From “Quinn” to Queen: Overcoming Bullying to Become a Pageant Queen
Updated: Feb 21
We’ve all been feeling isolated these days, but try living on a small island off the coast of Western Canada with no indoor plumbing and no Internet. That was the better part of Quinn Teechma’s childhood until, her mother began taking her to Vancouver to pursue acting and modelling.
“I never thought too much about my growing up because to me, it was usual,” Teechma, now a successful photographer and social media influencer says. “Of course, moving to the bigger cities and having more conversations has made me realize it wasn’t the most usual upbringing!”
Though she was in ways sophisticated for her age–her family traveled extensively, including a jaunt to Nepal–Teechma learned not to stand out too much or risk attracting bullies. “When I first moved to a city school, it was difficult,” she remembers. “I was different and had little in common with my peers. When I wanted a hot bath, I was used to building a fire underneath a cast iron tub! I didn’t know what other kids were talking about when they’d discuss TV shows or games or certain toys. My teachers even made me feel different.”
Hoping to avoid odd looks or bullying, Teechma would say that she was from “Vancouver” or “Vancouver Island” if asked. She never mentioned the tiny cabin with no indoor plumbing where she’d been raised or that her sister had been born on a sailboat. But being evasive just added to her sense of alienation.
Finding self-confidence became a journey that led Teechma from acting and modelling to pageantry. She found beauty pageants to be far different than how they were portrayed. Teechma thrived on the preparation and discipline required of a beauty queen–learning how to be interviewed and present oneself, being creative. “It’s all about how you carry yourself,” she says.
Once she became successful, there were bullies who would try to push Teechma off her pedestal (naturally!) but this was a small price to pay for the self-awareness and tenacity she was gaining. “When you do these deep-dives into a self-reflective space, confidence follows,” Teechma says.
Recently the girl from the tiny island became a finalist for the title of Miss Universe Canada. In the press, she has been described as both regal and graceful. But she’d rather be known as inspiring, authentic and empowering.
“Knowing yourself deeply and standing up for your beliefs is what creates a strong woman,”
Teechma says. Her passion these days, she says, is making women feel like “the queens they are.” During the pandemic, Teechma opened Queen Studios YYC, a “boudoir” photo studio exclusively for women. A lot of her clients, she says, are single mothers coming out of abusive relationships. Most try to cancel a week ahead of time, scared that they’ll look fat or maybe convinced that they just don’t deserve to be sexy.
“They come in nervous,” Teechma says. After a professional makeover by a makeup artist, her clients are taught poses that will flatter their body. Teechma then takes all of the photos herself, booking three to five women a week. The idea for the shoots was borne of frustration that, as a model, she never had control of her image–or her images. “Now I can help other women discover their inner queen and capture that forever,” she says.
Teechma has recently moved on to helping other photographers start a successful “boudoir” photo studio for themselves. She’s christened this program, “Queen Collective: Six Figures in Six Months” in a nod to the financial success of her own business. She’s even hired a publicist to get her story into the media because she knows that when other women see the success she’s had, in spite of her humble beginnings, they may feel like success is attainable for themselves, too.
“I’d like them to wonder, ‘If she can do it, why can’t I?’” Teechma says.
Meanwhile, Teechma has also become involved with a number of official Miss Universe Pageant charities, including Operation Smile, SOS Children’s Villages and Habitat for Humanity. With a following of 600,000 fans on Tik Tok alone, she can now generate huge awareness for any cause she chooses.
Teechma credits her large (and growing!) fanbase to authenticity and an ability to connect with people, many of whom are also feeling like they live on a distant island after two years of lockdowns and self-isolation. Being a social media influencer is, in many ways, like walking the ultimate runway. You’re vulnerable in the spotlight but also in a unique position to inspire.
“Through acting and pageants I grew my confidence but it took internal work and continually takes work to be a role model,” Teechma says. “That’s why my goal is to empower other women–especially young women”.
Quinn Teechma is a Miss Universe Canada finalist and was crowned as Miss Canada International Tourism in 2020 and 2021. Quinn has dedicated her life to empowering and uplifting other women and has quickly evolved into an educator to teach others how to do the same thing. and using her many platforms, Tic Tok having over nearly 600,000 followers and more than 2 million likes, she is inspiring all people globally to create positive change in their own lives as well as in the lives of others.