She doesn’t actually smoke weed, but Canada’s Miss Universe competitor will be repping cannabis hard during the upcoming beauty pageant.
Alyssa Boston, 24, of Tecumseh, Ontario was selected to compete in Miss Universe after a competition held in Toronto in August.
“I was in so much shock and I could see all my family members in the audience jumping up and down,” Boston said in a phone interview.
Boston, who has been competing in pageants since she was 17, said each of the 92 Miss Universe contestants will be given a platform. Hers is focused on ending stigmas around competing in pageants, mental illness, and weed.
Boston said part of her introduction video will be dedicated to cannabis, and that “there will be a surprise on the final show of something to do with cannabis.”
Asked if she’s worried about being associated with a substance that is still banned in most countries, Boston said it’s definitely a risk. But the lingering stigma around weed is exactly what she hopes to confront.
“No one wants to talk about it, cause you’re right, it’s a drug, how could a beauty queen speak about a drug? Those two things just don’t work together,” she said. “I think that’s the biggest point is to have somebody who’s not in the industry talk about it and it could really open the eyes of a whole different group of people.”
Boston said growing up she was influenced by that stigma. She doesn’t consume cannabis and said she likely only would if it was prescribed to her for medical reasons.
“I didn’t understand why people would ever use it,” she said. “I do like to follow the laws so I wouldn’t think about it before it was legal but now that it’s legal it really opens the eyes up to all these new potential customers.”
She said her views have changed since cannabis was legalized, and she’s also starting to change the minds of her parents.
To prep for the December 8 pageant, Boston, who has a business degree, visited Aphria’s grow in Leamington, Ontario this week. She was fascinated by how large the facility was and the fact that it had opened up hundreds of jobs. She also learned more about how weed helps patients.
“They were telling us a story about a girl in the UK who they provide CBD to who has epilepsy and her seizures went from 20 to only one a day. So it’s pretty amazing to see and hear stuff like that too.”
Last year’s Miss Universe winner, Catriona Gray of the Philippines, said she supported medical cannabis legalization. The country’s House of Representatives later passed a bill in favour of legal medical weed. In 2015, Miss Universe Australia Monika Radulovic said she supported legal weed in some circumstances; she was eliminated following that question round.
Boston said she feels ready for the competition.
“I’m so excited,” she said. “It’s pretty intense and it’s very challenging, but I feel pretty good about it.”