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Fort Macleod woman competes in cover girl contest

A 28-year-old Fort Macleod woman is in the running to be a cover girl for an international magazine.

Now Maria Bishop needs some help from her community to win Inked Magazine’s Cover Girl Search contest.

In addition to having her photo on the magazine’s cover, the winner receives a $25,000 prize and a two-day session with a leading tattoo artist.

“I feel that tattoos are a way to express yourself in a way that is beautiful and creative,” said Bishop, a mother of three. “Also, a lot of my tattoos tell a story. Much like how a person will take a picture of places they have been, I get artwork (tattoos) of experiences I’ve had.”

“Tattoos are such a big part of who I am as a person, my body is a canvas with all different pieces of art.”

Bishop’s family moved to Fort Macleod 18 years ago from Kelowna, B.C. to be closer to family members on the Blood Tribe reserve.

In addition to raising her daughters, Bishop and her mother own and operate Buffalo Pawn.

“We have been working hard to make a positive impact in our community,” Bishop said.

Bishop got her first tattoo at the age of 16. 

“In our family, the ‘praying hands’ hold a very strong meaning,” Bishop explained. “So when Splashing Ink was still around, that’s where I went to get praying hands on my shoulder.”

In her biography on the Inked contest Web site, Bishop explains the praying hands symbolize the serenity prayer, as well as strength.

“Also, they are my families crest.”

Bishop subsequently discovered that tattoos are a bit like potato chips in that it is sometimes difficult to have just one.

Laughing that she now has too many tattoos to count, Bishop estimates the number at close to 30.

Since getting that first tattoo at a shop in Fort Macleod, Bishop has provided a canvas for a variety of tattoo artists.

“I like to test out different places and get different artists’ designs,” Bishop explained. “Every artist has a different technique, so I love to try them out — from local artists to big businesses.”

A good fried encouraged Bishop to enter the Inked Magazine contest.

“I’ve entered a couple times in the past and haven’t made the cut until this time around,” Bishop said. “So I feel super lucky to have the chance to compete this year.”

“I feel everything happens for a reason, and to have made it this far in the competition feels like a total blessing.”

Bishop’s friends describe her as a go-getter who, when she really wants something, does it, and does it very well.

They describe her as an independent, strong and capable Indigenous woman and a loving single mother who will drop anything to help the people she loves because she has a heart of gold.

In her biography on the contest Web site, Bishop explains her thoughts on beauty.

“What you see, is what you get. I don’t wear foundation, blush or highlighter. I don’t even know how to contour, or apply any of that. A beautiful woman should not be known as someone with a face full of makeup. A beautiful woman should be raw, and real. I’m here to be that woman. As an Indigenous (Blackfoot) woman, I’m here to be the one who shows others that anyone can become something, if you show your true self. Unfiltered. Unapologetic. Unbothered.”

Bishop was in second place in hr category on the weekend and is encouraged how voting is going.

“I am grateful to have the support from my friends and family who are helping me rank up.”

Bishop would use the prize money for home renovations and to help with the high cost of living.

As the contest begins to wind down, Bishop would be delighted to have the voting support of Fort Macleod residents.

“It would mean the world to me,” Bishop said. “I am so proud of our little town and the achievements it has already made. It would be super cool to win this competition and get our town’s name out there again. I am proud to say I live in Fort Macleod, I love the people here. I would be over the moon grateful to have the support of our community behind me in this.” 

Fort Macleod residents can vote for Maria Bishop at

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