Military spouse captures Island title


Photo by Diana Battung, Happy Bee Events and Studios


For the second year in a row, Mrs. Vancouver Island BC has been won by a military spouse.

On July 2, Jane Vermeulen, Mrs. Vancouver Island BC 2017 and wife of Lt(N) Miklos Kovacs, crowned her friend, Jenn Sheffield, as Mrs. Vancouver Island BC 2018.

Vermeulen knows her friend will do well in the role and was thrilled to be the one to crown her. The pageant is something she suggests for all women.

“It is a little bit outside our ordinary lives,” said Vermeulen. “I work as a vet and I have two children, so it is either scrubs or jeans, so wearing a gown for a night is great.”

A veteran of pageantry, having been crowned Miss Cape Breton in the 90s, Sheffield, wife of LCdr Robin Sheffield, was convinced by Vermeulen to compete and is pleased with her results in the provincial the Miss BC pageant, and how pageantry has evolved; throughout the weekend, there were workshops on leadership, healthy living, empowering women and even self-defence.

“It is less about women’s bodies,” she said. “It’s now more about our skills, our minds, what we think, and our platforms, which to me is the beautiful piece.”

Open to women from 14 to 54, the Miss BC pageant focuses heavily on charity and personal expression, with the breakdown of the competition being sportswear, evening gown, a private interview with the judging panel and a public on-stage interview in the final showcase.

The goal is to help women create and promote a charitable platform. For Sheffield, her platform is one of deep significance.

“I’m developing a free yoga program for women and girls who have gone through sexual violence and are survivors,” she said. “I’m a survivor myself and so I feel it’s important to provide those resources.”

She understands that not all survivors of violence, especially girls and young women, want to speak with parents, but rather to a fellow survivor, someone who can truly relate.

“I want to provide that program, that resource for young women to come together so they can learn from each other and learn from older women as well.”

With her new title, and with training and mentorship from the Miss BC pageant in interview skills and charity planning, Sheffield plans to connect with local schools to find young women to help.

“I’m hoping to run a pilot project this school year,” said Sheffield, who is looking for space at a discount or subsidized rate to run these yoga sessions with tea afterwards.

Previously she worked in a high stress health care environment, but with the support of her husband she has shifted to helping others; this has had a massive positive impact on her life as focusing on dance and yoga contributed to her losing 200 lbs in four years.

“I don’t worry about the number on the scale, I worry about how I’m feeling,” said Sheffield, who ran a half marathon last year.

But for now, she is enjoying her new title.

“I was not expecting to even place as a finalist, let alone to win a regional title, and I’m just so happy to have the opportunity to both build on my own platform, but also to show people that someone who doesn’t have your typical pageant body, and someone who spends their life doing yoga and meditating can fit into that world and do well.”

You can follow her charity work on Facebook at “Mrs Vancouver Island BC 2018-19”

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