LXRY Q&A: Lauren Howe, Miss Universe Canada

When it comes to being Miss Universe Canada, there is a combination of different strengths you have to showcase that not only represent the face of Canada to the rest of the world, but the face that represents Canada in general. The person has to be strong, willing to take criticism, put up with politics, physique, knowledge and strategy and that’s just for the competition while she is there. Before that happens, the amount of hours, strength, mental focus and compromised time to make something big like this happens, has to be focused on getting the accomplishment. The award of Miss Universe Canada, in our minds, is not just a goal, it’s the byproduct of all of that mental and physical training, focus and pushing needed to make that happen. It’s journey that is filled with struggle, countless hours of practice and pressure as you hit your marks and show the world while your country is on your shoulders.

Lauren Howe is that person. She is poised, smart, funny, caring, charismatic and an big positive energy in any room that she is in and has not only embodied these qualities, but has raised the bar for others after her.

We were excited at the chance to interview Lauren Howe, Miss Universe Canada, who has been crowned this title over this past year.

Here is our LXRY Q&A with Lauren Howe:

LXRY: Describe who you are and what you are doing now.

LH: My name is Lauren Howe and I can’t seem to think of a single description that defines me haha. I graduated from Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto, worked as the In-Arena Host for the Toronto Maple Leafs, in Sales Strategy for adidas and became Miss Universe Canada last November.

I never grew up a ‘pageant girl’ but fell into this world back in high school when looking for a scholarship and won Miss Teen Canada. After the Miss Universe organization came under new ownership, was a strong shift in the competition where important topics like education, body positivity and social initiatives were highlighted far more than previous years. I felt I strongly believed in this new mission and took the chance on running again.   

LXRY: How did you feel right before your name was called for Miss Universe Canada?

LH: You end up standing hand in hand with one other woman and the both of you are waiting in this incredibly suspenseful, long and drawn out moment. Seriously, it feels long for the audience, imagine how we feel! You are going through every emotion possible. My First Runner-Up was actually my roommate during the competition, so on one hand, while you both want to win, we both knew that we would be thrilled for the other if they were to have won.

LXRY: How has your life changed after you have been crowned?

LH: This last year has been a thrill. Having represented Canada on the international stage, traveled to a number of countries, became involved further with some wonderful causes, the best part to me has been the people I’ve met, including having joined a family of inspiring and diverse women from around the world. These women are highly accomplished, intelligent and all strive to make a difference in their countries. I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this group.

While having a year of this is fun, I would say my life has changed in the sense that this has given be more focus on certain passions of mine and has opened up doors with plenty of interesting individuals. I’m excited to share more about many of these projects and collaborations in the coming months!

LXRY: Do you have a lot of young women coming up to you for advice? What are common things you hear from young women?

LH: All the time and it completely ranges. There are so many different battles that young women face today, let alone since social media has been added to the mix. Confidence, body positivity and stereotyping are all pretty common.

Confidence is definitely a battle and I like to remind young women that comparison is the death of happiness. When you see people on social media putting forward their best life, you don’t see the back end of their life. There is nothing wrong with that either. People want to share positivity. However, we just have to count our blessings, what we are grateful for and only focus on how we can live to be the best version of ourselves, not a copy of someone else.

A lot of young women also ask me about how they can lead a path in the entertainment industry. Truthfully, I don’t encourage anyone to pursue this path alone. Much of this world is a combination of when preparation meets opportunity. Being at the right place at the right time. Knowing the right people. Having a strong support team behind you. If you want to enter the world of modeling, television, entertainment, etc., be the best version of yourself, be kind to those around you, build strong, authentic connections with individuals, say yes to opportunities and most importantly, study something in a different field that you are passionate about. It makes you interesting and it is critical to continue your education.  

LXRY: What do you think should be talked about more when it comes to women in engineering or applied sciences?

LH: Something that I actually wish I learned more about when I was younger was just exactly how many different industries use the foundations of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Often there is the presumption that when you study a certain field, there are the set paths that lie ahead. I.e. If you study engineering, you should likely then become an engineer. In reality, the skills you learn can be applied in industries that you may have never thought about, and potentially lead you to starting your own company. A background in chemical engineering can help you understand beauty products and the skin care industry or materials engineering in fashion or electrical engineering and prosthetic design. The opportunities truly are endless.

There is a lot of talk about trying to get ‘women in STEM’, and while I love that initiative, it is important to understand that this path may not be for everyone. I like to encourage young women, especially in middle school and high school, to at least explore the idea and speak to people who are working in the industry for advice. A career in STEM or applying this knowledge is very different from the ‘fundamental science’ courses you take in school. Fun fact, I actually was terrible in Physics in high school and never thought I would be able to complete and engineering degree. You really never know what can change.

LXRY: What’s something you personally want to achieve this year?

In the short term, I am producing a podcast about what I mentioned above, interviewing a number of individuals who have found a career that lies at the intersection of perceivably opposite fields. The goal is to make people aware of how STEM is a critical part of the modern world and that if you want to study it, you don’t have to end up in just research (but can if you want to!). As a longer-term project, which I am extremely passionate about, I am producing a documentary series focused on life for women around the world.

LXRY: What does an ideal day look like for you?

LH: Haha there is my ideal work day and off-duty day. The ocean is my happy place and where I need to be to feel recharged. The off-duty day ideal day would involve surfing, good company, zero pieces of technology and a good biography to read. For an ideal working day, I simply love to connect with people. I can be doing any activity, but if you are connecting on an authentic level and having meaningful conversations doing work that has a positive purpose behind it, that to me is an ideal day.

LXRY: When it comes to modelling or representing yourself online or in print, what’s important to you?

As a model, you typically play one part in the creative vision of the print. The beautiful image that you see at the end is the product of a talented team of people. It is the model’s responsibility to ensure that the vision from the team can come to life. For modeling, you sometimes get to be a little creative and collaborative with the team. For shoots where you are representing yourself rather than being ‘the model’, I love when personality gets to shine through. Cara Delevigne does this really well. Some of my favourite shots are the ones that scream creativity and class.

I think it is also really important that models understand the shoots they go into and if they are comfortable. A lot of new models dive head first into every shoot just for the opportunities without understanding the final product and how this directs their career in the future. My advice is to them is to always ask questions and if you are uncomfortable about anything, you have a right to respectfully voice your concerns.

LXRY: What comes to mind when you think of a ‘Canadian luxury experience’?

LH: I’m an outdoors find of girl and just got back from a trip to Vancouver Island / Tofino. My idea of a “Canadian Experience” is anything that involves seeing the beautiful landscapes and wide open spaces. For many other visitors, that is a main luxury that our country has to offer. Hence, my version of Canadian Luxury is where ‘classic’ luxury meets the nature Canada has the offer.

The Fairmont Lake Louise is one of those classic spots as well as the Ice Hotel in Quebec. Another big trend which is exciting is the ‘glamping’ options around the country.  number of glamping options that have come up around the country. I recently discovered in BC is called Clayoquot Wilderness Resort and it looks like a dream!

Thank you, Lauren, for taking the time with us today and we wish you all the best in your long future impacting more Canadians.

Read more LXRY stories here: