Spotlighting women who embody positive energy, strength and spirit

Melissa Humana-Paredes is a player on Canada’s National Beach Volleyball team. She’s also a dog mom and an aspiring baker who never leaves the house without SPF. Her incredible moves and unsinkable spirit make her a perfect ambassador for Left On Friday. Born to Chilean political refugees and athletes in their own right—her mother was a ballerina and her father, a pro volleyball coach—the 31-year-old Toronto native was representing Canada internationally by the time she was 16. And this summer, she’s doing it in a big way.

Melissa Volleyball

How did you get into the sport?
I was about three years old when my dad went to the Olympics as a coach and brought back Canada's first and only medal in beach volleyball. So the dream was in me at a very young age and I latched on very quickly and never looked back. It's been true love since I was in diapers.

What makes you feel like yourself on the court?
It’s knowing that I've done everything that I can to be at that point. I have an extremely loving, supportive and challenging support system that has pushed me to get where I am. When I get into my free flow state, I feel liberated, like I can do anything.

What's your advice to young athletes?
Don’t listen to people who don't know who you are. Listen to your instinct. Growing up, I was told “no” multiple times in my sport. I was cut from multiple teams for being too small, and people thought I would never make it internationally. And if I listened to them, I wouldn't be where I am today, I wouldn't be a World Champion or an Olympian. So, listen to who you are, believe in yourself, and surround yourself with people who also believe in you and support you. 

What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned?
That your journey is so much more worthwhile if you pay attention to it and if you allow yourself to be present every single day and not wait for the high moments to feel fulfilled. If you wait, you're wishing away a beautiful life. That's one of the things that I'm trying to carry with me.

You're leaving on Friday, where are you going?
Lake Como!

Melissa Humana-Parades
“I know that I have everything I need to accomplish my dreams and reach my true potential. But it's very easy to get in your own way with critical thoughts and doubts. The biggest part of my journey as of late has been working to find that constant belief in myself. I think it’s my greatest achievement so far.”
Melissa Beach Volleyball Action Shots

Status Update

Two-time Commonwealth Games Champion
2019 World Champion, winning Canada’s first-ever Gold
2019 AVP Newcomer of the Year
2018 & 2019 FIVB Best Setter
2019 FIVB & AVP Defensive Player of the Year
2020 Olympian
Flag bearer for Team Canada at the Opening Ceremony
2023 Silver Medal at Pan Am Games in her mother’s home country of Chile (where her family was reunited for the first time in seven years to watch her play live!)
2023 FIVB Gold Medal Winner on home soil in Montreal

Melissa's LOF Picks