Miss Universe Canada shook her feathers for Canadian weed this weekend.
On Saturday (Dec 8), Ontario-born Alyssa Boston took the stage dressed as what first lands as a giant, glittery green peacock. The outfit, complete with a bedazzled pot leaf baton, shin guards, and headpiece, is dedicated to cannabis consumers and the legalization efforts in her home country.
The hockey player (how Canadian is that) rocked a head-to-toe “Canadian Cannabis Queen” ensemble in the pageant’s national costume competition—a segment in which each contestant immortalizes their country’s national identity in dress. The gown was created by Neftali Espinoza, a Nicaraguan costume designer.
She says the dress “was inspired by Canada’s recent legalization of cannabis but most importantly to end the stigma globally in hopes to spark more research for medicinal purposes.”
In her Instagram story that night, the 24-year-old added: “I am ‘medical marijuana’ ’cause Canada was the second country that legalized.”
The gown wasn’t her first mention of the country’s political shifts, either. Going into the competition, Boston made it clear that, although she doesn’t smoke weed, she was going to use the international platform to end stigma around cannabis, as well as mental health. She touched on the topic in her introduction video when she dedicated much of her inspiration to medical consumers.
If her not smoking weed throws you off, there are two ways to look at it. One, advocates and allies exist in all walks of life, and they aren’t always active participants in the activism they preach (in a similar strain to straight allyship at the Pride parade). Two, considering she is working in a testy international public stage with a considerable amount of travel, that clean-and-sober statement could have been a PR buffer to ensure she doesn’t get stopped at the border. Even admitting to consumption can land you a ban from the United States, for example.
Boston, who has a degree in business, toured the grow facilities of Canadian licensed producer Aphria Inc. shortly before the competition. She posted a video on Instagram, brimming with slow-motion runway stomps between rows of pot, and wrote: “Medical cannabis has been proven to help patients who suffer from PTSD, anxiety, insomnia, epilepsy, inflammation, and much more. I am extremely proud to be from a country that is listening to science and its people, instead of propaganda and stigma.”
But wait, there’s more to her kush campaign than just voguing and prancing around dressed as a weedcock. Before the unveiling of the costume, Boston also donned a sustainable gown made entirely of Canadian newspapers. On the left bodice sits a popular and familiar image of giant Cannabis day flag waving in the wind. Nothing says “patriotism” like a flag on your boob—er—heart…over your heart.
While the pageant world is embroiled in controversy, many calling for an end to the archaic beauty competitions going into a hard underscore feminist 2020, at least Boston is taking the time now to shine a little international light on Canada’s burgeoning legal industry and medical patients.
This article is available under a Canadian Creative Commons licence.
Co-editor, Inside the Jar
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It’s expensive. It’s impractical. It makes everything photographed on it look like it took place in the 1970s. So why bother with film?
A few years ago I planned a solo road trip to Haida Gwaii. I drove up in my admittedly unequipped Toyota Echo (thankfully the weather cooperated on my 16-hour drive) and spent the days around my spring birthday staying with a friend in the village of Skidegate.
I took four cameras: two digital SLRs, an instant camera, and a Canon AE-1, circa 1976. It had been my dad’s, and was the first camera I’d ever used. I’d shot hundreds of rolls of black-and-white film with it in high school but for several years it had joined the other vintage cameras I’d collected on a shelf in my bedroom. I figured a trip which I intended to photograph heavily required a little bit of variety, so I dusted it off and shelled out $50 for five rolls of Fujicolor Pro 400H 35mm film for the first time since I’d studied photography in college.
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