If you thought royalty was something found only in Europe, check again. In the Yukon, February ushers in a new breed of Queens for the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous festival. However, becoming a queen is no easy task — because there is much to learn and prepare for.
One aspiring candidate is Whitehorse resident Brittany Mai. Originally from Ontario, Mai landed herself in the Yukon two-and-a-half years ago and has been captured by the culture ever since. It is only fitting that the new Yukoner decided to run for Rendezvous Queen.
Mai is being sponsored by Klondike Cakes and Tetra Tech EBA (Whitehorse office); that is sort of how she landed herself a potential spot as queen.
It seems the owner of Klondike Cakes was lunching with one of Mai’s co-workers when the topic of 2015 Rendezvous came up. Immediately they decided that Mai would be a great fit. When receiving the message, Mai had a slough of mixed emotions. On the one hand she was thrilled, but on the other hand, nervous. Either way, her heart continued to race for the entire week leading up to the Queens’ photo shoot.
Royalty is always having pictures taken for the tabloids. Luckily in the Yukon, the press is more forgiving. Instead of chasing Queen candidates around, a professional photo shoot is created for a special Rendezvous event magazine. The ladies are adorned with vintage costumes, circa 1900s, to truly look like Klondike belles.
Donning ruffled dresses and feathered hair pieces, they strike different poses, an experience that Mai found to be a lot of hard work, but definitely worth it. With each candidate bringing something new to the table, it is no surprise the judges always have a hard time selecting a winner.
Once the photos are done, it is off to Queen finishing school. Allocution and poise may not be as strictly enforced as some other finishing schools; however, a great deal of emphasis is placed on accurate representation of a true Klondike dame. Once a week the ladies meet to discuss the many events they will be attending, and to learn about all the other tasks at hand, such as Rendezvous ticket sales, a talent showcase, and speeches.
Mai describes the Queen school experience as fascinating and enjoyable. She feels all of the ladies learn a lot from each other and so far it has been a blast getting to know them.
As you can see, becoming a Yukon Queen is not short on hard work. With Rendezvous-related events starting as early as January, these ladies don’t have a lot of time to prepare for their entry into Yukon Society. But, when they do emerge, it is certain that everyone will find them to be as pleasant as they are stunning.
Even Martha Purdy Black would surely approve of the 2015 selection.