Christine Jamieson, Miss Canada 2019 & Miss British Columbia 2019 and 2018 is the CEO and founder behind PUSH25 Creative Solutions, a full-service marketing company serving British Columbia and beyond. She is a strong advocate for mental health and epilepsy, working to create programs, raise funds for research, make policy changes and educate the public.

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Alice: Hi everyone, I’m Alice the social media manager for Jubilance and today I’m talking with Christine Jamieson, Miss Canada 2019 & Miss British Columbia 2019 and 2018. She is the CEO and founder behind PUSH25 Creative Solutions, a full-service marketing company serving British Columbia and beyond. She is a strong advocate for mental health and epilepsy, working to create programs, raise funds for research, make policy changes and educate the public. We’re so excited to have her on today. Welcome, Christine, thank you so much for joining us.

Christine: Of course, thank you so much for having me.

Alice: Yes. We just start with some more fun questions, what are the must-haves essential items in your purse?

Christine: You always have to have your keys, wallet, phone, those were the basics. But beyond that, I believe everyone should have lipstick and sunscreen.

Alice: That sounds great. Perfect. What are you currently reading?

Christine: I’m actually reading through an entire volume of Shakespeare.

Alice: Really? What play are you on?

Christine: Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Alice: I’m actually going to direct that this summer, I’m a theater director in my spare time.

Christine: That’s awesome. My first degree was in creative writing and then I also have a minor in English, so anything with Shakespeare, Jane Austen, just has my heart.

Alice: Oh my Gosh, that’s amazing. Yes, I loved Midsummer, my favorite is The Tempest though.

Christine: Yes.

Alice: What are you currently listening to?

Christine: I listen to such a variety of music, a mix between ’80s, ’90s, early ‘2000s and everything from today. I am absolutely in love with the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, because it’s got this great mix of everything. Yes, it’s probably my current playlist.

Alice: That’s awesome. Where are you living now in Canada?

Christine: I live in a small town called Mission in British Columbia, it’s about an hour and a half outside of Vancouver.

Alice: What’s your favorite thing about Mission?

Christine: I absolutely love how community-minded it is. I grew up in North Vancouver specifically, in the big city and when I made the move out here, I was so nervous about it but everyone here is just so genuine and so nice.

Alice: Did work move you out there?

Christine: Yes, actually I got my first job out in Chilliwack, which is about half an hour from Mission. And then eventually, I ended up moving in with my now fiancée and buying a house out here.

Alice: So amazing, congratulations.

Christine: Thank you.

Alice: Do you have a favorite restaurant in Mission? Where should we all check out if we go there?

Christine: That’s a hard one. I love Mission Springs, they have some amazing poutines but if you ever go to Abbotsford, you also need to go to Loudmouth Brewing because their beer and their food it’s just on point.

Alice: That’s awesome, I have to check it out. Love a good poutine. Who doesn’t? It’s so good.

Christine: It’s a sign of a true Canadian, right?

Alice: Yes, it’s just in my heart. What are the biggest winter traditions in Canada?

Christine: I think just getting outside and being outside in the weather, no matter what the weather is. Where I live, we have a very vast range of a lot of rain and a lot of snow. So it’s either doing one or the other in winter and either way you’re outside and you’re enjoying it, you’re skating, you’re snowboarding or skiing, you’re hiking in the winter.

At the same time, in this past year, I’ve had the opportunity to travel all across Canada and there’re so many amazing things that happen in Canada in the winter, and a lot of different festivals, particularly, in Montreal and Quebec area, it’s amazing.

Alice: My God, it’s so cool. Can you talk me through how you got into pageants and becoming Miss Canada? How did that come about?

Christine: I first did my first pageant in 2011 and that was the Miss British Columbia pageant. At that point in my life, I was just coming out of being pretty much living in the hospital 24/7. I didn’t have a lot of confidence, I didn’t really know who I was, I didn’t know what I stood for and I joined the Miss BC pageant in order to gain confidence and skills.

They offer all these different workshops, like public speaking training, interview, how to walk properly, etiquette training, self-defense. Through all those courses, I really became the person that I am today and so I guess, two years now, I was thinking about going back and it was actually my fiancée, who was like, “Do you know what? Just go ahead and do it because you’re going to regret not going back.”

I didn’t walk away with the title the first time I did the pageant. But when I went back in 2018, I miraculously walked away as Miss British Columbia and from there I went to Miss Canada in March, and walked away as Miss Canada.

Alice: That’s wonderful. Can you talk about getting into marketing as well? Have you always been in marketing? Or what’s your story there?

Christine: Yes. My education background is not directly in marketing; it is in communications, English, political science and that sort of route. I always thought I was going to go into political communication. Then I did an international co-op program, where I was working in Indonesia for four months doing marketing for English schools, I fell in love with it.I was doing website design, brochures, videos, social media and I knew right away that this is something that I want to do for the rest of my life.

