Lindsay Lauridsen placed fourth at a World Beauty Fitness and Fashion show, an international competition at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto. The 24-year-old Sarnia resident was competing for the first time. Handout/Sarnia Observer/Postmedia Network (Photo:princess formal dresses)

As a motivational speaker and advocate for mental health and wellness, Lindsay Lauridsen felt it was important to set a good example.

The 24-year-old Sarnia resident embraced a healthier lifestyle about thee years ago, and since then has been considering entering in a competition that combines two of her passions, fitness and fashion.

Although some self-doubt crept in, Lauridsen knew it was vital to follow through.

“I wanted to show people that no matter what you're going through, no matter what your past is... you can reach your goals, you can reach your dreams,” she said.

Lauridsen reached her dream by competing at a World Beauty Fitness and Fashion (WBFF) show, an international competition at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto Aug. 26-27. Competing for the first time and also without a coach, she managed to place fourth of 10 entries in the amateur diva fitness model short category.

“Which was awesome,” she said. “It really made me happy.

“Of course you always go in it wanting to win, but I did my best.”

Although her fellow contestants were supportive and she enjoyed the atmosphere, the nerves were still significant.

“I was shaking like crazy when I went on stage,” she recalled. “But apparently it wasn't noticeable.”

The WBFF event was a fashion show mixed with fitness, Lauridsen explained, with two turns, a bikini and theme-wear round. The scoring was comprised of 40 per cent overall marketability and 40 per cent body tone, according to the WBFF's website, and 20 per cent stage presence, poise and confidence.

However, there was a conflict of interest, she noted, as some contestants' coaches were also judges.

“That was a little disheartening,” she said.

Still, she said she'd love to compete again.

“I wanted to get right back into the prep stage,” she said.

As much as she enjoyed the experience, Lauridsen pointed out it was hard at times to follow through with the training regimen.

“There was actually a lot of times that I felt like giving up,” she admitted. “It takes a big toll on you mentally and physically, you need to learn how to balance.”

Originally from Ottawa, Lauridsen first relocated to London for school then moved to Sarnia about four years ago. She is a rec and leisure therapist at a long-term care home in Sarnia, an early childhood educator in Point Edward, and also participates in Let's Face It, a mental health awareness group through Lambton College.

“I enjoy staying busy,” she said.Read more at:white formal dresses