The director of an Australian beauty pageant has been named the Best National Director by the world’s leading pageant website, Pageant Planet.

Morgan Mancini, one half of the mother and daughter team who founded Miss & Mr Diamond Australia, won fourth place last year, and took out the top spot this year. Miss/Mr Diamond Australia Co-director Charlie Mancini said the winners are determined by feedback received from contestants. “Pageant Planet receives thousands of entries from all over the world, including from all of the big American pageants, so it really is the highest accolade anyone can receive in the pageant industry,” said Mancini.

The Mancini’s have worked hard to eliminate the harsh stigma attached to pageantry, starting with banning the ‘awkward’ onstage question and answer, and bikini modelling sections from their pageant.“We simply ask contestants onstage to name their chosen charity, and explain why they chose it – confidence building at its finest,” said Charlie. “The kids are able to answer as they know about their charities. We have also banned the bikini section of the competition as there is no need for such a round within pageants, especially those which are not based on appearance.”

The pageant directors also not only support, but actively encourage, contestants to compete in pageants outside of their own. “The Miss Grand International pageant system made waves recently by revoking the title of a former winner because she entered a competing pageant after the completion of her reign,” said Morgan. “We actively encourage people who want to seriously compete in pageants to come to us first, and to consider our system as a stepping stone to other pageants. Our system empowers entrants to go on and compete in international pageants. We have had many contestants credit their wins at other pageants to what they learnt with us at Diamond.”

Another big difference is rather than focusing on the beauty aspect, Miss & Mr Diamond Australia base their competition on contestant’s community work and their potential as positive role models. “First and foremost, our charity concept means each finalist is empowered to choose a charity close to their heart,” said Morgan. “Many pageants force contestants to raise money for the pageant’s charity, we don’t do this. We also do not collect charity money on behalf of contestants, the contestants send all monies raised directly to their charities of choice, and provide us with a letter from the charity to show the funds have been received.”

Morgan, who has entered multiple pageants herself, knew that she did not fit the ‘cookie cutter’ pageant mould, and wanted to start her own pageant that included everyone, regardless of height, weight, age or gender. “Our pageant has categories from age 6 for females and 16 for males with no upper age limit,” said Morgan. Diamond is one of the very few pageants in the world to eliminate age restrictions. We celebrate the beauty and diversity of every individual. Our current Miss Classic Diamond Australia, Analieze Newton is 50 years old and she says that prior to our pageant, she was a lost soul, a ghost. Miss Diamond Australia has changed her life, she now sits on the judging panel at pageants around Australia and the world, and is a bit of a celebrity.

Applications for Miss Diamond Australia 2019 are now closed, with the gala grand final crowning event taking place on Saturday 13 April from 5pm at The Emporium Hotel South Bank.

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