MGI 2018: GB´s Exclusive interview with Maria Jose Lora, Miss Grand International 2017
Last year Maria Jose Lora conquered for Peru its first Grand Slam title in 13 years, when she was crowned Miss Grand International, in Vietnam. A model, business woman and future actress living in Los Angeles, Maria Jose agreed to tell us about her wonderful year of reign just a couple of days before crowning her successor. Meet the queen:
GB- Who was Maria Jose Lora before she was crowned Miss Grand International, and who is she now?
Maria Jose - A person who has also worked hard, who appreciates her family, who has many dreams. I am a person who never believed in the impossible, but who has always worked hard to reach her goals. Right now I remain this same person. Obviously as Miss Grand International I have grown a great deal as a human being, but my essence is exactly the same.
GB- You lived in the US when you won the title, correct?
Maria Jose - Yes, I had been living in LA for 7 years. My sister was living in the USA and so I decided to follow her. I wanted to study in the US, to have a more stable life. My other sister also moved there and it´s great to have family around.
GB- You won the Miss Grand Peru title with no pageant experience and then came Miss Grand International not long after that, and you won the title. How did it feel for you to see everything happening so fast?
Maria Jose - I guess at the time when it happened I felt prepared for life in general terms, not for a beauty pageant in specific. However, when I became Miss Grand Peru, I had great support back in Peru. My coach, my national organization, they were very good when preparing me to compete in MGI. But I also feel like life itself has prepared me for this: all the traveling I´ve done, my business experience, I felt like I had the tools to face this challenge as well, I felt confident all the way through.
GB- Pageant fans want to know: how is the life of Miss Grand International when she´s not working or traveling?
Maria Jose - It´s a nice one. I had my apartment in Bangkok, so when I had some free time I went to the gym, spent time with my friends, and I think I´ve been to all great Italian restaurants in Bangkok, I love Italian food! I have only good things to say about it.
GB- If you could change something about your year of reign as MGI, what would that be?
Maria Jose - I can tell you that I´ve given my 100% as MGI. I don´t feel like I would like to change anything, really. As for the MGI activities, I would have changed a few, because obviously each person thinks in a certain way, and nothing in life is exactly 100% like we dream of. But again, I have no complaints, it was a very special year which I shall forever treasure.
GB- Have you done anything specific to “Stop War and Violence”?
Maria Jose - Sure. We have visited several countries and they all face some kind of challenge when it comes to violence and conflicts. For instance, Colombia, Indonesia, and even in the Netherlands we visited refugees from Africa and the Middle East. Violence is not only about wars and bombing, it comes in different shapes, unfortunately. In my native Peru we fight domestic violence, for example. I am also an ambassador for the fight agains breast cancer, another type of violence which affects and kills so many women. I´ve done a lot related to that. It´s all about using our voices as beauty queens to inspire and to take a message of hope to people wherever they are or whatever they are facing.
GB- Although you look like a sweet girl, those who get closer to you soon realize that you are a very strong woman, with a very strong personality. What made the strong woman that you are?
Maria Jose - I could say that I do have this sweet side, but yes, I am very strong. I don´t let people make a fool of me. I can tell you that from a very early age I´ve had to work, at many times I felt like I was on my own, which made me learn how to defend myself, how to be strong. My sisters are like this as well, but I guess I am a bit worse (she laughs). But I am also usually very relaxed, easy going. But being a perfectionist who likes things to be the way she likes, is not easy. So I had to be strong.
GB- Mr. Nawat in the interview he gave to GB, mentioned that you have been a great MGI, however different from the others, in the sense that you were always very independent. Now it is your turn: what can you tell us about MGI organization?
Maria Jose - In general terms it´s a very professional organization. Their culture is very different from the Latin American or the American culture, so naturally at times we did not agree with stuff, but nothing that could not be solved with good and proper communication. I am indeed very independent, I have my ideas very clear in my mind, so at times I was the problem and not them. I am very stubborn, you know? They expect their beauty queen to act according to their principles and rules, which is obvious and right. But in the end I believe that, together, we have had a successful year and I am very happy with my time of reign and with the MGI family. We will always be connected and they can count on me.
GB - What is next for you?
Maria Jose- Next I want to invest in my career as an actress and also to further develop my business. As usual I will keep on working hard, knowing that I will always find good things ahead.
GB- One final question: is it true you that you are about to get engaged?
Maria Jose - I do have a very important person in my life, someone who supports me in all aspects, the one who actually gave me all the love and support in my journey as a beauty queen. He´s been willing to give me an engagement ring since the time when we met, but perhaps now finally came the time when I can accept it.
GB - You were a phenomenal Miss Grand International. Thank you very much for this interview.
Maria Jose - Thank you, guys. You have always been supportive and I remember that last year GB had me as the winner. I am so happy that you got it right! Gracias!