Ashley Burnham Becomes the First Canadian and First Nations Woman to be Crowned Mrs. Universe

A young Canadian woman from Alberta broke barriers over the weekend when she became the first Canadian, and first of First Nations descent, to win the Mrs. Universe crown.

Ashley Burnham, 25, who’s from the Enoch Cree Nation, won the contest Saturday in Belarus.

The stunning model and actress – who gained attention in 2010 after becoming the only First Nations contestant in the 2010 Mrs. Canada pageant – tells news outlets that she’s “overwhelmed” by the support and positive reaction to her win. She has said that her culture is often misrepresented in pageants.

That’s why Burnham showed it off throughout the competition, wearing a jingle dress that’s traditionally worn during pow-wow dances. For the talent portion, she performed a traditional song while wearing a white buckskin dress.

While the future now looks promising for Burnham, she didn’t always have an easy ride – she is a survivor of physical and sexual abuse and was particularly drawn to the 2015 Mrs. Universe competition because of its theme: battling domestic violence and child abuse.

Mrs. Universe is a pageant designed for contestants who are married.