How Canada handled its own Miss Universe pageant crowning fail

Denise Garrido was the victim of Canada's own pageant crowning fail. Except unlike Miss Colombia, she got to be Miss Universe Canada for a day. Allumski Photography

Beauty queen Denise Garrido had deja-vu watching the cringe-inducing moment of the wrong Miss Universe being crowned on Sunday.

The Ontarian knew host Steve Harvey is a comedian; so when he announced he’d read the ballot wrong, Garrido thought it was a joke.

Her jaw dropped when she, along with millions of viewers and the girls on stage, realized it wasn’t.

“I was like, ‘It happened again!'”

In 2013, Garrido was named Miss Universe Canada. Then — after she did a full day of photo shoots and interviews — organizers realized there had been a mistake.

WATCH: Denise Garrido’s crown was taken away due to a typo in the judging process.

The pageant director told her in a private meeting that the numbers for the top five contestants got “jumbled.” So rather than being the winner, she was actually the third-runner up.

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Her initial reaction back then was also one of confusion. Garrido thought she wasn’t hearing him properly.

“I didn’t know if it was reality or a dream,” she recalls. “I was so stunned I was speechless.”

That shock soon turned to embarrassment.

“I had all these messages all over my Facebook: ‘Congrats, Denise! We’re so proud’

“And to now go back and be like, ‘Oh, by the way,'” she says with a laugh. “‘That’s not the case anymore.'”

WATCH: Calgary’s Riza Santos received the Miss Universe Canada crown a couple months later 

She says she had only heard of something like this happening at a couple small pageants. That is, until Sunday’s debacle.

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Australia’s Next Top Model made the same gaffe on live television in 2010.

And it was just as painfully awkward to watch.

Being told in private definitely softened the blow for Garrido.

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The now 29-year-old is a big believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason. Looking back, she’s actually grateful things happened the way they did.

She believes her experience makes her more relateable to Miss Universe Canada candidates, whom she now coaches. She points out that she can speak to them from the perspective of a winner as well as “not the winner.”

“Everyone in life goes through disappointments,” says Garrido, who also works as a motivational speaker.

“There’s this great saying: ‘You cannot control the cards you are dealt, but you can control how you play those cards.’”

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