Alice: Where were you in Indonesia?

Christine: I was living in Bekasi, which is just outside of Jakarta, which is the capital city. I was really lucky and had the opportunity to travel pretty much all the way across Indonesia, including, of course, going to Bali and Lombok which are the two really big touristy parts.

Alice: So beautiful, like everywhere there.

Christine: There’s a place in Indonesia called Yogyakarta which has the most beautiful temples. And as soon as you walk out of the temples, you walk into this like very vibrant marketplace, it’s just so much fun.

Alice: Have you been able to go back since you work there?

Christine: Not specifically to Indonesia, but I have been able to travel quite a bit. I do, hopefully, plan on going back one day but you never know what life brings you.

Alice: There’s so many places to go, visit and explore, that’s so amazing. Can you talk a little bit about your year as Miss Canada? You said you’ve been traveling around Canada and all the different parts of Canada, what’s been your favorite part of all your travels around your own country?

Christine: Everything. Up until this past year, I had been pretty much just within BC and Alberta, so I didn’t know what to expect when I had the opportunity to travel to the different provinces. It’s been amazing to learn about the different cultures and people’s story, because the thing with Canada is it really is so vast, the experience of someone in Prince Edward Island is going, is completely different than in Winnipeg, Manitoba, completely different than British Columbia.

It’s learning what people in those areas are doing well, what they need help with and what could I help promote. I was really lucky I got to work alongside the BC Epilepsy Society. I am a voice international campaign for epilepsy awareness and I’ve been able to work on getting more funding for research from governments, learning about different programs. As well as we’re just in the process of launching something called Epilepsy-friendly Workplaces, which is going to be a training program specifically for different businesses.

Alice: That’s wonderful. Were you traveling around working on all your different platforms?

Christine: Yes. I did get to go- with pageants are two sides of it and I always make sure whenever someone asked me about, “Oh, I’m thinking of doing a pageant, what’s it like?”, I always say be prepared to win and know that there’s two sides to it.

One, there’s the side that everyone sees, which is the parades and the photos, the hair and makeup, and all that fancy stuff, that’s what people think of when they think in pageants. But there’s also this amazing platform that gives you a voice and gives you an opportunity to work with organizations and help so many people, it’s about making sure that you use that to the maximum of your ability.

Immediately, I contacted different epilepsy organizations and mental health organizations across Canada and I’ve had the opportunity to visit or work with most of them.

Alice: I know that you founded your own mental health organization, Faces of Mental Illness. Talk about that, have you been working on it as Miss Canada as well?

Christine: Yes, unfortunately, it has taken a bit of a backseat this year but I’ve got big plans coming within the next year with it and putting it together with another project that I’m working on. Yes, I founded FOMI in 2011. At that point, and this is right after I finished the first round of the Miss BC pageant so you can see it really led right into this, but I was just coming out of my own mental health struggles with depression, anxiety, and disordered eating.

I was looking around for a community and services for young adults and I found that there really wasn’t any, there wasn’t anywhere I could go, anyone I could talk to or anyone who even could give me some tips on how to de-stress in school and that sort of thing. You could of course go to counseling, therapists, but there wasn’t a community, and that’s really what I wanted to create when I started working on this.

I’ve had the opportunity to help create programs in universities, high schools all across Canada and put in different tools for people to be able to implement, which is really cool.

Alice: That’s amazing. Do you have suggestions on how anyone can help with mental health? 

Christine: I think when it comes to your own mental health, the biggest thing is remembering that it’s okay to be selfish when it comes to your health. Especially that’s something I had to almost re-learn this year because being invited to go to so many events and travel so much it’s a lot on your health, so I had to learn that was okay for me to take time to myself. If I want to stay at home on a Friday night, have a glass of wine in a bubble bath and have some me time, that’s okay.

It’s literally my best de-stressor. I think it’s also we have to learn. We’re at the point in our society where we’re openly now talking about mental health and we know that it’s there, but we are not having those tough discussions with people on, “Well, I see that you’re struggling, what can I do to help you?”, especially in workplaces, it’s something that’s not discussed.

Mental health is not included in a lot of sick day policies. It’s about talking to your employer and say, “This is something that I struggle with, we know scientifically that this is an illness like any other and I just want you to know that I will be taking six days if I have to”.

Alice: Fascinating. What are you going to do in your next year as Miss Canada, forever, of course, but what will you do after this?

Christine: Yes. It’s funny because everyone keeps asking me that, everyone has always asked me what’s next, and what’s next, and what’s next, even when I was doing Miss BC and Miss Canada, was, “What are you doing? What’s next?” and my answer is honestly I don’t know. My biggest thing is I want to continue to make the world a better place. I want to continue to fill the needs that I see. Expanding the Epilepsy-friendly Workplace Program, expanding Faces of Mental Illness.

