FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. –  Fort St. John resident Rayelle Sowers is throwing her name in the ring for Miss Universe Canada and is looking for community support to help get her there.

Sowers, a wildlife biologist, says she decided to join the pageant after searching through social media and realizing that women like her weren’t represented among the competition’s previous winners.

“I noticed that a lot of them had similar characteristics to me, some of those being independent, being a bit of a trailblazer and forging their own paths. But the more that I looked into it, I noticed that there aren’t really any women who are like me on that stage,” Sowers said.

“I like to get my hands dirty and I get right in there and kind of forge my own path in a male-dominated industry. I wasn’t seeing a lot of other women like that,” Sowers stated.

Sowers says she doesn’t fit into the traditional mould of what women are thought to be, which she believes is the same for many women in the north.

“I’m a bit of a fashionista, but also quite a bit of a tomboy. I think that’s something that needs to be better represented on a stage like this, that’s women in the north,” Sowers said.

“That’s who we are in Northern BC, Northern Alberta. We are a bit more rough and tumble. We get our hands dirty.”

Sowers says it costs about $10,000 to compete and is hoping to find local businesses to support her while she represents the north on the pageant stage.

“Local businesses can sponsor me in a couple of different ways. One way is monetary sponsorships, and I’m looking for any amounts. It can be $5, $100, any little bit helps. And I understand these are trying times, so not a lot of businesses are able to,” Sowers said.

Sowers says in return she can provide her sponsors with advertising services, which she claims the businesses can then write off as a business expense.

” I will do social media shout-outs throughout the pageants with throughout days leading up to the pageants their company name and logo can go in the Miss Universe Canada magazine that comes out as well as on the website, where it’ll be displayed for a period of up to one year,” Sowers stated.

She adds that residents can also support her by casting their votes.

“I’m competing against like 69 other girls, there’ll be a total of 70 of us this year, so it’s a tough competition. Any community support, if people are willing to get on there and vote for me, once that comes out during the pageant week, would be absolutely amazing,” Sowers said.

Those interested in sponsoring Sowers can email her at rayellemsowers@gmail.com