Kristiyana Yordanova: “Being chosen as Miss World Bulgaria comes with a responsibility”

Kristiyana Yordanova being crowned Miss World Bulgaria 2022
Photographed by George Vrabchev

In December 2022, Kristiyana Yordanova was crowned Miss World Bulgaria 2022, meaning that she will now represent the country in the upcoming Miss World pageant. Apart from winning the Miss World Bulgaria 2022 title, Kristiyana has also competed in the Miss World Canada 2022 pageant, where she secured a place in the Top 15.

In addition to this, Kristiyana is a mental health advocate, who is currently fulfilling her dream of becoming a clinical psychologist. What is more, she is the author of Forbidden words (a poetry chapbook) and the founder of Woman Squared: a foundation supporting women in abusive relationships.

In an interview with Sip of Culture, Kristiyana shares her personal story, revealing how she emigrated to Canada as a little girl and how it feels to return to her roots and represent Bulgaria in the Miss World pageant.

Hi Kristiyana, congratulations on being crowned Miss World Bulgaria 2022! What does it mean to you to represent your home country in this way?

First of all I want to say thank you, it is truly an honour to represent my home at the Miss World Competition. At the end of the day, my heart has always been deeply connected to Bulgaria. I resonate with the culture the values and principles many of us carry. I am proud to be Bulgarian, a country with such rich history and traditions, and if I can make an impact on the international stage, that in itself will mean so much to me.

Being chosen as Miss World Bulgaria comes with a responsibility which is why I dedicate so much of my time helping women through my own foundation as well as a number of different organisations where I hold educational seminars and workshops for women and children battling toxic relationships and abusive behaviour from their partners. Giving back to the community is my mission.

What made you decide to move back to Bulgaria after growing up in Canada?

I emigrated to Canada when I was only a child, however my roots are what defined me and my value system growing up. I was always seen as different in Canada since I was a little girl. I am thankful because Vancouver gave me endless opportunities and personal growth.

However, I decided to seek a life that was different than the one I curated in Vancouver. After studying psychology in depth at the University of British Columbia I decided to step out of my comfort zone, and follow my dream by creating a movement for women in Bulgaria. I believe Bulgaria has so much potential, and I want to make an impact in any way I can.

Kristiyana Yordanova, Miss World Bulgaria 2022

Expanding on the previous question, how did you find your repatriation? What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?

The interesting part about being an immigrant, is that you never fully identify with one culture. You become a mosaic of different perspectives and views. When I came back to Bulgaria, I had to adjust to the life here, which I was no longer used to. By being flexible and adaptable through the number of obstacles I have faced I was able to remain positive and take the best from the way of life here.

The biggest challenge I have faced would be the language barrier, while I spoke Bulgarian at home frequently, it is still not at the level where I can deeply express myself freely. This is just a small hiccup in my journey, and with practice this will resolve on its own. I believe that we often face challenges in life, especially when we are in unknown territory. However, it is only a chance for us to develop and undergo metamorphosis making us stronger with each step.

In addition to being Miss World Bulgaria 2022, you are also the author of a poetry chapbook. Can you share a little bit about this book and how it came about?

Since I was 15 I used writing as my form of therapy. I wanted the words on the page to represent all the emotions and turmoil that navigated me through life. My dream was to publish my first poetry book, and last year I mustered up the courage to include some of my favourite fragments of writing specifically on love called “Forbidden Words”.

This book is a detailed account of the stages of toxic love. It is based on a true story, and I hope by being vulnerable and telling my own story I can inspire others to do the same. But most importantly to teach others that you are not defined by your circumstances, and you can chose to walk away, and believe in your own power.

You also recently founded Woman Squared. What can you tell us about this foundation and your plans for its future?

Woman Squared is a foundation I created, which I am incredibly passionate about. First of all, Woman Squared means that once you provide one woman with the proper tools to overcome the hardships she faces with destructive relationships, she will share the knowledge with other women in her circle. Just like that, it becomes a domino effect.

The goal of Woman Squared is to support women as well as youth who have experienced mental and physical abuse. It provides free workshops and seminars on overcoming manipulation and emotional control, teaches about the warning signs, how to rebuild your self-esteem, and how to gain the power to walk away.

I am excited to share that I will begin work with multiple organisations in both Canada and Bulgaria sharing my mission to stand up, speak up and fight for those who are vulnerable. There are many future plans for Woman Squared, and this is just the beginning!

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself now that you have accomplished so much in so many different fields?

If I could go back in time I would tell myself to follow what lights a fire within me, to follow my passion because that will lead me to where I need to go. Once I have chosen this path, to relentlessly chase it and never give up. I believe that in order for us to fulfil our purpose in life, we have to first believe in ourselves in order to help others. Igniting the spark in others, is the next step to fulfilling my purpose.

Last piece of advice, is to never be afraid of your uniqueness, if you stand out from the rest know that you are beautiful and that there is strength within that. Don’t try to change for others, and always remain true to yourself.

Learn more about Kristiyana on her website or view her Instagram here.

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