Miss Intercontinental Canada Mattea Henderson looks to raise awareness for concussion prevention

Have you ever hit your head as a result of a fall, car crash, or other type of activity and just "did not feel right" afterwards? After a few days, you returned to your normal activities, but continued to experience headaches, sensitivity to noise, or difficulty concentrating and remembering things. Does this sound familiar?

A traumatic brain injury can disrupt the normal functions of the brain. Concussions remain the most important health issue in sports, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. Not until we discover more effective and reliable methods for preventing, managing and recovering from traumatic brain injuries. The reigning Miss Intercontinental Canada, Mattea Henderson, is an advocate for concussion prevention and head inury awarness - "At birth my skull was fractured, and I have lived with the repercussions every day, I may not know what my life would have been like without this injury, but I have been blessed by having an extremely supportive team who motivates me and ensured that I received the tools and skills I needed to overcome this adversity" - she explained.

Her biggest push about head injuries and how she makes a difference by supporting this is because people are not predisposed or can have genetic testing done to determine their chances of sustaining a head injury - "Head injuries do not discriminate against sex, age, race, or religion. They can happen to anyone at any time. It is something that anyone can experience in this world" - she said.

If she wins the crown of Miss Intercontinental Mattea would like to use her voice to promote her platform at the international level. 

Currently she is upon completion of an undergraduate degree in Business, concentrated in Marketing and International Business - "I take my studies very seriously, and because of that I spend much of my time at university or in a library. What I do I actually do if I am not at school, I try to find my way to the mountains for a hike or a bit of an adventure" - she said.

She tries to spend as much time as she can with her family. "We are extremely tightknit although we are spread out across Canada; my brother is in the Canadian Armed Forces stationed in central Canada, and my sister is completing her undergraduate degree in hopes of Medical School on the East Coast of Canada. The ability to be home is very soothing when I am not working part time, volunteering, or traveling as Miss Intercontinental Canada."

Here we bring you the untold facts about Mattea’s life and also her ideas, objectives and opinions… Have a look!

You will represent Canada at the Miss Intercontinental Pageant. How will you prepare the contest? What inspired you on the course of beauty pageant?

Being Miss Intercontinental Canada is an honour and responsibility I take very seriously. The opportunity to be the Canadian delegate at Miss Intercontinental is a blessing; to be able to have to pleasure to highlight Canada, and what it offers our world internationally is what inspires me repeatedly. Being 5th generation Canadian I am inspired by CANADA150. Our country is young in this world, Canada is a diverse nation that is tolerant, accepting, driven by inclusion, and embraces individual’s differences.

Preparing for Miss Intercontinental, I plan to continue to focus on my mental ‘game’. Realistic, the selected judges judge us, but we will also be judged by the world. People are entitled to their opinions and can say what they want on social media, and their criticism can be hurtful at times. I am hoping that people will be supportive and kind because it takes a lot of commitment, courage, time, and faith in yourself to get up on a stage. I believe in being authentic to yourself, and I would never misrepresent my character, morals and values, or waver when questioned about who I am, so I am preparing for the worst and the best things that can be said about me when I am competing and representing Canada. 

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What does it feel like to be a beauty queen and wear a crown? 

A crown and sash holds power in the means of gaining attention online and in life, having your voice heard on a national and international scale, being a role model, and being acknowledged as someone who has accomplished a wonderful thing. Being a beauty queen is like any other day in my life honestly, but what you do with your crown defines the type of beauty queen that you are and that is what is important to me. If you are lucky enough to have a crown and sash to represent your community, region, or country it was because you were authentic to yourself, your true self; that the judges saw something in you that was special. Personally, the moments that I feel most thankful to be a beauty queen with my sash and crown is when I am surrounded by likeminded people who want to inspire and influence change on what they are passionate about. Being a beauty queen and wearing a crown is making the most of the opportunity in front of you and not taking if for granted.

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What would you advise any young girl out there who has a dream of being a queen one day?

Advise to any young girl, a beauty queen is not defined by how sparkly her crown is, or how recognizable and big her title is. Being in a pageant or being crowned is about knowing that you are passionate, you are confident in who you are, and that you are proud of the person that you presented to the world. That you love you. If you dream of being a beauty queen I would say shoot beyond and the moon and aim for the stars! There is nothing stopping you from dreaming and setting big goals for yourself. I have always been told, in everything that I do, “You only get out, as much as you put in”. Preparing for a pageant isn’t easy, and it is a lot of work. If you have the dedication, motivation, and passionate and most importantly- if you put the effort in, there is nothing stopping you and I will support you shooting for the stars 100%! 

Did you face any moment of disappointment with yourself during the pageant journey, and how did you overcome it?

Every opportunity will have some form of disappointment, what you learn from that disappointment is what teaches you success. During my journey so far, I have been referred to one of the ‘bigger’ contestants, not fat or out of shape, but bigger in the pageant world. I had a reaction to flying and my legs swelled up during my national competition. My roommate and I tried everything: laying upside down, ice baths, compression socks, attempting to not wear heels so increase my circulation, I would massage my calves and feet, I drank a ton of water, and nothing seemed to work leading up to the night of preliminaries, the day of the Miss World Canada Fashion Show, and the Finale night. I was not only embarrassed, but I was afraid that I would be ridiculed and literally ‘judged’ on the fact I did not take care of my body or when compared to the model type that qualified to compete at Miss World Canada, that I would be considered ‘fat’ or ‘out of shape’. At a point my lower legs had no definition at all- you would look at my figure and see my knee and a stove pipe looking straight calf down to my foot- no definition and no ankle.I have taken pride in my athletic build my entire life, I have always loved being active and being healthy- and at moments I felt that people would consider me ‘fat’.

I was not disappointed in the fact people would have an opinion on my body, I was disappointed I allowed my self-doubt to influence my confidence in my abilities. I literally shook myself. I said to myself, “It is what it is. It is something that I have been dealt and I can deal with it. I am so happy with the person that I am and what I can offer this world- having swollen legs is not great, but I can still walk.” I believe having a strong sense of self and selflove is what allowed me to overcome this form of disappointment.  

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We’ve all seen the stereotypical portrayals of pageant contestants, a la Miss Congeniality, spreading peace, love and beauty throughout the world. How do you think you'll make a difference ?

Ironically enough my mom calls me “Gracie-Lou” because I am the pre-pageant Gracie Hart in her sweatpants, eating pasta and stake, not understanding the concept of knowing how to float when I walk in real life, and being armed with a sarcastic sense of humor. I am the stereotypically pageant contestant- someone who is passionate, driven, intelligent, but mainly someone who takes pride in knowing that as a ‘Miss Congeniality’ type, I can spread a message of peace, love, and beauty through the world. These three things are fundamental pieces in each country, nation, religion, and culture.

Who is your favorite beauty queen ? 

I don't have one specific  beauty queen that comes to mind as a favourite, I love the beauty queens who embody balance in their lives. My favourite queens balance community, love, respect, and never wavering from their character or their confidence. A winning beauty queen in my eyes was authentic to herself and the judges acknowledged the love she has for her country, her platform, and how she conducts herself when speaking- not too seriously at times, but confident in her words. Some ladies that I personally look up to include: Kara McCullough (Miss USA 2017), Olivia Culpo (Miss Universe 2012), Adwoa Yamoah (Miss Universe Canada Successor 2012), Siera Bearchell (Miss Universe Canada 2017), and especially Natalie Glebova (Miss Universe 2005) for setting the standard for Canadian delegates. 

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Thanks to the beautiful Mattea for the interview. Pageants News wishes you all the very best for Miss Intercontinental pageant.