Jessica Leona

Height: 5’9″
Hometown: Vancouver, BC

Jessica is passionate about active involvement within her community. She advocates self-acceptance, the importance of setting goals, and striving for self-betterment. As a child she participated in ballet and theatre but diverted her focus toward sport. At a young age she trained as a competitive swimmer and represented Canada at international competitions around the world. At 16 years old she began working as a lifeguard and became a registered fitness instructor. She has taught children, adults, and individuals with disabilities how to swim. She often volunteered her swim instruction with the Red Cross of Canada, believing that everyone should be given the opportunity to learn how to swim and for the sake of safety no one should ever be denied a basic swimming lesson.

Dedicated to athletics Jessica has taught fitness, aerobic, and rehabilitative classes after earning certification within the areas of kinesiology and nutrition. Working closely with clients allowed her to help improve their health, body image, and overall lifestyle. After high school she continued to pursue sport certification. Coaching springboard diving and competitive swimming granted her the opportunity to mentor youth and help in building self-esteem within the next generation. She strongly believes that children should be taught that they matter and that they are all important, as this gesture builds confidence within youth. This affirmation aids in the creation of positive and strong communities in that confident children grow into self-assured adults.

After completing Cosmetology studies at college she changed her direction in academics and applied to university. She is now a student at the University of British Columbia obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours. She engages in a balance between scholastic, practical, and artistic efforts. Having been involved in the Vancouver film industry from a young age she has recently put to use her experience on movie sets to better humanity. She believes film is not only entertaining but also educational and she strives to produce work which evokes a positive change within people. Behind the camera she is a dedicated producer’s assistant working for directors with Ending Abuse Media and MADD, creating ad campaigns based on lives which have been impacted by crime.

Through service as a volunteer she has explored ethical principles and experienced the sensation of benevolence. For many years she has been predominantly dedicated to delivering food and clothing to individuals suffering from poverty on the streets of Vancouver, an opportunity she describes as humbling. This year Jessica was privileged to have worked with an amazing team while bringing the 2015 Action Poverty Conference to British Columbia. She would like to broaden her volunteer efforts and visit countries which are developing, contributing her service in aid. If she earns the position of Miss Universe Canada 2015 she would like to use her title to advocate amongst Canadian citizens the importance of donating time and initiating involvement within their communities.

Sponsors:

Marjorey B Cosmetics, Mark Anthony Group, Ultra Glow Tanning LoungeJealousy Nails & Spa, Mattbox Media – Matthew Campbell (Film Director), Smiles and Laughter Entertainment, Friends & Family

Languages spoken fluently (please include your native language if English is not your native language).

English + studying Spanish

What are your interests and what do you enjoy doing the most?

I enjoy entertaining company; spending time with my family and friends is very important to me. My interests include surfing, snowboarding, kayaking, camping, volunteering, poetry, yoga, travel, fashion, landscape photography/painting, attending the theatre, food & beverage pairing.

List any special training you have had (music, art, drama, dance, etc.)

  • National Coaching Association Program
  • BCRPA Fitness/Aerobics Instructor
  • LSAT Test Preparation
  • Lifeguarding
  • First Aid
  • CPR/AED
  • Self Defense
  • Lighting Design
  • On-Camera Acting Classes
  • Modeling
  • Various Methods of Theatre Actor & Director Training
  • Voice-Over Training
  • Choir & Guitar
  • Cosmetology: Makeup Artistry & Hair Design
  • Public Speaking
  • Ballet & Various Dance Forms

In what sports, if any, have you participated?
I have participated in competitive swimming, springboard/platform diving, water polo, track & field, basketball, dance team, pageantry, rock climbing, archery, volleyball, wrestling, kickboxing, triathlon, strength & weight training.

Name one person, other than your parents, who has had the most influence on your life. Why?

Catherine, my youngest sibling, has had the most influence on my life. She has always been the one person I have felt confident in asking for advice. Her guidance means the world to me. Even when I haven’t taken her advice she has supported me in the decisions I have made because she has accepted me for who I am, as I am. She has taught me how to love unconditionally and inspired me to accept new experiences, which has contributed to my personal growth. I know that I have her support everyday and we will be able to rely on each other for the rest of our lives.

