The Toronto Sun reports on a controversy within the world of beauty pageants. Stephanie Conover, who was crowned Miss Canada Plus 2007, was invited to be a judge at the Miss Toronto Tourism pageant. Everything seemed to be going fine until Conover received a letter un-inviting her because of the interests listed on her bio.
“Upon receiving her bio,” it said, “we have decided against her being a judge. We need a judge who has an upright reputation, (who) we would be proud to introduce to the audience. She states that her hobbies are yoga, reiki and tarot card reading. Our board of directors has eliminated her as a judge as tarot card reading and reiki are the occult and … not acceptable by God, Jews, Muslims or Christians.”
The pageant, which isn’t officially affiliated with Toronto in any way, claimed that some were afraid she would use tarot cards to choose a winner. Despite this religiously-motivated snub, Miss Toronto Tourism officials claim they are not a “religious pageant”.
“We are not a religious pageant,” director Karen Hunter assures me. She says folks of many backgrounds will be at the waterfront Radisson Admiral hotel on the big night. “We don’t want to offend anybody.”
It seems a little late for that. As for Stephanie Conover, she decided to use this opportunity to out her own religious preferences.
“Oh, and she’s a Wiccan. Yep, she tells me, she’s a witch. A good witch. ‘I don’t commune with dark forces.’ So no need to hang garlic in the pageant ballroom. ‘We don’t even believe in the devil,’ says Stephanie. ‘We believe whatever you send out into the world, good or bad, comes back to you, times three.’”
So there you have it, the first openly (to my knowledge) Pagan beauty queen. One only hopes that organizers of the larger conventions and festivals in North America will take advantage of this potential public relations coup. Have Miss Canada Plus 2007 speak at your event!