If someone would have told me 15 years ago that in 2016 I would be selected as Miss International… I would have burst out laughing. I grew up in a small town right outside of Atlanta and was a complete tomboy with low self-esteem due to bullying. You could typically find me in a soccer uniform and practicing out on the field with my family. I come from a Colombian family and that heritage has always shaped my life. From our family tradition of visiting Walt Disney World each year for Christmas to our large gatherings with Colombian food at every holiday… we are a tight knit unit that is full of love and entrepreneurs.
You could say that I’ve always been a business nerd. I was always the child that wanted to have a lemonade stand… and now as a 24 year old that dream is still alive except now it’s a bit more corporate. In 2009, I began my own business working as a Communication & Image Consultant serving entrepreneurs, small businesses, and young women. I work with clients on their interpersonal and public speaking skills, marketing and communication strategies, and branding. In 2015, I graduated from Georgia State University with a B.B.A. in Marketing and Minor in Hospitality. During my time in college, my business brain was further ignited when I interned with the Walt Disney Company in Concierge. The skills I learned were instrumental in scaling not only my work as a consultant… but also my organization True Beauty Movement.
As a young girl, I was constantly striving to fit society’s definition of “beautiful”. This narrow term and perfectionism led me to a life threatening eating disorder. My personal battles served as the building blocks for what would become a worldwide movement. Once I recovered from the eating disorder, I realized that my definition of beauty was not contingent on how society defined it and in 2011 I created True Beauty Movement to cultivate positive body image and character in young women. Every challenge I ever faced in regards to body image finally made sense when I realized it was my life’s purpose to empower young women across the globe. Over the next year, I will be hosting True Beauty Workshops across America and in South Africa, Rwanda, and Kenya! The year of service I have as Miss International is a catalyst for True Beauty Movement and I truly believe that God has orchestrated each moment to bring me to this job and for this time.
True Beauty Movement is able to partner with phenomenal organizations and I am so humbled that various organizations allow me to lean in and serve. The National Eating Disorders Association holds a special place in my heart. Sometimes, but not always, eating disorders are a byproduct of low self-esteem and body image. Throughout my year of service I will continue furthering this existing relationship and speaking out to break the stigma of eating disorders worldwide. I am also able to serve as an ambassador for Go Red for Women to further educate, advocate and fundraise for the American Heart Association. In addition to all these opportunities, I am able to be a part of the amazing work that is coming out of Passion City Church through my work as a Door Holder (aka volunteer). Through our amazing service opportunities with Project Supply and Operation Christmas Child, our church is able to be part of the Church that God is building. Each week I am able to make a way for more people to experience Jesus and that privilege is truly an honor.
When I’m not on the job, I can be found doing a myriad of activities. Hiking around Georgia, traveling with family, spending time with my small group, and visiting local coffee shops are always at the top of my list for favorite activities. Don’t be fooled, when I take off my pageant heels… I am also a runner and love going on walks with my puppy - Walter Ray Moreno… or Walt! Sitting still is not my forte… but it’s truly because I look at each day as a blessing and unique opportunity to be filled with joy, love, and peace.
This year of service is a great responsibility and honor, one that has not completely set in yet. It’s still surreal to look in the mirror and see myself wearing the crown and banner. I look forward to sharing the next year with you all as we watch each moment unfold during my time as Miss International 2016.