ENOCH, Alta. — An aboriginal woman from Alberta has won an international pageant for married women.
Ashley Burnham, 25, was crowned Mrs. Universe 2015 in Minsk, Belarus, on Saturday.
Burnham is from the Enoch Cree Nation west of Edmonton and is an actress, model and motivational speaker.
As a former finalist in the 2013 Miss Universe Canada contest, when she was then Ashley Callingbull, she noted that she grew up in poor conditions and faced difficulties in childhood that she finds difficult to talk about.
Her Facebook bio says by the time she reached the age of 10, she had consecutively won all Enoch's princess crowns.
Burnham appears in Blackstone, a television show that airs on APTN, Showcase and on Maori Television in New Zealand.
"I'm really overwhelmed right now," Callingbull told the CBC in an interview. "My phone is blowing up. Everything is blowing up. I love it."
The Mrs. Universe 2015 Facebook page says the topic for this year's event was "Domestic Violence and Reflection Over Children."
Burnham said in her bio for the 2013 Miss Universe Canada contest that she never had the perfect childhood everyone dreams of.
"I had an incredibly difficult childhood and was raised mainly by my mother and grandparents," she said in the bio. "My mother as strong as she is, raised me to be grateful for what I have and showed me all the love in the world."
"Things that occurred in my childhood were incredibly painful and it is very hard to discuss. It was difficult to grow up the way I did, but it made me appreciate everything I have and most importantly made me the strong woman I am today."
Burnham was also chosen as Miss Canada for the Miss Friendship International Pageant held in Hubei, China in September, 2010, and represented Canada at the Queen of the World Final held in Germany 2010.
She also represented Canada at Miss Humanity International in Barbados in October 2011.
Burnham graduated from the television program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree focusing on drama and acting/television.
The Canadian Press