A Word With Former Miss Canada & TikTok Creator, Maria Giorlando

Maria Giorlando, Miss Canada 2018. Photo: Sneaker Buddha
Makeup: Ryann Beal / Hair: Megan Ellis / Style: Teodora Cvetkovic

With TikTok currently dominating as the world’s most popular video-sharing application, people from all over the world are making their marks globally on the platform – from showing off their music, like our XMPL Issue 9 cover star, Tray Little or even giving fans a behind-the-scenes look at pageant life such as former Miss Canada, Maria Giorlando.

From posting videos of her signature walk, to training videos and more, Maria has earned a large following this year, with over 40 thousand followers and counting. We got the chance to catch up with Miss Canada 2018 during our editorial shoot, and got an better perspective on the life of a Miss Canada titleholder and TikTok creator.

XMPL: How long have you been competing in pageants?

This will be my 4th year competing and my 6th pageant overall.

What year was it that you won Miss Canada?

I won Miss Canada in 2018 and I started competing two years prior to that in 2016.

What inspired you to want to get involved in pageantry?

I started locally at the Miss Via Italia pageant, which happens on Erie St, and I saw they were opening up applications on Facebook, so I called Sonny Borrelli – who’s the director, infamous pageant host in the area. And I initially wanted to do it because I thought it would be a fun experience, where I got to wear a pretty dress and meet other girls. And from there, it’s really evolved to having a bigger and deeper purpose, which is where I can inspire confidence in young men and women, who are just discovering themselves in life.

What would you say is your favourite thing about it?

I would say the personal development aspect. I’ve played sports throughout my life, I’ve gone to nursing school, I’m now a working woman and nothing has taught me more about who I am as a person other than pageants. Because it really requires you to reflect on who you are, how you feel about certain beliefs in the world and certain political worldly issues going on and its helped me really refine the person that I am today and realistically, if you always have that mindset of wanting to know more about you and wanting to improve yourself – pageants is really a great way for anyone to develop.

Photo: Sneaker Buddha / Makeup: Ryann Beal / Hair: Megan Ellis / Style: Teodora Cvetkovic

You’ll be competing in another coming up soon, is that right?

Yes – Miss World Canada, which annually has about 50 or 60 contestants so this will be the biggest pageant I’ve competed in and definitely the most prestigious in all of Canada. One winner goes to Miss World, but four other winners get to go to national pageants so it’s a really big opportunity for any girls competing in Canada to even be accepted at the national level.

I’m sure the pageant life is a completely different world. Going in, were there any things that may have surprised you?

There is still a lot to be done with breaking stereotypes on what beauty is and I know that there’s a public misconception that the winners have to look a certain way, act a certain way and have or come from some sort of background that sets them up for success and that’s really not true. Even myself, I’m 5”2, I’m not “thin” by any means, I’ve got muscle to me. I’ve got thickness to me and I didn’t think I was a typical titleholder, and I realize that no one really knows what the typical titleholder looks like. It’s just somebody who knows who they are and is confident in themselves and all it takes it one person to go on stage, who is either 4 feet tall or 6 feet tall and win the title and just show everybody that beauty really does come from within, in the way that you carry yourself. So that was something that I learned throughout the years, that it didn’t matter how I physically look. It mattered how mentally prepared I was.

Outside of pageants, I know you’re a content creator on TikTok. So how long have you been on the platform?

I started TikTok in January 2020, because my sister’s fiancée said he wanted help, he wanted a girl in his video so I was gonna be the girl in the video. And while him and his friend tried to figure out TikTok in general, I thought, “Well let me get on this platform” and see what its all about but in the time it took them to set up the one TikTok, I had made about 4 and had thought “Oh my gosh! This is so easy.” So from there, I’ve probably posted upwards of 100-200 videos and I’ve got about 44 thousand followers, just by posting things about pageants, dances, self-care, kind of a range of things. I’m kind of still figuring it out but I just post when I want and have fun with it.

Photo: Sneaker Buddha / Makeup: Ryann Beal / Hair: Megan Ellis / Style: Teodora Cvetkovic

What do you feel that your followers really enjoy about your content?

I think the biggest thing is the behind-the-scenes look when I’m either preparing for the walk portion or interview portion or fitness. People just love to know, like “what is the answer?” Cause I’ve won two pageants now, I’ve placed in every pageant. So people look to me for the answer and I say that I don’t have any answers, I just know how to prepare and how to work on myself and what my strengths and weaknesses are. And so anytime I show me practicing my walks or me practicing interviews or preparing for a workout; people love that. Because they want that inside scoop, they want to feel like you’re bringing them on that journey and then when you succeed – they like they got to see how that happened. So it also reinforces that preparation, it’s so important, it comes through hard work, and it doesn’t just come on accident.

What would you say is your favourite thing about TikTok?

I will say this is not the greatest reason to like it but it truly is that kind of gratifying, instantly moment on social media that you just don’t get from other platforms. It’s like, no matter how much thought you put into other pieces of content on Facebook, Instagram – its like you really have to impress people for them to want to enjoy it but on TikTok, it just can reach such a larger audience and you can put 6 seconds of effort into it and yeah it kind of does feel good to know that the time that I put in, it reaches people – whether it’s a lot of effort or not a lot of effort. So I think, its what’s called the “viral-bility” of it is unlike any other platform and I’m gonna enjoy it while its here, cause I know that it might not be here all the time

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