Janelle Russo

20 | Height: 5’8″
Hometown: Vernon, BC

Janelle was born in Kona, Hawaii, raised in the small town of Vernon, British Columbia which she considers to be her home. Although her parents’ divorced at a young age she never felt abandoned or unloved because her mother’s family was always very positive and supportive.

This gave her a perspective of the significance of family values, acceptance, and morals. Looking back she can see how much of an influence her upbringing has been in regards to her life experiences.

Janelle has travelled many places not only for her past modeling career but also for volunteer work and vacations. Various places such as Hawaii, North Carolina, California, Mexico, England, Poland, Japan, and Korea have all shaped her into who she is today.

In each destination she gained valuable cross cultural experiences which have enlightened and broadened her respect towards their traditions; making each of her encounters unique in its own way.

In her spare time Janelle enjoys listening to music, baking, practicing piano, fitness, swimming, loving her pets, and spending time with family, and friends. Janelle is very accepting of others but takes pleasure in surrounding herself with positive and caring people.

Janelle enjoys helping people feel good about their self and self image. Therefore, she plans to have a career as a medical esthetician; performing various skin treatments such as chemical peels, Botox, laser hair removal and much more. Janelle believes beauty itself is not about surgical procedures but about being unique in your own way and taking care of your body inside and out.

Another strong influence in Janelle’s life was being raised closely to her grandparents, learning and understanding at a young age her grandfather’s disability due to many heart attacks and strokes. If Janelle were to be chosen as Miss Universe Canada she would use this platform to raise awareness for heart disease and stroke. Janelle hopes to inspire individuals to make donations toward the Heart & Stoke Foundation, a non-profit organization, in achieving their mission of creating lives free of heart disease and stroke.

Sponsored by: Earls Restaurant – Vernon, Steel Toes Workwear Specialists, Strandz HairSalon, Dr. John & Anne Crowley, H.M Krause Jewellers, Punisher Taining, Fitness West, MC College – Vernon, Just For You Spa and Salon, Okanagan Woman Magazine, Shannon Spilsbury – Vernon, Family and Friends.

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

Only English

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

I enjoy swimming, piano, music, art, baking, fitness, biking, spending time with friends/family, and travelling.

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

In the past I’ve been in Hip Hop dance class, drama class, swimming lessons, and am currently re-learning piano.

In what sports, if any, have you participated?

Swimming lessons grade 1-12, Bronze Cross (first aid), Bronze Cross Medallion (higher level first aid), and rollerblading.

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

My grandparents have had a big influence on my life. They have a strong relationship and believe family, faith, and values come first above all.

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

Achieving my goal of becoming an international model at the age of 14 and travelling to Tokyo, Japan, living independently.

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

I enjoy helping people feel good about their self and self image. Therefore, I plan to have a career as a medical esthetician; performing various skin treatments such as chemical peels, Botox, laser hair removal and much more. Beauty itself is not about surgical procedures but about being unique in your own way and taking care of your body inside and out. I plan to attend college for this specific field following the Miss Universe Canada pageant.

What would be your “dream job” in life?

My dream job would be to work under supervision of an extremely talented doctor that believes beauty also comes from within. Possibly travelling to different parts of the world to see what kind of natural substances can be found in my field of study.

Are you currently a student?


Are you currently employed?


If yes, what is your occupation?

Hostess and food runner at Earls Restaurant, soon to become a server.

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

I was born in Kona, Hawaii and moved to Vernon, British Columbia due to my parents’ divorce. I was raised in a close and loving family; my grandmother and grandfather have always had a large impact in my life because they live in our basement suit. I have travelled to North Carolina and lived there for two years. Here I learnt to rollerblade, took karate, and swam in the ocean almost every day. Shortly after my mother remarried we moved back to Canada, to help my grandmother take care of my grandfather who has become disabled due to his heart attacks and strokes. At 13 I was inspired by the Victoria’s Secret models and made it my goal to become an international model. Thanks to my mother’s help and motivational words this dream became true.

After attending Model and Talent Search Canada I obtained an agency in Vancouver. Shortly after my 14th birthday I travelled to Tokyo, Japan and resided there for a total of three months. During my stay I experienced a new culture, navigating my way independently throughout a big new city to get to my clients. I lived with one other model from another part of the world and educated myself in managing my finances. While in Tokyo I completed various photo shoots such as cosmetics, undergarments, fashion, hair, and was on the Japanese shopping channel for sportswear. I returned to Tokyo, Japan again for three months when I was 15 and celebrated my 16th birthday there. This culture is truly amazing they’re very entertaining and always interactive with foreigners. At 17 I went to Seoul, Korea for two months and shared a small apartment with five models. I found this culture to be much more reserved and business oriented, but still enjoyed my stay. Here I had a spread in a home shopping magazine for lingerie and undergarments.

List any volunteering you have done.

When I was nine years old I volunteered at church to help with the Sunday school program.

At the age of 12 I volunteered at the local Vernon Veterinary Clinic because of my love for animals and also to get an experience of the possible future career I considered. After my year of volunteering I found this field exciting, but not for me.

The day after my 19th birthday I travelled to London, England to do volunteer work. Here I volunteered weekly at the Upper Room Mission, greeting the less fortunate and help serve a free hot dinner. I also had various conversations with people in the dangerous parts of London. My experience was amazing; I was able to help a prostitute get off the streets and out of the business. Due to this experience the group I was with decided to start an ongoing program in this specific area of London. I also participated in the famous Nottinghill Carnival.

Next I travelled with the same group to Rudaslaska, Poland where we stayed in a middle school and donated a beautiful work of art we had created to inspire the students. While here I was touched and overwhelmed with emotion during our visit the concentration camp, Auschwitz 1 and 2.

Where is the most interesting place you have been to? 

Out of all the places I have travelled to I believe Tokyo, Japan is the most interesting. The culture is so versatile and friendly, not to mention I love sushi! During my stay in Japan I was able to travel to Mt. Fuji, it was absolutely breathe taking and beautiful.

What do you hope to be doing in ten years? 

In ten years I hope to reach my goal of aspiring to become a medical esthetician and be living comfortably in a beautiful house by the beach. Occasionally travelling to new places to gain knowledge about cultures and explore different areas of the world.