After being crowned Ms. World 2018/19 in Seattle last year, Robbie Canner has proven that age really is just a number, from beating out beauties from 22 different countries aged 26 and up, to walking at the prestigious New York Fashion Week earlier this year in February as the world’s oldest model – Robbie is definitely a force to be reckoned with in the pageant industry!
Robbie started competing in pageants as a 57-year-old, after losing her son Scott, 22 to non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2011. After Scott was diagnosed, Robbie began working with Tour de Cure to raise money for cancer research.
Since 2007, Tour De Cure has raised more than 40 million dollars, funding 322 cancer projects, 24 significant cancer breakthroughs, and helped to raise awareness of cancer prevention to more than 110,000 school children across Australia. Through the organisation, she created the Scott Canner Young Investigator Grant to help fund the research of young Australian academics studying cancer. More than 750 thousand dollars in grants have been awarded thus far. Robbie is using pageantry to help spread her cause around the world.
GEQ magazine recently caught up with Robbie to talk about her journey in the pageant world and here’s what went down:
1. How did you get into the pageant industry? How were you actually ‘discovered’?
After losing my son to cancer I was lost and wondered if I should join him and I somehow came across an Australian pageant on my computer so I entered, which was in 2015. I won Ms. Classic Global United title then went to the USA and won the International Title. It was then that I was contacted by a lady in the US that had been following my short pageant career. She asked me to join Regal Majesty in Las Vegas so I did and I came 2nd runner up and finally met her. Then she asked if I would be willing to represent Australia in the Ms. World pageant in Seattle 2018, I eventually won that and so my huge journey continues.
2. What do you like most about being a beauty queen?
Being a beauty queen allows me to be able to mentor, help, support, and tell my story about emotional survival that has reached so many people through social media.
3. The downside to being a beauty queen?
I don’t think there is a downside to being a beauty queen. If a queen’s reign is followed through with determination and goals in sight then it will be a wonderful journey.
4. What has been the most memorable experience of being in the pageant industry so far?
The most memorable experience so far has been how far my story has reached around the world and how many responses of “well done” and “thank you” I’ve received through social media. That warms my heart.
5. Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?
Everyone I’ve met has been interesting but the most interesting would be the crew and models I worked with while I was walking for the New York Fashion Week. It was a whole new and wonderful experience.
6. What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the pageant industry. This can be about the industry or about yourself.
The most valuable lesson is what I have learned about myself, my outlook, and how much I love being with and supporting others I come across especially the young and up and coming pageant queens.
7. Working in an industry whose only emphasis is on the outside characteristics of a person, how have you stayed grounded?
I have stayed grounded because the outside of me is only an avenue to allow the inside and my purpose as a mentor and guide to travel through and reach others.
8. Is your family supportive of you being in the pageant industry?
My family loves and supports me totally through my pageant journey. They thought it was a bit crazy in the beginning but as I fit right in with being a bit crazy – they have still always fully backed me.
9. What are your future plans? Inside pageantry or out of it.
My plans include being a director of the Ms. Australia/New Zealand World Pageant 2020 for hopefully many years. Also, I am planning to continue to walk for the New York Fashion week and hopefully other Fashion weeks and do some modeling as well through my agent.