My name is Maria Paula Castillo Lopez I am 28 years old and I am a good example of how you can create and catch your dreams. I am the youngest daughter of 3 siblings, my older brother is a lawyer, and my older sister is a singer (yes, she even stole my talent). My parents are my greatest treasure, I always say that they are carrier pigeons that God sent to tell me about love. To begin to tell you how today I am everything I dreamed of someday I have to tell you my story.
I was born in Bogota in a popular neighborhood, which I confess has been the cause of the person I am today. I grew up being the only black girl in the room, and sadly Colombia has been a racist country, I always felt bad seeing myself different, several children made fun of me, but I always had my mother’s voice saying, “You are not different, you are beautiful.” I grew up with many fears and many insecurities due to my different skin color, so I had to develop other strengths since the most important, self-love still did not have. I was very good at sports, academically, even music. I daydreamed, dreamed of being a model, tv host, even Queen!! But on television I did not see women like me, with my skin color so I began to visualize myself and think: what would it be like if I did? From there my love began to fulfill all the dreams of my heart. I am a professional in finance and international trade, also a model since I was 17 years old, and I presented my first program at 24, today I have a heart full of pride for calling me COLOMBIA in the Miss Intercontinental contest, and guess what I love the most? Yes, my skin color, which speaks of my roots and the multiculturalism that exists in my country.
So here I am, wishing to be an example and inspire to all the girls who see me. YOU CAN, DOESN’T MATTER WHAT! You can be what your heart desires and you can create your own reality if you believe in yourself. I am here perhaps without measuring what they taught us about a queen, without her weight or without many qualities, I am here living my dream, just because I believed in me … if I can be here you will too.
I come from one of the happiest countries in the world, with the most resilient and hardworking people I know, we have San Andres island that has seven colors, Medellin with eternal spring, the best salsa dancers come from Cali and the best singers and athletes Barranquilla has given them. Colombia is a country full of magic, biodiversity and beautiful landscapes. I can’t wait to share with you all the love and joy that Colombia has to give.