We’re going to be working on doing something with domestic violence victims in accordance with mental health and providing self-defense training. There’s just so much going on and there’s never any, “This is what I’m doing” it’s I want to keep going and I want to keep doing everything. On a bigger level though, this year I did competed internationally.

Alice: That’s amazing.

Christine: Yes, I competed at Miss Continents down in Las Vegas in the summer. I came second runner up, which is really cool. I am looking at doing another pageant within the next two years, I don’t know if it’ll be this year or next year, but somewhere within that span that’s in my picture. Of course, wedding planning, that takes up a lot more time than I ever thought it would, I don’t know why it does. Yes, there’s just so much going on.

Alice: That’s amazing. Also speaking of doing it all, I know you’re also a dog advocate. I read that you saved over a hundred dogs lives through fostering, can you talk about getting into that? Do you have a dog yourself?

Christine: My Goodness, I have three dogs and two cats. My fiancee told me I’m not allowed anymore, so I decide to foster instead. For me, I feel very akin to animals and I think the saying that for a dog they’re just one part of your life, but for them you’re their entire life, and it goes the same for a cat, it’s so true. When I had the opportunity to foster, of course I said yes.

We work with a couple of different local rescues and we get dogs that are both local surrenders or from areas such as Texas, California and Mexico. Those are the three big areas that have an abundance of high kill shelters. What that means is a dog has 72 hours from the time that it enters to the time that is put down. The organizations that we work with go in and save their lives, bring them up here and we are the middle people that helps them find a happy loving home.

It’s been quite a journey, we’ve had over a hundred different dogs. Each one comes with a different set of challenges and a different personality. It’s amazing to see them go from most the time very shy, malnourished dogs that don’t quite know what to think about you to grow into these things that all they want love and attention and they’re just so thankful.

Alice: That’s wonderful, congratulations on that. My gosh, it’s amazing work. Big thing that we talked about on this podcast, rearing back to humans I guess, what is womanhood and what is that to you? I think it’s a constantly changing definition that could change the next second, but what is it to you right now?

Christine: Yes, that’s definitely such a big question that encompasses so much. One of the things that I’ve stuck with over the past two years is helping women step into leadership positions. That doesn’t mean always the business world, though that can be that, but it also just means leadership within your life. It means stepping into yourself and stepping up to the plate and saying, “This is who I am and this is what I want to do”.

I think us as women for a long time, we have stepped back from the table and stepped away and said, “It’s okay, we’re going to let other people make choices for us”, but I think at this point womanhood is stepping up and making those choices for ourselves, being full women and accomplishing amazing things in our lives.

Alice: That’s amazing and it sounds like you’re doing all those things, doing it all. If a woman were to just pass you on the street and you had 30 seconds to give her your best piece of advice, what would it be? About anything.

Christine: Don’t be afraid to be the change maker. A lot of times we sit and we say, “Well, things are the way they are because that’s the way that it is, and that’s the way that it’s always been.” I hear that so much, my dad used to say it all the time when I was growing up, “That’s the way it is, Christine.” Okay, well, things are the way they are because we as a society made them that way, that doesn’t mean that’s the way that they have to stay. It’s okay to be the one who’s standing up and saying, “I don’t think this is okay, I want to change this”.

Alice: Yes, that’s awesome. It seems you’re changing the world one dog at a time, one platform at a time, all of the mental illness education that you’re bringing to all these different universities and high schools, so keep going.

Christine: Thank you.

Alice: Take it all up. Is there anything else you’d like to add to our listeners?

Christine: I think the biggest thing is just taking charge of your life, then saying yes to opportunities. I think that was the biggest thing that in the past few years for me has completely changed my life. I never saw myself as a pageant girl, I never saw myself as Miss Canada, I never saw myself doing modeling, or doing all this different stuff that now just it’s part of who I am. I [inaudible] saying yes to opportunities in your life and not being afraid.

Alice: That’s amazing. Thank you so much for being on, Christine.

Christine: Of course, thank you so much for having me.

Alice: It was so lovely to have you.

About the author

Alice Cash is the Marketing Manager for Jubilance by day and an award winning Theatre Director by night.  Leading the podcast Weekly Woman, she loves her candid conversations with women from all over the world about how they live and the amazing things they are doing to make a difference. Alice is also the editor of the bi-monthly newsletter the Jubilee, a blog dedicated to the power of female wellness especially concerning menstruation.  She’s worked in France creating theatre pieces and taught drama and filmmaking to women and children in Haiti.  She graduated from Georgetown University and holds two master degrees from NYU and The New School.  Alice has traveled to  40+ countries, including Tibet.  She is a New Yorker and can often be found in Central Park, searching out the best bubble tea, or directing a play, you never know where she’ll show up. @alicesadventuresinwonderworld
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