Hello, My name is Samyea Alam, I am 21 years old and from Kitchener, Ontario. I am a Miss World Canada delegate and hold the title as Miss Waterloo Region.
I have been asked by many people why I have decided to compete in this competition. For me to answer this I have to start my story in high school.
At the age of 16 I was clinically diagnosed with Lupus, a long term autoimmune disease in which your body attacks its own healthy tissue. This disease cause inflammation on my face causing a scaring on my upper left side of my face. I constantly felt a burning sensation on my face and it left me with a large scar across my face. Half of the hair on my eyebrow had fallen out and the scar continued to spread. Without the use of makeup to hide the scar I felt ugly and had a hard time looking at my own reflection. I had several people ask why I had to draw on my eyebrows in high school. I remember building up the courage to step outside without makeup only for a cashier during checkout to concerningly say, “Oh my god, what happened to your face?” To this day I still think about what she says and I can feel the pain at the bottom of my heart.
No one knew I was fighting a disease. Not only did my confidence diminish but due to having Lupus I developed a sensitivity to sunlight. My rash on my face would burn if sunlight touched it. I had to stop playing football, a sport I loved. I couldn’t continue another season on my school football team. I had to stop spending time going on hikes and outdoor trips. I became a hermit.
During this period in my life I focused my time on an art that I loved ever since I was little; drawing, painting and sculpting. The days my Lupus forced me to stay indoors I found piece in expressing my feelings through acrylic work and poured my heart out into my paintings. I adored the human body and its features. The details that made everyone unique, including myself. I did however started to gain weight and had fallen into a deep depression.
A year after I was diagnosed with Lupus, I tried to take my own life only to have broken my collar bone and spent a week in the hospital. During that period of time I had accepted I needed serious help. I visited specialists to help me live with my Lupus, along with my depression. Through many treatments the scar faded, the side affects of lupus were under control and I began to live again. I was able to feel confident in my own skin.
After that period in my life I started to teach art to small children. I wanted to help others find happiness through different art forms just like I did. My mother told me about the Miss World Canada pageant and how great it would be for my confidence. But what really made me enter was realizing how the Miss World Canada pageant would give me a bigger platform to raise awareness for children with depression and the benefits of creative expression. Art helped me battle my depression and became my relief. I want to show that love to other children on a bigger scale.
I truly believe my ongoing battle with Lupus has shaped me into a more confidant Samyea. If I had not been given a second chance I wouldn’t be here trying to be an example to other woman on how to overcome obstacles to success. I am excited to be participating in Miss World Canada this summer and look forward to hearing the other contestants’ stories.