Lebanese beauty in Miss Universe Canada contest

Lebanese beauty in Miss Universe Canada contest
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Twenty-one-year old Lebanese-Canadian beauty Rita Houkayem is up against 47 contestants at this year’s Miss Universe Canada. (AN photo)
Lebanese beauty in Miss Universe Canada contest
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Twenty-one-year old Lebanese-Canadian beauty Rita Houkayem is up against 47 contestants at this year’s Miss Universe Canada. (AN photo)
Lebanese beauty in Miss Universe Canada contest
3 / 4
Twenty-one-year old Lebanese-Canadian beauty Rita Houkayem is up against 47 contestants at this year’s Miss Universe Canada. (AN photo)
Lebanese beauty in Miss Universe Canada contest
4 / 4
Twenty-one-year old Lebanese-Canadian beauty Rita Houkayem is up against 47 contestants at this year’s Miss Universe Canada. (AN photo)
Updated 04 August 2018

Lebanese beauty in Miss Universe Canada contest

Lebanese beauty in Miss Universe Canada contest

JEDDAH: Twenty-one-year old Lebanese-Canadian beauty Rita Houkayem, who speaks three languages and runs her own driveway business, is up against 47 contestants at this year’s Miss Universe Canada.
The event will take place on Aug. 18, the winner of which will represent Canada in the Miss Universe 2018 finals in Bangkok at the end of this year.
Houkayem is a graduating student from the University of Toronto, double-majoring in international development studies and French and minoring in political science. Houkayem, who speaks English, French and Arabic, wants to work with children in developing countries, focusing on empowering young girls through education. Much like in her current job, at Oasis, a Toronto-based women’s center, where she is helping to organize an event for the International Day of the Girl that will take place in October.
Houkayem said growing up in an immigrant family in a multicultural country helped her to gain an appreciation for foreign culture, food, traditions and lifestyle.
“My childhood was filled with nothing but love and support from my parents and my younger brother,” she said in an interview on the Miss Universe Canada website. “Coming from a war-torn country at the time, they did their very best to expose us to a peaceful lifestyle. They raised us to be happy kids, to be respectful and kind individuals, and to appreciate everything life has to offer. They made every event, whether it was our birthday, Christmas or Easter, very special and exposed us to new places and people which made our lives more exciting.”
Houkayem is very involved as a volunteer, spending her time in schools, daycares and homes for the elderly. She tutors and mentors young girls and has spent the last three summers as a camp executive for her church.
“I am a person who loves to smile and make everyone around me smile. I strive to be an eternal optimist,” she said.
In 2009, she was awarded the Mayor’s Medal in 2009 for showing such leadership. She has many interests, which include dancing, singing, traveling, camping and hot yoga. “I enjoy watching plays and movies, dining out, trying new experiences and most importantly, spending time with my family and friends,” she added.
She considers her mother to be the most influential person in her life, in addition to her cousin. “She has inspired me to use my positive attitude and my ambitious and passionate personality to pursue my dreams,” she said.
Houkayem said her proudest personal accomplishment, other than participating in this pageant, is her own driveway-sealing business, which has proven to be successful.
“Although I do not have a background in business or in landscaping, I wanted to prove to myself that I can reach any goal I have. Once I have an idea in my head, no matter how far-fetched it may seem, I will not stop at anything.”
In the future, she hopes to create a non-profit organization that will work toward advancing children’s and women’s rights. “I want to work with people in need, inspire them and have them inspire me. I truly want to make a positive impact on people’s lives.”
People can vote for Houkayem on Miss Universe Canada’s website to help her win the pageant and the People’s Choice Award (http://missuniversecanada.ca/vote-2018/).