Hometown: Vancouver, BC
Since the early age of 16, Laura Guzman made the story of her life one of aspiring for great success in the face of uncontrollable obstacles. She was born and found her roots in Colombia, but her teenage world was abruptly shaken when one of her family members was kidnapped and the rest of her family was put under threat. Soon after, Canada would become her new home. Afforded this second chance, Laura promised to always create new chapters in her life filled with adventure and accomplishment. With these new opportunities Laura first devoted herself to a great education; she learned English in only two months and become an honour roll student in high school. Later, she went to start her post secondary studies at VCC where she became a Licenced Pratical Nurse. Wanting to care and influence people’s lives on a greater scale, she developed her education further to fulfill one of her lifelong goals, which is to have a career path in business. She feels that there are not enough powerful female business moguls and this is one of the true frontiers for women to gain independence and exercise their full creativity.
One of Laura’s biggest goals and commitments is to give back to the country that has given her and her family so much. She has volunteered with a variety of organizations true to her values such BWSS, Canadian Red Cross and the Childrens Hosiptal among others. Some of the work that is closest to her heart was delivering workshops to youth groups to educate them about dating violence. She believes that the youth hold the future in their hands and education is vital for a better future.
One of Laura’s fondest memories as a child was at the age of 11 when she watched Vanessa Mendoza win the Miss Colombia pageant and continued on to represent Colombia at the Miss Universe Pageant. At the tender age of 11 she realized that she wanted to follow in her footsteps when she grew up, not only for the beautiful gowns and surreal experience but because she sees pageants as a way for women to have a voice and raise awareness on causes they believe in.
Laura is a passionate, spiritual and vivacious young woman taking control of her life and shaping the world around her in profound ways. She believes in evolving the human spirit and does so by living outside of her comfort zone. By engaging hearts and minds through public speaking and modelling, travelling or simply enjoying a good dance, she decides to make the most out of every opportunity. All her dedication right now is focused on accomplishing a lifelong dream, which is to represent her country on an international scale at the Miss Universe pageant.
White Orchid rejuvenation center, Mac Cosmetics, Babor skin care, Sorriso Dental Clinic, Black 2 Blond, Siddhartha’s Indian Kitchen, Butterflies Hair Extensions, You Tan, Andrea Salazar make up, Chara Berk Photography, Reena Kohli, Family and Friends
Languages spoken fluently (please include your native language if English is not your native language).
English and Spanish
What are your interests and what do you enjoy doing the most?
I am extremely passionate about constantly learning and continuing to develop my personal growth. I believe that striving for excellence is one of the best ways to approach life. I also enjoy relaxation thru yoga and meditation. And being a latina, dancing is a must! I have it in my blood. What I enjoy the most is working for my community and spending time with my loved ones.
List any special training you have had (music, art, drama, dance, etc.)
- Dance salsa
- Colombian folklore dance such as el mapale, cumbia
- Public speaking with Toastmasters
In what sports, if any, have you participated?
Swimming, tennis, currently learning to play golf.
Name one person, other than your parents, who has had the most influence on your life. Why?
My best friend. He has taught me the importance of staying true to myself and following my heart. He also encourages me not to not settle for less than I can be, while pursuing my dreams. Having a friend like mine is such a precious gift, and makes this exciting journey through life all the more memorable.
What is your proudest personal accomplishment (other than participating in this pageant)?
Opening and operating my own small business at age 16 while I was attending high school in Colombia. As well as Completing and receiving my Licence Practical Nursing certificate and license in a year when I was 22.
What is the most interesting or unique thing that has ever happened to you and/or what is the most interesting thing about you?
My family had to flee to Canada after kidnappings to members of my extended family. Being forced into a situation where I had immigrated to a new country was definitely a challenge. But in every challenge are the seeds of opportunity. I had to grow up quickly but I now draw strength and courage from my experience. Having lived through this challenging situation gave me perspective, and a new found appreciation for family, freedom and my new home, Canada.
What is your career ambition and what are you doing or plan to do to accomplish that goal?
To own and operate a business dedicated to enriching the lives of people from all walks of life. I am currently attending college and gaining valuable experience through volunteering and working in different areas. This is how I plan on making my dream a reality.
What would be your “dream job” in life?
To be a strong independent female business mogul.
Are you currently a student?
I will always be a student of life and yes I am currently enrolled in a business program.
If yes, where?
Area of study:
International Business Management
Are you currently employed?
If yes, what is your occupation?
I work for a Health and nutrition company
Describe where you were raised and what your childhood was like.
I was raised in a Fusagasuga, a small city close to Bogota; the capital of Colombia. In my childhood there were a lot of happy moments but mainly had to face a lot of hardships with my family coming from a country were violence was a common thing. Makes you mature and grow up really quick, you learn to really appreciate the sweet things in life and any and all opportunities
List any interesting or unusual jobs you may have had.
Working for myself when I was 16. The high school I attended was structured so that the last two years we earned a technical degree in business management. We would attend regular our classes in the morning and while working on our businesses in the afternoons. By the time I was 16, one of my classmates and I purchased the machinery to make bags which we sold for a profit.
List any volunteering you have done.
- Variety the childrens charity
- Latin youth support group
- Bc Childrens hospital
- The Canadian redcross
- Battered women support services
What is your most unusual talent?
I will say this; I have a very strong capacity in connecting with my ancestors, being part South American Native. I have had some profound experiences and learned a lot from people of my past.
Where is the most interesting place you have been to?
Las islas del Rosario; which are a group of islands off the cost of the Caribbean side of Colombia. Here I had one of my first Vacations with only me and my mom. Besides being one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to, it was a memorable time that I will always hold dear in my heart.
What do you hope to be doing in ten years?
Running my own business with the freedom to give back to my community thru supporting causes I believe in, such as inspiring and empowering young women entrepreneurs. I would also like to continue to travel and learn about new cultures which I find fascinating. I would also like to start a family, I am extremely family oriented.
Is there anything you would like to add that we haven’t asked?
Since I can remember it has been a dream of mine to be able to represent my country at the Miss Universe competition. I see pageants as powerful platforms for young women to have a voice. I am forever grateful to be able to compete for the Canadian title and would like to thank everyone that has and continues to support me thru out this incredible journey.