26 | Height: 5’9″
Hometown: Bradford, ON

Denise Garrido lives by the 4 principles that earned her a 2nd degree black belt in TaeKwon-Do. They are Modesty, Perseverance, Self-Control and Indomitable Spirit. These principles allowed her to soar at Laurentian University, where she graduated, Cum Laude, in Biomedical Sciences.

Her thesis, completed at the Northeastern Ontario Regional Cancer Center, was the application of her theoretical knowledge to laboratory research, and was focused on Breast Cancer.

November 2011 through January 2012, Denise toured throughout India with the children’s’ charity, “Healthy Kids, Happy Kids”. They provided food, clothing and medical treatment to thousands of children in need.

Miss Garrido’s hobbies include playing Piano (level 8 Royal Conservatory), long distance running, ballroom dancing, and attending local Toastmasters meetings.

For the past four years, Denise has been an inspirational speaker addressing kids and students on a number of topics such as dreaming big, believing in yourself and having a positive attitude. “You don’t have to be a winner, to be a winner” is one of Denise’s quotes.

Now, Denise is focusing all of her energies on a dream she has held since she was a little girl, to represent her country as Miss Universe Canada.

Sponsored by: Beauty Bar Laser Clinic, Exhale Spa & Salon, Flirt Formal Fashions, Tery Hawkins, School Heroes Unite, Antoniette Catenacci, Delfs’ Martial Arts & Health Club, Family and Friends.

Languages spoken (please include your native language if English is not your native language). 

English, Portuguese, basic Spanish

What are your interests and what do you enjoy doing the most?

My interests include reading and listening to audiobooks about personal growth or science/psychology.  Other interests include TaeKwon-Do, playing piano, running, swimming, Toastmasters, and making time to watch comedies—laughing is a great healer!

List any special training you have had (music, art, drama, dance, etc.) 

Second-Degree Black Belt in TaeKwon-Do, Level 8 Royal Conservatory Piano, Latin and Standard Ballroom Dancing, Toastmasters, Acting for camera

In what sports, if any, have you participated?

Although all have been done recreationally, they include TaeKwon-Do, running and swimming.

Name one person, other than your parents, who has had the most influence on your life. Why? 

Master Delfs, my TaeKwon-Do instructor whom I have trained under since the age of 8, and who ingrained into me the principals of this martial art: perseverance, modesty, self-control, indomitable spirit.   I have lived by these principals throughout my life without even realizing it until recently, and that I am grateful for.

What is your proudest personal accomplishment (other than participating in this pageant)? 

There are various proud moments in my life:

– Academically: Graduating Cum Laude in my Honours Bachelor of Science Program at Laurentian University, while having involved myself within my school community in various ways (as a Teaching Assistant, Tutor, Residence Assistant, Peer Mentor, Choir member, Masters Swim Club member, Student General Association, to name a few)

– Athletically: Obtaining my second-degree black belt in TaeKwon-Do

– Musically: Piano at Level 8 Royal Conservatory Music

– Artistically: Illustrating my first published children’s book entitled, “I Can And I Did!”

What is the most interesting or unique thing that has ever happened to you and/or what is the most interesting thing about you? 

A unique and fun tid-bit about me is that I was the first female from my club to obtain a black belt, and I am the current champion (between both male and female) at my martial arts club for the most simultaneous rope-climbs (numerousl stories of height if you add them up) in a single shot.

What is your career ambition and what are you doing or plan to do to accomplish that goal? 

My career is going to be involved in the medical/science field—whether it be Medical School, or a Masters of Science (Biochemistry) specifically focused on cancer as that is an area I have researched in the past.  Regardless of which specific path I take, it will definitely involve people, health, and working to improve lives.

What would be your “dream job” in life?

I have an ambitious dream job that is comprised of the following: being a physician (MD) that is also a professor that is actively involved in research and teaching (PhD), and being able to make time to work locally and abroad for various charities and organizations to better the lives of others.

Are you currently a student?

Currently, I am student of many great books that have been recommended, and that I have chosen to learn from right now—I am learning about people and life!

Are you currently employed?


If yes, what is your occupation?

Medical Administration at a Family Practice, and management of a Cardiology Clinic and Cardiac Diagnostics at the same office.

Describe where you were raised and what your childhood was like.  

I was born in Newmarket, Ontario, as the only daughter and eldest child of Portuguese/Brazilian parents.  I grew up immersed in the Portuguese language, which is why I am fluently bilingual in Portuguese and English (and learned basic Spanish from the overlap in these two Latin languages).  I was a tomboy, which is why TaeKwon-Do was my secret, special sport, which gave me the confidence to overcome the bullying I faced in elementary school.  I was also drawn to music (likely the genetic outcome of a grandfather who is musically inclined), which is why my parents enrolled me in piano lessons at the age of 4.

List any interesting or unusual jobs you may have had.  

Having been a young introvert, an interesting job was when I taught TaeKwon-Do to children aged 3-6yrs when I was in high school.  It taught me how to understand and how to work with children; it built my self-confidence in being a leader and in speaking in front of people.  I would have never thought I’d be able to teach, let alone such a young group of children when I was an adolescent, but my instructor knew otherwise.  These skills in working with children helped me in India when I was on a charity tour with Healthy Kids Happy Kids.

List any volunteering you have done.

– 2 month charitable tour in India with Healthy Kids Happy Kids Foundation

– Brazilian Carnival Charity Ball in Toronto for multiple years

– Various events for SickKids Hospital

– School Heroes Unite (Anti-Bullying Program) administrative and technical consultant

– Toastmaster’s Youth Leadership Program in Schomberg

– Tutoring/assisting in math, science, and French at local high school

– Translating/assisting Grade 10 Student from Mexico in high school math class

– Yearly summer camp volunteer

– Fundraiser/education events for Cayman Islands Diabetic Support Group

– Annual Community Clean-Up events

– Tutoring 1st year calculus at Laurentian University

– Laurentian University “Airbandz for Cancer” Charity Fundraising Event

– Laurentian University Residence Yearbook and Prom

– Laurentian University Student General Association Charity Ball

– Toronto Calcutta Foundation Gala Events

– Terry Fox Run

– SOS Children’s Villages

– Variety—The Children’s Charity

– Et Cetera

What is your most unusual talent?


Where is the most interesting place you have been to? 

There have been a number of fascinating places that I have visited: The beautiful subterranean river, which is also one of the world’s longest underground navigable rivers, of Puerto Princesa in the Philippines, to the majestic Taj Mahal and Golden Temple in India, the wondrous Great Wall of China, and the stunning cathedrals in Portugal—these are a few of the interesting (and fascinating) places I have been to.

What do you hope to be doing in ten years? 

To be teaching, healing, volunteering, travelling, inspiring—and possibly have competed in a few Ballroom Dance Competitions!

Is there anything you would like to add that we haven’t asked?

Thank you to everyone that has been supporting me and sharing this exciting journey. I couldn’t do it without you!