Ashley Martel-Lepine is currently the sole delegate in all of Manitoba competing for the title of Miss Universe Canada. 

She has lived and been to many different places around the province including Steinbach, Ste. Anne, Marchand, Beausejour, and Winnipeg where she currently resides. 

Martel-Lepine says competing for Miss Universe is something she has always wanted to pursue. 

“Ever since I can remember it's always been a dream of mine to pursue, and I always let fear get in the way of that, so this year I decided to really take that chance and go after my dream.” 

She says becoming a contestant for Miss Universe Canada starts with a series of interviews. 

“And then once you pass that and they think you have what it takes, then you get an e-mail saying you're accepted.” 

She got the news back in February that she would be competing for the title. 

“I got the news and I was so excited, and they chose throughout 600 women across the country to compete for the title.” 

Miss Universe Canada is being held in Vancouver in August. 

If she wins Miss Universe Canada, she will be headed to Miss Universe in El Salvador in the following months. 

She says she has been doing a lot to prepare for the competition 

“It's such an overwhelming feeling but in the best way possible, there's so much that I've been doing and that's necessary to do between wardrobe, fitness, making sure that you know you're prepared for your interview,” she says. “We have a humanitarian topic that is chosen that we need to raise money for, and all of these things and you need to be prepared to compete.” 

She says this is all very new to her as this is her first pageant. 

“I have no previous experience so I'm really trying to do everything I can to prepare myself without knowing what's to come. I have a coach that's working with me, she's lovely.” 

Martel-Lepine says if she makes it to Miss Universe, she already knows what she would perform for the talent portion. 

“I would do a jingle dress dance. I have an Indigenous background, so I've really taken an interest in that recently and I think I could do really well.” 

Having it be her first time, she is looking forward to learning from this experience and having that self-development. 

She says she’s not only focused on the end destination, but celebrating the little wins throughout the journey. 

“I'm so excited and so proud of myself and I'm just taking every moment into consideration.” 

She gives advice to those hesitant on pursuing their dreams. 

“We all have that little voice in the back of our head telling us we can't do it. Just take that first step, it doesn't have to be something super big, but just a little step in the right direction to where you want to go,” she says. “Action is everything, because we can talk all day long about what we want to do, but if we're not taking action then our dreams are never going to happen. So we just need to move forward in what we want to do.” 

With files from Corny Rempel