Victoria Pedri is more than just your average Canadian collegiette. Besides flashing her winning smile as Miss Canada United Nations, she’s also a woman with unprecedented leadership capabilities and a concern for social justice. Her list of accomplishments goes on and on, but most notable is her founding of Get REAL, a national, student-led not-for-profit that educates and advocates for LGBTQ+ youth. Her plan to change the world is pretty much her lifestyle, and she just keeps going.
Name: Victoria Pedri
College: University of Windsor
Major: Psychology, Minor: Political Science
Graduation Year: 2017
Her Campus: What do you consider your greatest achievement to date?
Victoria Pedri: My greatest achievement is a continuous one: recurrent growth and legacy. I have created several scholarships at the University of Windsor for students as well as lay the groundwork for multiple annual awareness-raising and inclusive events. I have been the recipient of several humanitarian and academic awards. I learned a new language, Italian, as well as stress and time management skills. I am Miss Canada United Nations, a feminist and a global citizen. I am a Delta Zeta sister and a better friend than I was in the past. Since I was 17, each year, I have grown and left behind meaningful imprints for my predecessors to inherit and share.
HC: What was the hardest part of starting Get REAL reporting?
VP: I would love for the whole world to Get REAL (Reach Equality At Last). I have difficulty accepting Get REAL as only for LGBTIQ2 members and allies when I want it to be for everyone, because we are a highly intersectional organization. The hardest part of starting Get REAL at UWindsor was finding members who were dedicated to the cause along with balancing my time to support all the causes I wanted to be involved with.
HC: How has your involvement with Get REAL been so instrumental in your life?
VP: One fateful day in high school, I came out of the closet (more like I burst forth from it), holding my girlfriend’s hand and kissing her goodbye in the hallway. It was not long until her and I felt the heat of the spotlight in our school. Let’s be honest, coming out is not easy. I lost a lot of friends, family and respect from others. I wound up feeling lost, but I still felt a spark of something––courage. I felt brave and fearless for coming out without an apology, even if it was difficult. I realized shortly after that there are so many others who have never built up the courage to come out because of fear. If I am able to be a voice for the voiceless with understanding and compassion, is it not my responsibility?
I brought Get REAL to the Windsor community because I felt it was needed: for the LGBTIQ2 community, for the youth and for me. As a student-led team, we fight bullying and discrimination and promote inclusive language. Get REAL has been undoubtedly important in my life. It has taught me irreplaceable listening and leadership skills as well as the power of positivity, determination and kindness.
HC: Who in your life most inspires you?
VP: In a personal way, my mom inspires me to have courage and to be kind. She has survived adversity with grace and her strength of character is admirable. She is a beautiful person and a caring mother. My little sister also taught me to never accept less than what is deserved. In a patriotic way, Justin Trudeau inspires me to fight for integrity. He walks to the beat of his own drum and I respect him greatly.
HC: What advice do you have for other ambitious collegiettes with a goal/dream?
VP: Learn to love the work and work as hard as you possibly can. Keep your eye on the prize: the end goal. Set your goals high and if you accomplish them easily, set them higher. Take risks and learn from your mistakes. Do not let people with smaller goals, hearts or minds make you feel less worthy than you are, ever.
HC: What are your top goals and priorities post-graduation?
VP: After I complete my undergraduate studies, I hope to attend Harvard Law. I know that acceptance to the best university on earth will not be easy to attain but I will not shy away from the challenge. Currently, I am interested in social justice and fighting discrimination; I believe this passion will guide me through law. I plan to be a lawyer for 20 or so years, after which I will transition into politics. My long-term goal is to be a positive influence in my country and the world.
HC: What is your favorite inspirational quote?
VP: “I’m ready, promotion.”- Spongebob Squarepants
HC: How would you describe yourself in five words?
VP: Driven. Compassionate. Sincere. Academic. Influential.