Interview with Dr. Diana Lawrence – Ms. Senior World Kentucky 2020
Firstly thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions about your pageant journey for my pageant lockdown blog. It’s lovely getting to know fellow pageant queens and more about the systems that they represent.
What made you enter pageants ?
I began participating in pageantry because of my challenges with public speaking. The first title that I won was Miss Math Club for my high school pageant.
Can you tell us about your pageant journey so far ?
My journey began at 14. I competed, and I was terrified. I was independently living at 16 years old as a live-in nanny and put myself through the last two years of high school & college. In college I gained more confidence and tried again. I won Miss Snow Queen. I learned with each win and loss. It was truly a journey of personal growth and development. Because of my love for the interview process, I tended to choose pageants where this is most heavily weighted, but there have been a few exceptions. I have been blessed to win multiple state, national and international titles. Each one was and is very special to me. A few of those titles include Mrs. Galaxy International 2004, Mrs. United America 2002, Mrs. Universal Achiever 2001, Mrs. Outstanding Woman in America 2001, Mrs. American Achievement 2000, and Mrs. Florida 2000 (OTY). I awarded Dr. America 2002. In addition, I was Ms. Florida America 2014, and 4th runner-up to Ms. America 2014 (at almost 50 years-old), as well as 1st runner-up to Ms. America International 2014.
What made you decide to compete in Ms. Senior World ?
I have been interested in senior pageants for years. However, I do not have on stage talent. In addition, the director of the pageant is extremely well respected in the industry and I have known her and of her for decades. So, I know it will be elegant and well run. At this stage of my life, pageantry truly is my “girl time.” Each day is a precious gift; so, I am “all in” representing not only my state, but the World.
What the best thing that pageants have taught you ?
Through the years, I learned to manage my fear of public speaking. Because of the extensive, panel pageant interview opportunities; I have been able to secure many high-level, career-related positions. Without pageantry, I would have crumbled facing search committee panels of 25+ people.
What is your pageant platform and why ?
My platform is Believe It To Be It, which was established in 1989. I began this program to facilitate self-awareness activities in girls and women; so, they may realize their worth, as well as educate them about positive self-esteem and the dangers of eating disorders. In college, I was anorexic, and at the time (pre internet), there was very little information available to doctors, let alone the public. Therefore, I shared my experience and helped others focus on self-development, not self-destruction. Over the years, as more information became available about anorexia, the program shifted more toward self-development/self-acceptance through goal obtainment and the power of higher education.
What was or is your dream title?
Honestly, my dream title was Mrs. Galaxy and I achieved it. In 2003, I was looking for another pageant to move me to stretch out of my comfort zone and aligned with my view of appearances and professionalism. I watched the pageant for more than a year, and then in 2014, I threw my hat in the ring. I went on to compete at Ms. America as Ms. Florida and was 4th runner up to Ms. America 2014 as well as 1st runner up to Ms. America International 2014. This was an achievement because is it 48-year-old woman, and I had pushed myself physically to my limits. I could not have been prouder to be standing there on that stage as a finalist. I attempted to return in 2015, but my job as a college vice president took over my life and the opportunity passed me by. I had faith that another opportunity would arise. And it did with the creation of the Ms. Senior World pageants. I would be so proud to be selected to represent the World full of fabulous women in the their 50s!
What was I like when you were crowned Mrs. Galaxy International ?
I admit that it was the most amazing feeling. I have to say that the most life-altering event for me, which solidified my final self-acceptance, was when I won Mrs. Galaxy International 2004. I sacrificed a great deal during the year of preparation, while working full-time, raising a child, and finishing my doctorate. It took all my courage to focus on being strong (size 6/8 bottom) and my best self, not just being super thin and “perfect.” Due to budget constraints, I had a competition wardrobe of just $600.00, but it reflected what I loved, simple, elegant, and full of color. When I was standing with the other finalist holding hands, she was lovely, blonde, tall, very thin, and in a full crystal gown valued at more money than my car (so, opposite of me), I said to myself, “You are your very best self, and that is enough.” For the first time in my adult life, I was at peace with the outcome and for a recovering anorexic this was a huge step. But, to hear my name called as Mrs. Galaxy and win all but one award (swimwear) because the judges saw the “real me” was beyond words. And to be able to spread the “best self” message through my Believe It To Be It program was powerful.
What is the best advice you have for fellow pageant queens?
Strive to be your best self.
What have you been doing in the run up to your pageant final ?
I plan to continue my BITBI presentations and committee work with St. Jude and Little Libraries/Imagination Library. I relocated to Kentucky; so, I am still establishing myself again. I expect to be very busy with parades, fairs and multiple 5ks, as well as world-renowned Kentucky Derby events
How has the lockdown due to Covid19 affected your pageant journey?
Since events are limited, I have focused on book drives and pet food drives as well as being creative with my Children’s Corner: Queen book readings via Facebook instead on in person.
What makes a good pageant role model ?
No matter the age, the sparkly crown “captures” their attention. What happens after that is spectacular. They hear my words of praise and hope. They learn that persistence is the key to success. I love to see them begin to “believe” that all things are possible. The power of the crown.
What is your favorite pageant round ?
Myself. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the panel interview. Even though it could be deemed “public speaking,” I like it so much more than round robin. The judging panel is intense, which feels like a business meeting, which is very comfortable. I like being able to answer a question once and then move on. At multiple pageants with round robin judging, I have had the same question asked by three of the five judges. Ugh.
How do you deal with pageant nerves ?
Our body truly tells our story. By learning more about my body, I learned more about myself. I use my knowledge of body language every day. This understanding helps me really pay attention to my employees. The subtle changes in their body language and helps me understand their needs better.
Social Media Links
Mrs.KentuckyQueen and soon to be updated…
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions it’s been incredible reading your answers about your pageant success and platform. I wish you all the best for the future. Much Love Charlotte Ms Diamond South Yorkshire 2020.