Armstrong's Kassidy Kleef was first runner-up at the 2015 Miss Teen Beauty International pageant in the Dominican Republic.

Armstrong's Kassidy Kleef was first runner-up at the 2015 Miss Teen Beauty International pageant in the Dominican Republic.

Miss Teen Wonderland overcomes bullying

Kassidy Kleef has two words for all the bullies in her life; those who tormented her to the point of switching schools - thank you

Kassidy Kleef has two words for all the bullies in her life; those who tormented her to the point of switching schools.

“Thank you.”

“I want to thank them,” said the Armstrong beauty queen, fresh off winning three titles – Miss Teen Wonderland International, Best Eyes and Miss Teen Beauty International first runner-up at a competition in the Dominican Republic.

“I don’t think I’d be where I am today if it wasn’t for them. They gave me the story and motivation to push myself to where I am. I don’t know if I would have switched schools; don’t know if I would have driven myself so hard to pursue this. So I want to say thank you to them. I hope their lives are going as good as mine.”

Life is good for the 18-year-old who has Vancouver film school aspirations.

The 2015 W.L. Seaton graduate used her bullied past in the Miss Teen Beauty International pageant

“The interview portion was hard, in Spanish, so I had to have a translator who asked what makes me cry,” said Kleef, whose piercing blue eyes – the best in the pageant, remember – comes from a mixture of her mom’s and dad’s baby blues.

“I gave them my views on bullying so I was able to do my monologue on bullying again.”

That monologue served as her talent portion and helped her qualify for the Dominican Republic at the Canadian event in Toronto.

In the Dominican, Kleef sang Taylor Swift’s Style as her talent.

After arriving back in Canada, Kleef has been busy with many personal appearances and has been preparing her application for film school. She hopes to audition for a movie starring Glee TV show star Dianna Agron.

All of this is something Kleef could never have imagined doing just a few short years ago.

“From the first time going up on stage to doing it now, it just feels so natural,” she said. “I’ve grown so much in confidence and feel better about myself.

“I feel I portray myself better and I’ve matured. It’s been incredible.”

First runner-up in an international beauty pageant is an impressive feat to put on her resumé.

“I wanted to win for Canada,” smiled Kleef, who competed in the Dominican with 72 other girls. “It would have been awesome to bring home the crown but it was amazing to be first runner-up and representing Canada. It was a super fun experience.”