Dancer, Model, Actress, Beauty Queen, First Nations Activist & Canadian “Women of the Year” – Ashley Callingbull didn’t just shred the pageant queen stereotype upon winning Mrs. Universe in Belarus this fall — she became a real force for change on First Nations issues in Canada and used her crown as a megaphone:
FROM‘PAGEANT GIRL’ TO POWERHOUSE
“Did you really think I was going to just sit there and look pretty? Definitely not. I have a title, a platform and a voice to make change and bring awareness to First Nations issues here in Canada.”
“Politics is just pageants in suits,” she says. “You’re being this ambassador, you’re telling people what they want to hear, you’re talking out of your ass.“
Ashley Callingbull is a 25-year-old from Enoch Cree Nation, just west of Edmonton. As the first Canadian and the first indigenous woman to win Mrs. Universe — a pageant for married women that judges contestants, in part, on their advocacy work — she knew she might get some media attention.
She lent her voice to the Rock the Indigenous Vote campaign and showed up at rallies and on social media to urge First Nations groups (some of whom have a voter-turnout rate of around 40 percent) to take control of their political destiny. Overnight, the unknown Cree woman became a spokesperson for First Nations issues. Nearly 122,000 people like her Facebook page, and when she posts political statements, they’re liked and shared thousands of times. Canadian political parties took notice.
In her brief time in the spotlight, she has observed the world of politics from a slightly closer vantage, and she’s come away unimpressed.
MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER & ROLE MODEL
Ashley Callingbull is very devoted to her culture and people, and takes pride in her Native Cree heritage, and has shown this through her volunteer work with community elders and aboriginal youth.
Ashley is also an international motivational speaker and role model for many educational institutions, workshops, conferences and award ceremonies. Ashley has spoken at Harvard University, Boston as the keynote speaker for an All Ivy Native Council, TED Talks and WE Day. Ashley’s hard work and charity work was recognized as she received the Role Model Award at the Dreamcatcher Gala and she also received the Top 20 Under 30 Award in Canada. Ashley also received a role model award from the United Nations in October 2015 for Global Dignity Day.
Ashley is currently the reigning Mrs Universe 2015 and a Canadian Activist for First Nations Rights and environmental causes in Canada. Ashley is also a spokesperson and model for the Nike N7 organization and currently stars in the Aboriginal Peoples’ Television Network show “Blackstone.”