Miss Universe Canada Siera Bearchell on Self-Love, Business & Law
In a transparent interview with Elle, Siera Bearchell opened up about her struggles with her body image and talked about how she learned to love herself, despite other people’s expectations and standards.
While competing in competitions, the pressure from others lead Siera to watch her diet meticulously. Some days, Siera found herself only eating one protein bar – half in the morning and half later on. On a good day, Siera added a chicken breast and greens to that meal plan.
Eventually, Siera decided enough was enough. She stopped comparing herself to other women taller than her and smaller than her and she decided to love herself unconditionally.
Today, she does her best to remind other girls and women that they do know have to compromise their identity and values to please other people. Like Ashley Graham, she aspires to be the role model that she wants to have. Siera wants to show women that beautiful comes in different sizes and packages.
When she is not competing or training for pageants, Siera manages her apparel line, Watered Down Apparel and attends law school. Dive into our interview to learn how she keeps up with all of her responsibilities and the advice she has for combating comparison.
In your interview with Elle, you spoke a lot about how you compromised who you are in the past to fit other people's expectations for your body image. If you could go back a few years and give your younger self some advice, what would you have told yourself to get through those tough moments?
Looking back, I would have told myself to love and accept myself for who I was at whatever stage in life I was in. I felt as though if I didn't fit a certain size and weight, I was not good enough. I constantly battled between crash dieting and eating whatever I wanted and I did not have a healthy relationship with food. The times I have felt my best and been the most confident are when I have been working out, training and running to reach fitness goals rather than to look a certain way. As a compliment, I choose to eat healthy to support my training. When the goals have to do with health and fitness and becoming stronger, the positive self-image follows.
Watered Down Apparel stands for amazing values. When did you first become passionate about the earth and water, and what sparked that passion?
I have always had compassion for the earth and animals. We often forget that we are merely living beings on a huge planet that orbits around the sun. It is so easy to forget to step outside, look up at the stars and realize how amazing this life is. I care about protecting the planet for future generations, and I also care about helping those who lack access to some of the basic necessities in life - water and education. I traveled to Kenya, Africa to help build a school for Free The Children and witnessed firsthand the need for clean water and education.
What advice do you have for the many women who want to follow in your footsteps and become successful business owners?
For anyone to be successful in business, you have to be passionate about what you're "selling." If you love what you do, others will buy into that energy. Passion keeps us going.
What has been your biggest obstacle on your journey to success?
The biggest obstacle I have encountered is remaining true to myself. Whether in business or pageants, I have found the most success when I remained true to who I was. It is easy to crumble under the pressure of others and put our dreams on hold due to fear. My advice is to be fearful of not chasing your dreams and goals, don’t allow fear to stand in your way.
What made you interested in becoming a law student, and what do you want to do with your law degree?
I wanted to learn the skills needed to be an advocate for others. Whether it be in business, law, the courtroom, the UN or the House of Commons, I wanted to learn the skills necessary to stand up for what I believe in; to argue my points and to create influence. Law school is not about learning the law, but rather learning the skills needed to think and speak like an influencing advocate.
How do you balance Watered Down Apparel, law school, and pageant training for Miss Universe?
I have so many passions and interests and it can be difficult to balance it all. However, when we have passion for something, it is easier to work towards our goals associated with that passion. I am currently taking a leave of absence from my legal studies to focus on my duties with Miss Universe Canada.
When you have free time away from all of your responsibilities and commitments, how do you like to let your hair down? What things do you to relax and practice self-care?
Two of my favorite things to do to find a sense of calm are running and yoga. Unfortunately, both have been hard to fit in with my hectic schedule, but they allow me to re-focus on my goals and remember why I love to do what I do. I also tend to come up with my best ideas while running. Finally, the sense of accomplishment one feels after a good yoga practice or run instantly boosts self-love and self-confidence.
Given that social media contains so many beautiful women, including yourself, what advice do you have for women who compare themselves to today's beauty standards?
Love yourself for who you are. We live in a world that profits off of our insecurities and in this day and age, there is not just one standard of beauty anymore. I encourage women to stand up for what they believe in, to love themselves for who they are and to lean in to the opportunities they have always aspired to achieve.
Want more of Siera? Keep up with her on Instagram, @sierabearchell.