It was billed as the “Diamond of All Beauty Pageants.”
Beautiful, ambitious young women lined up to enter Miss Kohinoor International, lured by a $25,000 top prize, travel and lavish shopping sprees.
What the winners got were broken promises, bounced cheques and cancelled prize trips.
Christina-Leanna Cadieux, 26, promoted her Canadian pageant as an opportunity for South Asian women between the ages of 16 and 30 to showcase their beauty and talents. Roughly 40 women have entered over the past three years.
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Contestants were told they had to be “of good moral character, and possess a pleasing personality,” the rules state. Each was required to pay up to $550 in entry fees and raise at least $1,000, which would be “divided and handed to (the) Breast Cancer Society of Canada,” according to one pageant guide.
A Toronto Star investigation has found that the Breast Cancer Society of Canada and other charities Cadieux said would benefit from Miss Kohinoor International have never worked with the pageant.
Meanwhile, young women from Canada and England are owed money by Cadieux.
Cadieux, who goes by Sultana Tehzeeb Khan or Radha Rani, also told contestants money would go to The Hospital for Sick Children and the Kol Hope Foundation for Children, a charity for children with serious disabilities.
Marsha Davidson, the executive director of the Breast Cancer Society, said they have not received any funds from or worked with the pageant. The SickKids Foundation and Kol Hope said the same thing.
Contestants were encouraged to raise money, and warned of “penalties” for not reaching that goal.
The Star made numerous attempts to reach Cadieux, who declined to address the allegations made about her or the pageant.
“Please stop harassing (and) stalking me, my family and my friends or the police will be contacted immediately,” she wrote.