Marta Stepien will be competing in tonight’s Miss Universe 2018 competition, representing Canada. After the preliminary competition, Stepien caught viewers attention as a contender for the title. She also impressed in the National Costume Show, for which she dressed as “Queen of the Maple Leaf,” in an elaborate gown and headdress that paid homage to her country’s symbol and history.
In addition to holding the title of Miss Canada 2018, Marta Stepien is a model and biomedical engineering student. Insider notes her impressive academics: she “holds a 3.96 GPA as a Biomedical Engineering Technology student at St. Clair College with a passion for Genetics and Immunology.” With the platform and title of Miss Universe, Windsor Star reports that Stepien “plans to work to empower young women and girls from low-income, single-parent immigrant backgrounds. She also wants to work towards creating free after-school programs that focus on technology, robotics, coding and networking.”
Ahead of the televised competition, Miss Universe shared a video on YouTube for fans to get to know Stepien. In the video, Stepien shares “what really inspired me to pursue that degree is my mother. My mother is a very strong woman. She is also an engineer. She’s an electronics engineer and I saw her struggle in her career because there was a lot of discrimination towards women in engineering at that time and I wanted to be the one to break that stigma and help break that stigma and really show that engineering women are just as good as men and we can do whatever we want to.” She says she hopes to have a career in robotic prosthesis because she believes Canada’s health care makes it “very possible to make robotic prosthesis available to everybody, regardless of financial background.”
Stepien was born in Poland but raised in Windsor, Canada; when she won her national title, her local news source, Windsor Star, reported that she earned Miss Canada by “beating out 43 finalists from across Canada. Last year, she was the competition’s first runner-up.”
According to Windsor Star, Stepien has been an international model for 10 years. She also served as “a government-appointed Japanese tourism ambassador.” On her personal Instagram account, which has over 47,000 followers, Stepien shares posts featuring her duties as Miss Canada, modeling photos, and life as a student. After the preliminary competition, she wrote on Instagram “I can’t wait to get back on stage and represent my home and heart.” Supporters commented words of encouragement, including “I think you are the one to beat today! Hopefully you’ll be our new Miss Universe!” and “Omg today is the day! We all know your going to slay, Goodluck today and we are ready for that historic win! #historicwin.”
The YouTube account “Miss Universe Predictions” predicts that Stepien will make the Top 20 in the Miss Universe competition, placing her in the #5 position. Many commenters on the video, which has over 87,000 views, agree that she is also on their “top” lists.
Watch Marta Stepien compete for the title of “Miss Universe 2018” on Sunday, December 16. Fox will be airing the competition at 8pm ET/7pm CT.