Bremiella De Guzman, former Miss BC, was crowned Miss Canada 2020 this March. Born in the Phillippines, Guzman immigrated to Canada when she was ten and currently lives in Cloverdale. She shares her pageant milestones with Black Press Media from the crowning moment to her growing sense of purpose in the community.
The discussion has been edited for length and clarity.
What does the Miss Canada pageant experience mean to you?
I think people don’t realize that most pageants aren’t just a one-night event. The Miss Canada event ran for almost a week-long, and in those times I’ve met and become friends with some of the most incredible and accomplished women across the country. To me, sharing the stage with them alone was already empowering, and I think the nerves only came when I got called in for Top 6.
That’s when it clicked for me. Being Miss Canada was a dream I had for a long time, and I actually had a shot. All I needed was to answer a question and to speak from the heart. I was asked, “what was the most difficult time you’ve experienced in your life.” I talked about being an immigrant and moving to Canada at such a young age. My parents had dreams of a better life for our family in a brand new country and it came with a lot of sacrifices. So at that moment, when my name was called and I was being crowned as the new Miss Canada, it was validating and I felt like all of my hard work had paid off. Truly, it was a remarkable experience and I will never forget it.
How has your journey been so far as Miss Canada?
During my time as Miss BC, I had worked on some community projects, including my “Spread The Word: Inclusion” campaign, that I planned on expanding and bringing to the rest of Canada. Unfortunately, my reign has been affected by COVID-19, and so my travel plans have been put on hold, and understandably so. The novel coronavirus has hit our country and put several communities and people in a vulnerable state. I am fortunate in that I was still able to continue working fulltime and from home, so I dedicated the “extra” time I had from not having to commute, in giving back to my community.
I have been making and donating cloth face masks to long term care facilities, donated blood and provided meals to health care workers. I still continue to sew some masks, but my focus is on my job as a facilitator to people with diverse abilities, who are also very much affected by the onset of the virus.
Reflecting on the pageant, how have you grown from it?
The Miss Canada pageant was held back in March, and it’s been about four months since I was crowned. I have to say that the crown has given me a boost of confidence and a higher sense of purpose. I have always been committed to serving my community, but being a titleholder has taught me to make those necessary connections to drive bigger impacts. Some might criticize pageants and feel that they have no place in modern society, but as Miss Canada, not only am I given a range of opportunities, it has also allowed me to practice leadership - which in my introverted nature, I have always shied away from.
I believe I have grown and will continue to grow from this experience by proving to others that a figurehead like me could truly make a difference. While I’m not able to reign as I had expected under the circumstances we’re in, I do think that being Miss Canada has taught me to be innovative and creative. I don’t expect to find solutions to worldly issues, but I do hold myself accountable to at least try.
What advice do you have for others who want to participate?
Lead with purpose. Whether you want to experience something new, have a platform to share your message or join a sisterhood, whatever your reason for wanting to join a pageant may be, be sure, be ready and be confident to share your own story, and the rest will follow. I have gained more friendships and connections than crowns and to me, that is what matters.