Story by Kim Willis
Photography by Ahmad Tam
Dreams do come true! In March Maria Giorlando, from Tecumseh, was crowned Miss Canada 2018 at the national pageant held in Laval, Quebec.
After months of preparation, Giorlando was confidently optimistic before the pageant.
“I’ve been preparing for this for probably six months now and I never wanted to doubt myself during this process. So when I heard my name called it was a great sense of validation. I would say that I was shocked, but shocked in a way that I knew it was going to be me. I felt like it was part of my destiny that I was supposed to be Miss Canada.”
The 23-year-old registered nurse beat out 25 other women from across Canada to win the title. The competition is open to women aged 19-30.
The Miss Canada event has been around since 1946. The women are judged on their charisma, intelligence and dedication to a cause close to their heart.
According to the Miss Canada organization, “Becoming Miss Canada is not only synonymous with being the most beautiful women of all the participants of the event. Miss Canada is first and foremost a personality and attitude contest. During their year of reign; The “MISS” will become an ambassador for a cause they care about.”
Having this platform is one of Giorlando’s primary motivations for competing.
More than anything she wants her accomplishment to be motivation for others. She says she’s proof you can do anything if you put your mind to it.
“If a small town girl from Windsor can do this, why can’t somebody else. I just want to really push that other girls can do this. Believe in yourself. You are all unique and beautiful in your own way and I had a dream, I turned that dream into a goal and there’s no reason why anybody else can’t do that too.”
Giorlando is no stranger to pageant competition. She was Miss Tecumseh 2016.
“Winning Miss Tecumseh was a lot of fun and allowed me to make a difference in my community.”
Giorlando was a competitive soccer player for 15 years. She attributes the years of soccer experience to teaching her the values of teamwork, leadership and sportsmanship. She has also been involved in bringing support and awareness to various charities by participating in events for the Alzheimer’s Society, Hospice of Windsor-Essex, and the Sick Kids Foundation.
She is currently the chair of the Optimist Club of St. Clair Beach and plans to use her year long reign as Miss Canada to promote the club’s values of positivity and kindness to others.
In addition to the winning “titles,” Giorlando has found the competitions very rewarding.
“It brings you so much confidence, so many different opportunities. You have the ability to network yourself, to meet so many amazing people that can help you forward yourself in your career, in your social life. Overall, it gives you opportunities to volunteer out in the community and to just showcase who you are as an individual.”
Aside from her accomplishments at pageants, Giorlando is a registered nurse. Since graduating from the University of Windsor in 2017 she has been working at a nursing home. She would love to combine her passion for giving back and nursing by becoming a travel nurse.
“I would love for my work to involve children. They will build the future and deserve the best medical care possible.”