’s life. The audience started applauding her entrance; she wasn’t the only one who was looking for diversity in the fashion industry.
Growing up, Katrina got teased for being tall; often leaving her feeling self conscious about her body. She has worked through the hardships in her life and has built up her confidence, realizing she is unique and beautiful in her own way. Katrina has gone on to write a top-selling self-help book, Making It In High Heels.
Katrina’s Tips on How to Be a Good Role Model
• Take care of your body and health.
• Have interests and hobbies.
• Be thankful.
• Practice forgiveness.
Not only is Katrina a motivational speaker and role model, she has also been a life coach for athletes for over eight years, specializing in Stress Management, Personal Development, Work-Life Balance and Health and Wellness
Alexandra is a profound woman. She is a Canadian rhythmic athlete who represented Canada in the 2008 Olympics and achieved a world record for her athletic ability. Being an Olympian, Alexandra is very disciplined, focused, and has a tremendous amount of ambition. She has taken skills from sports and transferred them into other aspects of her life; becoming an author and commerce student.
Alexandra has taught many appreciable lessons.
• Acknowledge the people who have got you to where you’ve been.
• Be grateful.
• Realize how strong you are.
• Question and understand why you’re doing a specific thing.
• Share your story.
• Take risks.
• Give it your all.
Aside from her phenomenal athletic ability, Alexandra has pursued her passion for writing. She is the author of award winning books called In Pursuit of Victory and Breaking Through My Limits: An Olympian Uncovered. By sharing her story with athletes around the world, Alexandra has helped people through their insecurities and to overcome their hardships.