Less than a week after being crowned Mrs. Universe, Ashley Callingbull is calling for political change in her native country of Canada and putting the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women in the spotlight.
The 25-year-old made history last weekend in Belarus when she became the first Canadian and first aboriginal woman to win the international pageant, one for married women that focuses on community work rather than looks. Callingbull, whose married name is Burnham, hails from the Enoch Cree Nation in Alberta. The theme of this year's competition, which is unaffiliated with the Miss Universe pageant, was addressing domestic violence. As a survivor of physical and sexual abuse, Callingbull has said the theme resonated with her.
Callingbull, an actress and model, has made it clear that she intends to make the most of her new international platform, raising awareness of issues affecting Canada's aboriginal people. Within days of winning the title, Callingbull called on aboriginal people to vote out the Conservative party and its leader Stephen Harper in the upcoming federal election, taking place next month.