Here at Lion’s Den U, we always strive to bring you the absolute best in our Friday Fitness Females column, and those of you that have been with us for a while know that we have had a lasting involvement in the the Miss Universe Canada Pageants of recent years, but never have we combined the two in one feature. Why? Well, there’s good reason! We’ve never featured Toronto’s Claudia Scali… until now!
Born and raised in Toronto, Claudia comes from an Italian background and grew up with a passion for dance and sports. Her childhood was spent taking classes in ballet, acrobatics, jazz, tap, baton, musical theatre, salsa, and hip hop, while she was active in swimming, skating, tennis, volleyball and soccer.
Having danced at such a competitive level, in 2009, Scali took her talents to the Toronto Argonauts Cheerleading team and was one of the privileged women who made the squad. This allowed Claudia to participate in many community and charity events, which made the experience very fulfilling.
Much more than just a pretty face and athletic body, Scali attended the University of Toronto and majored in Integrative Biology, with a second major in French (she’s Bilingual) and graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Science.
So, let’s check the score sheet- She’s good looking, physically fit, and smart. What other incredible attributes could she possible possess? A heart of gold! Claudia started a fundraiser through the Sick Kid’s Foundation to support children with disabilities, and has also worked with SOS Children’s Villages and Operation Smile. Part of her inspiration comes from her sister Vanessa, who was born with a physical disability, but is always on Scali’s mind, and the reason she keeps pushing through her daily struggles.
All in all, nobody is perfect, but Claudia certainly pushes boundaries of perfection like we’ve never seen before. She recently competed as a bikini fitness competitor, and in the upcoming weeks will make her debut in the 2013 Miss Universe Canada pageant. Keep an eye out for her…
Interview with Claudia
Who are you?
My name is Claudia Scali. I was born and raised in Toronto, ON and I come from an Italian background. I work for a medical device company and I am passionate about health, fitness and nutrition. I am currently one of the delegates competing for Miss Universe Canada 2013, and I am also a bikini fitness competitor.
What 5 words best describe you?
Driven, energetic, passionate, dedicated and thoughtful!
What was it like growing up in Toronto with a large Italian family?
Coming from Toronto has given me exposure to many cultures and has provided me with a greater appreciation for the world. I grew up surrounded by a loving family who always encouraged me to do my best and pursue my dreams. I had the opportunity to participate in many extracurricular activities and visit some amazing parts of Canada and the world! Life in my house was full of laughs and great home-cooked meals! My close knit Italian family has helped shaped the woman I am today and instilled many important values in me.
Where and what did you study in school?
I completed a major in Integrative Biology from the University of Toronto and received my Honours Bachelor of Science with a second major in French language.
We read that you work for a medical device company managing the educational programs provided to doctors and nurses across Canada. Can you expand on that a little?
My job is very dynamic; each day brings a new challenge and experience. I am responsible for the educational programs offered across Canada to doctors and nurses. Since I work for a medical device company, we specifically deal with surgery and there is always a new technique, procedure, tool or disease state to learn about. I help facilitate the learning environments for these types of discussions.
How and when did you become so interested in fitness?
I grew up in a very active family and I was always involved in various extracurricular activities. Sports and fitness played a large role in my life, and continue to do so today. I enjoy challenging myself and leading an active and healthy lifestyle.
As a fitness competitor, what do you enjoy most about competing? What do you dislike the most, if anything?
I love the dedication required to train for a competition. The everyday challenges and sacrifices are what drive me. It is also a lot of fun to participate in the competitions. The opportunity to go on stage is a way of celebrating all your hard work, and you are able to meet many inspiring people.
You not only were involved in sports growing up, but really loved to dance. Why did you love about dance so much?
As I grew up, my love of dance truly developed, because I enjoyed the freedom of expression through movement, the friendships I created, and the discipline in practicing and perfecting the art. At a young age I was exposed to many different forms of art. I learned to play piano, participated in drama clubs at school and attended dance classes. Through these activities, I found that my passion was in dance and I continued to explore various dance forms. I took classes in ballet, acrobatics, jazz, tap, baton, musical theatre, salsa, and hip hop.
I was privileged to be able to take my dance to a competitive level and in 2009, as my dance experiences led me to be a part of a professional CFL dance team, with the Toronto Argonauts. Dance continues to play a large role in my life today, and I look forward to exploring new dance forms in the future.
What was it like being a part of such a well-known group of professionals who were involved locally in events and charity work?
This amazing experience taught me so much about myself, especially to always pursue my dreams and never give up. I thoroughly enjoyed representing the team and was able to participate in many community events and charities which made the job very fulfilling. I am proud to be an Argo’s alumni and to have had the honor of representing my cities CFL team!
