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Catherine Valle: #TEAMVALLE

Born in the small town of Leamington, Ontario, Catherine Valle is now a 4th year Medical Science student at UWO.  She is also a CAISA Fashion Show Model, a talented singer and dancer, and an overall social butterfly. On top of all that, Catherine still finds time for other activities she enjoys- such as training for the Miss Universe Canada Western Ontario Pageant (!!!). Are you curious to know more about her? Don’t worry, HC was too!

BD: What is one thing everyone should try at Western before they graduate?CV: I believe that if there’s one thing everyone should try at Western before they graduate, it would be to get involved outside of academics. Western has so much to offer. In my first year at Western I got to be a part of the UWO Varsity Dance Pak, where I made so many friends and got the opportunity to show my school spirit on a daily basis. I also enjoyed attending many of the different campus events such as sporting events, coffee houses, and talent shows. Students can participate on many levels: through joining a recreational team, joining a club, getting involved in student council, or cheering on other students in sports or shows. Getting involved can really enrich your student experience here at Western. BD: I always look forward to the CAISA Fashion Shows each year, as I know most of campus does as well. Can you tell us a bit about CAISA as an organization and how you contribute to the community?CV: CAISA Fashion Show is an amazing club here at Western that I feel so lucky to be a part of. We host the largest student run charity fashion show in all of Ontario, with 100% of our proceeds going to Children’s Health Foundation. This is my 3rd year with the show, and my second time choreographing for it. Children’s Health Foundation is paired up with Sick Kids Hospital here in London. Last year I got the chance to visit the hospital and see the CAISA Fashion Show room that our money put together for kids to hang out in and relax during their stay at the hospital. In just the past two years, I have helped raise $55,000 for the charity. The money has gone to the Right to Participate Program and the Neonatal Care Unit at Victoria Hospital. To date we have raised over $150,000 for the charity, and our goal this year is $30,000. Our money this year will be donated to the concussion research project that Sick Kids Hospital, Western University and London Heath Science Center are working on. 

BD: What is your favourite Fashion Show memory?

CV: My favourite fashion show memory would have to be backstage of my first show in 2013. A bunch of the models, including myself, had a big exam the next day. We were all sitting in hair and make-up, asking each other questions, and studying minutes before heading on stage! We all did so well in the show and on the exam. It was a true bonding experience for us and they have been my study partners ever since! 

BD: Do you get nervous before you walk? How do you prepare yourself?

CV: I think even the most experienced models get a little bit of stage fright. The butterflies are a good adrenaline boost right before you go on stage. The nervousness really just means you care about the show and the audience, and that’s always a good sign before performing. My fellow models often laugh at me because I have a crazy before-stage ritual: it involves shaking out each wrist and ankle 10 times, then 9, then 8, well you get the point. It’s a fun thing to do in a group and all the jitters just disappear! 

BD: I watched the Miss Leamington Tomato Festival Pageant in 2010 when you received 1st Runner-Up. Congratulations on that title by the way! How did this experience contribute to your desire to participate in Miss Universe Canada Western Ontario (MUCWO)?

CV: Competing in Miss Leamington changed my life. I was only 16 when I competed, so it had a huge influence on me and who I am today.  I’ve always loved public speaking and I jumped at the opportunity to be an ambassador for my town. I had a great year as First Runner-Up Miss Leamington: through volunteering, being selected as an Olympic Torch bearer for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and speaking at schools. Those experiences have encouraged me to make a difference on a larger scale, and I’m hoping that Miss Universe Canada will give me the opportunity to accomplish that. 

BD: When does the Preliminary Competition begin and where does it take place?

CV: The preliminary competition is taking place in Windsor, Ontario at the Capitol Theatre on Saturday, April 11th, 2015. 

BD: Celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon have been championing the #ASKHERMORE movement, specifically at the Oscars, in which they demand women are asked about more than just the designer they are wearing. What types of questions do you hope to be asked during MUCWO?

CV: I absolutely love the #askhermore movement because I believe that beauty is something that comes from within. I hope that during my competition in MUCWO I am asked about my dreams and ambitions, my thoughts on current events in Canada, and most importantly, how I plan to carry out my duties as Miss Universe Canada 2015. This pageant is all about standing up for what you believe in and being a role model and ambassador for Canadians. 

BD: I know CAISA and MUCWO contribute a lot of charitable donations and volunteer time to different organizations. What causes do you support and how?

CV: The charity I love to donate to is Operation Smile. I first became involved with the charity in 2011 through Western University as an executive member on the Operation Smile committee. In one year we were able to donate 12 smiles (or surgeries) to children in third world countries born with a cleft palate. This year I am hosting a Princess Ball in my hometown of Leamington, Ontario on March 28th, 2015, to raise money for Operation Smile. My fundraising goal is $3,000, and so far the support from my community has been exceptional. 

Through CAISA Fashion Show I donate to Children’s Health Foundation. To date I’ve helped raise $55,000 for the charity. It’s a beautiful and very deserving organization and it’s so nice to see the money being brought to sick kids in our local community. 

BD: I have to ask you the dreaded question: any idea what’s next after graduation?

CV: Well, hopefully I will get to spend the next year as Miss Universe Canada 2015 ;). However, in case that doesn’t work out, I’ve applied to a few masters programs here at Western University and across Ontario. I feel very accomplished; my Honors Bachelor of Medical Science Degree (BMSc) has opened many doors for me. The possibilities are endless and I can’t wait to see what happens next! 

BD: Thank you for answering these questions! Any last words you would like to share?CV: I am so honoured to be able to complete this interview with you and I am so grateful for the support of the Western University community as I embark on this exciting journey! Thank you so much for your recognition and time in interviewing me! I would like to welcome everyone to follow me on my journey through my Facebook fan page, which can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/catherinevalleMUC 

HC Wishes Catherine the best of luck!!

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