Casendre Paquet

 

Age: 22 | Height: 5’6″
Hometown: Saint-Laurent, QC

 

Born and raised in Montreal, Casendre comes from a multicultural family with a lot of backgrounds, including Dominican, Haitian, Israeli, German, British and many various others.  But to simplify things, she’s half Haitian and English.

When she was a little girl, she used to dream about becoming a movie star. So to be able to fulfill her dream, Casendre’s parents enrolled her into an art school, where she learned how to express her feelings through acting and painting. Then, when she got a bit older, like many other girls, her dream changed.

At 15 years old, she moved to West Africa, Benin with her family, where they lived for a couple of years.  All the images that were shown on television about African countries were mostly about poverty and unlikely landscapes. Casendre, was terrified!  Not only because of that, but also because she was about to leave behind her all friends and family.

She thought that she was going to be living in a small house in the middle of nowhere and perhaps made of wood. Once she arrived and saw the enormous villa in which she was about to live in for the next 3 years, and the community surrounding her, she was speechless. Africa wasn’t like all theses awful images which were shown on television.

Indeed, it was a beautiful and interesting country! It may not have been similar to Montreal, but it was sure better than what she’d expected it to be.   She attended two of the best schools in Benin with different educational systems in which she obtained her BAC and IGCSE diplomas. Meanwhile, even thought she was living “the life”, it didn’t keep her from noticing how most of the local people were living in property!  What really saddened her was when she saw a little girl, approximatively 8 years old, carrying a huge and heavy basket of fruits on her head at the market. She was probably working for her family’s sake, instead of being a child and attending school. This made Casendre realize how unfair life was - no child deserves to be forbidden of having a childhood or even attending school.

What she will always remember and cherish in her heart from this experience are the people, coming from all the different countries that she met during her stay. Furthermore, what she enjoyed was also taking the time to visit and explore what Africa had to offer. This involved going on a lifetime trip to Pendjari (safari park in the North of Benin), being able to visit Togo and also some of Ghana’s history.

Beneath all this, the impact of living in Africa not only made her grow up and see life from a different angle, but it also got her into realizing what she really wanted to do with hers: become a journalist. This experience gave Casendre the passion of wanting to learn more by traveling, discovering places and writing my experiences through writing.  She believes Africa is where her life actually started!

Sponsored by: Sandals and Beaches, Marcel Bergeron: criminologist/security expert (M.S.C/C.S.M), Éric Cyr: personal trainer/ yoga teacher, Robert Paquet photograph, Alain Trudeau photograph, Tea & Mate, Family and Friends.

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

I fluently speak, write and read in French and in English.

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

What I enjoy to do the most is traveling, discovering new cultures and meeting new people from all around the world.

I personally think that we can never learn enough. Every day, we just keep on learning more and more.

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

My special training involve: acting, modeling, singing, art (painting) and writing.

In what sports, if any, have you participated?

I have not participated in any sports. Although, I do train a lot at the gym because I do think it is very important to work out to be healthy and in a good shape.

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

The person who I’d say would have had the most influence other than my parents, is my aunt, because, even though she has been battling almost her entire life against and many diseases (breast cancer), it didn’t kept her from continuing to enjoy life.

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

The proudest accomplishment, other than having the opportunity in participating to this pageant, is being able to finish a book that I’ve been working on for over 3 years now. Although, I haven’t decided yet what I’ll do with it.

Now, why is it my proudest accomplishment? Well, simply because, I’d never thought, although I know that I have the capacity of writing beautiful poems and texts, that I’d be able to finish such a huge project.  This encourages me into persevering more into life.

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

I’d say that the most interesting thing that as ever happened to me was the opportunity of going to live in West Africa (Benin). Now why? Because I had one big chance among many others to experience what living outside of Canada was like. But, mostly because it got me into seeing how lucky I was to be standing where I am today. In other words, to be living a life that many people in this world would give anything just to have (for example: being able to go to school and have a good education).

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

My career ambition is to become a well-known journalist, respected for her devoted work. Furthermore, I also plan in the future to write books for children’s and perhaps go into politics.

What would be your “dream job” in life?

My dream job would definitely be having the opportunity in working as a journalist for a big television network company such as CTV or Radio-Canada.

Are you currently a student? If yes, where?

I am currently a student in social sciences at Lasalle College in Montreal. This is my last trimester.

Are you currently employed?

I am currently unemployed due to the fact that I’ve decided to focus more on achieving my other goals and finishing my studies.

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

I was born in Montreal in 1989. This makes me 22 years old of age. I was raised as a unique child mostly by my mother since my parents got divorced when I was very young. Although, I was the only one among all my friends who her parents were separated, it didn’t keep me from living a happy life, and  I was surrounded with a lot of love from all my family members.  Furthermore, when I was a little girl, my dream was to become a well-known actress and singer. As you know,  most of young girls have the same interests!  So, because of that, my parents decided to put me into an art school where I leaned how to express my feelings trough acting and painting; and over the years, I started to develop my skills in writing.  This got me where I am today.

List any interesting or unusual jobs you may have had. 

I haven’t really had the chance to work much since I’ve turned 16, because I was living in West Africa for 3 years. But I have to say that the most interesting and enjoyable job I had was when I was about 18.  I was working at customer service for a big company in Canada (HBC). Now the question is why was it one unusual job?  Simply, because, I mostly enjoyed interacting with people; even though pressure was sometimes my worst enemy (as we all know, working in customer service can sometimes become stressful). Furthermore, I must also admit that this experience taught me to work under pressure; which is a very good thing, since I want to become a journalist.

List any volunteering you have done.

I haven’t done much volunteer work. but I got the chance to volunteer in «Le tour de l’île», which is an event that takes place every year in Montreal.

What is your most unusual talent?

One of my most unusual talents would apparently be that I have the capacity and the skills of transforming a common place text into something where words are refined.

Where is the most interesting place you have been?

The most interesting place that I’ve visited and also lived so far, was in Benin (West Africa). I lived there for over 3 years. This was a huge opportunity for me. Indeed, it made me grow up into being responsible and mature. Furthermore, it also showed me how lucky we are, as Canadians, to have food on our table, a roof over our heads, to be able to go to school, obtain a diploma and get a good job.

In résumé, it showed me: what reality was outside ofCanada, it made me discover new cultures and it also brought me into wanting to travel and learn more about what the world has to offer to us.

What do you hope to be doing in ten years?

In ten years I wish to be able to present the news on television, be writing books and traveling. Furthermore, I also hope to have the opportunity to enter politics and bring some of my acknowledge into making our nation a better country.

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

I’d like to add that the opportunity to participate to this pageant means a lot to me. Because, it shows me that everything is possible in life! Nothing is impossible! This only makes me want to go further in life and achieve all my goals!

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