On the topic of charity work, you do a lot of it, mainly with Operation Smile, SOS Villages, and Sick Kid’s Foundation. Can you tell us a bit about what you do for each?
I really enjoy volunteering and I plan to always remain active in my community’s fundraisers. Some of the recent initiatives I have organized are in support of the Sick Kid’s Foundation, SOS Children’s Villages and Operation Smile.
In support of the Sick Kid’s Foundation, I started an online fundraiser to support children with disabilities. I also organized a Valentine’s Day cookie drive and a yogathon to support Operation Smile.
My next events are a charity car wash to support SOS Children’s Villages, and a gala event that will support both Operation Smile and SOS Children’s Villages.
While charity work is a big part of Miss Universe Contestant criteria, it’s certainly not the reason you volunteer. You’re younger sister Vanessa has a physical disability, which is a large reason why you’re involved in fitness and volunteer work. Can you tell us how she inspires you?
My little sister Vanessa is the most influential person in my life. Vanessa was born with a physical disability and inspires me to challenge myself every day.
Last year I decided to take my love of fitness to the next level and try competing. I began to think about how I could put some meaning behind what I was doing. The first thing that came to mind were the people in my life that faced daily struggles that couldn’t even compare to what I was about to do.
I naturally felt compelled to dedicate this to Vanessa who is the most inspirational person I know. She tackles any obstacle in her way with such ease and confidence. I don’t know anyone who could conquer as much as she has and with a smile along the way too!
I started a fundraiser through the Sick Kid’s Foundation to support children with disabilities, and I asked my friends and family to support my journey by donating.
This experience taught me so much about myself and it has been truly inspiring and motivating!
Speaking of Miss Universe, you’ll be competing in May in the Miss Universe Canada pageant. How long have you been doing pageants?
This is actually my first pageant, and I have truly enjoyed every aspect of this experience.
Are you motivated by personal goals or competition?
I am definitely motivated by my personal goals. My biggest competitor is myself! At the end of each day my objective is to feel good about what I accomplished. I look at every new day as an opportunity to challenge myself in an effort to get closer to my dreams and aspirations. I continuously strive to push my limits and try new things.
How strict is your diet? What does it consist of?
My diet is all about balance. I am a big believer in fresh food, so I stay away from anything processed and try to get a good mix of produce in my diet each day.
What is your workout schedule like?
I enjoy working out, so whether I’m having a good day or a bad day, I like to let go in the gym. If I am having a day where I feel extra tired or sore though, I give my body the rest it needs. My schedule really varies from week to week, and ultimately I do what makes me feel good!
What part of your body do you take the most pride in?
My smile! I believe that a simple smile can help change someone’s mood or day!
What’s something you’ve had to sacrifice in order to keep such a great figure?
Staying in shape isn’t as much about sacrifice as it is about consistency, compromise and will-power. I give myself cheats from time to time, but the trick is determining how much to have, when to stop and how to get right back on track!
Outside of Fitness and pageants, what do you do in your spare time?
I love to cook and take an interest in exploring healthy ways to make some of my family’s favorite dishes!
In my spare time I enjoy reading and writing. I keep a blog of my recipes and workouts, and I like to stay up to date on the latest research in the areas of health and nutrition.
I also love to spend time with friends and family, laugh, dance and travel. I am interested in exploring new places and immersing myself in various cultures.
Do you have any magazines or photographers you hope to work with on your bucket list?
One of my dreams is to be on the cover of a fitness magazine such as Oxygen or Inside Fitness. Theses magazine have been so instrumental in my fitness career. I have always looked up to and aspired to be a fitness magazine cover girl. I also often refer to the magazines for recipes and workout tips!
What are your plans moving forward?
My career ambition is to one day own my own business related to Health and Fitness. I would like to inspire and motivate others to reach their goals.
Whatever my future holds, I plan to continuously follow my passions and stay true to myself!
Can you leave readers with a quote, saying or something inspirational?
The opportunity to compete for Miss Universe Canada is a great honor and privilege.
I have an enormous appreciation for my country, and would be proud to represent Canada in such a highly respected pageant.
I would embrace the experience to help children with disabilities across Canada and the world. Having a younger sister with a physical disability has changed my outlook on life. It has empowered me to live life to the fullest and overcome any challenge I have been presented with. I would like to empower others and help give them the confidence to accomplish all of their dreams.
I would be motivated to raise awareness for the hospitals and charities that provide research and care for these children, and utilize this opportunity to be a voice for them.
The possibility of making an impact on children across Canada and the world would be a dream come true for me, and a truly magical experience!
Thanks Claudia! You’re truly one of the greatest people we’ve ever met.
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