What is your proudest personal accomplishment (other than participating in this pageant)?

My proudest personal accomplishment is having become a lifeguard and certified fitness instructor at the age of 16. I felt empowered teaching individuals how to swim, responding to emergencies, and helping people change their lives for the healthier through guiding clients in fitness routine.

What is the most interesting or unique thing that has ever happened to you and/or what is the most interesting thing about you?

The most unique thing to have ever happened to me occurred during a summer camping trip along the Pacific coastline. One evening, my friends and I noticed the ocean seemed to be glowing as though there were ultraviolet lights in the water. It was late at night but we put on our bikinis and jumped into the waves. With every movement we made the water glistened with a superior sparkle of light. This rare natural phenomenon is called a bioluminescent bloom and it is produced by Noctiluca scintillans found in the shallow waters of continental shelves. I will never forget having swum under the starry sky in a phosphorescent tide of the Pacific Ocean.

I would say that the most interesting thing about me is that I had my first job when I was 5 years old. It was my first pay cheque, my first experience on a movie set, and the reason I opened my first bank account.

What is your career ambition and what are you doing or plan to do to accomplish that goal?

I would like to obtain my JD degree and instruct Theatre Studies at the university level. I am currently completing my Bachelor of Arts degree and will be applying to a graduate program.

What would be your “dream job” in life?

To be the first ambassador from British Columbia in almost a complete decade to represent Canada at the Miss Universe Pageant.

Are you currently a student?
Yes

If yes, where?
The University of British Columbia

Area of study:
Bachelor of Arts (Hons.)

Are you currently employed?
Yes

If yes, what is your occupation?

Associate Producer

Describe where you were raised and what your childhood was like.

I was raised in the suburbs of Vancouver in a little beach town. I had a very busy childhood. I was a Canadian Olympic prospect as I had become a national competitive swimmer at a young age. I would wake up very early, commute into the city of Vancouver to attend swim practice, transit to school, bus back into the city after school to attend another swim practice, and do it all again the next day. I would often practice at the UBC campus and travel internationally in competition. My routine as a child trained me in how to manage time, set goals, work hard, appreciate solitude, work with influential people of all ages, experience various cultures, navigate Greater Vancouver, and travel around the world all before graduating from high school.

List any interesting or unusual jobs you may have had.

  • Stunt double in a movie as the 12th century female Samurai warrior Tomoe Gozen. I worked with pyrotechnics, hazer machines, and rode on top of boats. This is the only job I have ever had that has required me to wear a pair of daisho swords on my back!
  • Associate producer at an innovative media company (charitable organization) which has partnered with the City of Surrey to bring Domestic Violence Awareness into our communities through the use of social media and the production of campaign ads/film.
  • I have been a model for various companies but it was unique to have worked for Lise Watier because they are a prominent Canadian company.

List any volunteering you have done.

  • Aga Khan Foundation
  • Amnesty International UBC
  • BC Children’s Hospital
  • BC Women’s Hospital Foundation + Health Centre Foundation
  • Beneath One Sky
  • Canadian Red Cross
  • Community Living Society
  • Ending Abuse Media
  • Federation Internationale de Natation
  • Firefighters Charitable Foundation
  • Food Banks Canada
  • LET’S International Charitable Association
  • Lions Gate Hospital Foundation
  • Obakki Foundation
  • Operation Smile
  • Poverty Action Conference
  • Smiles & Laughter Entertainment
  • Surrey Women’s Centre
  • UBC AGAPE Street Missions
  • Zajac Ranch for Children

What is your most unusual talent?

Aerial Hoop Acrobatics

Where is the most interesting place you have been to?

Buckingham Palace in London, England.

What do you hope to be doing in ten years?

In ten years I hope to be instructing studies at a reputable university, engaging in entrepreneurial initiatives, and committed to providing aid while visiting countries in need of outreach.

Is there anything you would like to add that we haven’t asked?

I would like to say “Hello” to everyone across Canada and ask that we all respect each other regardless of our differences, or similarities, because embracing diversity is the entity of what makes being a Canadian beautiful!

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