Former Northwest B.C. resident, Brandi Hansen, has edged out thousands of contestants to become a semi-finalist in the 2019 Maxim Cover Girl Canada contest. But it’s not her skin getting the attention of voters, it’s her unconventional message: you don’t have to wear next-to-nothing to be recognized as attractive and successful.
Hansen, 42, decided to enter the competition and sent the men’s magazine photos of herself hiking, climbing glaciers and flying planes instead of the expected skimpy bikini photos.
“I thought, I’m going to go against the grain with this because I want to break that [pattern of] whoever has the least amount of clothes on is going to win,” she says.
“Forget it, man. I’m going to teach my daughter that you can pioneer your own path and still accomplish and achieve your goals.”
The Penticton-based mother, pilot and outdoor enthusiast lived for 10 years in Terrace and Northwest B.C. She owned a hair cutting business in Terrace, was an active search and rescue member, and often fished in the Skeena and Kalum rivers.
“If you’re into the great outdoors, then Terrace is definitely one of the best places in British Columbia to live,” Hansen says.
To make it to her current standing, she was first chosen amongst thousands of submissions. She flew past the first and second elimination round, securing enough public votes to place first and qualify for the semi-finals.
Hansen is currently in second-place in her semi-finalist group with one hundred contestants in 12 groups remaining. Voting continues until tomorrow, June 13.
If she wins, Hansen says she wants to donate the full $10,000 prize to create four $2,000 scholarships for young women in aviation, with hopes it will help “smash the glass ceiling” in the profession. The remaining $2,000 will go to B.C. Search and Rescue.
“That’s a huge goal of mine, to get more women in the aviation industry,” Hansen says. She says she wants to get both her commercial pilot’s licence and instructor’s rating so she can teach others and possibly open up a flight school in Terrace.
And if she does grace Maxim’s next cover, Hansen says she will take a more classic approach with the photoshoot.
“I’d be more inclined to do a classic-style, retro pin-up with some vintage airplanes,” she says, adding it is paramount for her to have creative freedom with how she wants to represent herself. If Maxim says no, she says she’ll say no to the photoshoot.
Securing first-place will be challenging in a crowd of professional models and social media influencers. Voters also have the option to buy more than their one-vote daily limit, with the proceeds going to charity.
But even if Hansen doesn’t move forward to the finals, she is happy to know her message got out.
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“Every single Maxim you walk past in the store, what is it? It’s a pretty girl on the front with a bedroom backdrop in lingerie. Surprise me, guys. Do something innovative,” she says. She says she’s received comments from parents and others encouraging and thanking her for her efforts.
“I call it “role-modelling” because I think it’s important for both women and men to realize that it’s not about who looks the sexiest, who’s got the least amount of clothes on. You don’t have to follow the crowd to create your own path.”
To vote for Hansen, visit this website.