Interview with Elite Miss Pennsylvania – Danielle Alura
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 represent.
Can you introduce yourself ?
Elite Miss Pennsylvania, Danielle Alura Mignogna, 31 years young
What made you enter pageants ?
Alongside my mother in my church I volunteered for Family Promise since I was 14 y/o. Family Promise is a national charity that rehouses homeless families with a 90% success rate of breaking the cycle in about 42 days. Over the years I have moved up from volunteering to being elected on their Executive Board as the Secretary, Chair of the event committee and also the Vice President of Family Promise of Orange County. Being a green advocate has been a huge part of my life so now I focus my efforts on the environment. As a member of the United Nations Association of Philadelphia, I am a member of their event committee. We have already hosted a number of events and have plenty more exciting happenings throughout the year. The pageant systems I have chosen to compete in have had great prize winning packages to help the charities and organizations I am passionate about. Pageants also serve as a great megaphone for me to spread awareness as people recognize a title and listen to my platforms causes.
Can you tell us about your pageant journey so far ?
My very first pageant I competed in my final year of age eligibility for Miss Delaware USA. People in my community encouraged me to compete as they stated I exhibited the qualities and passions state titleholders should have. After learning more about what pageants can do for the causes you care for, I decided to compete. I placed top 20 and won the humanitarian award after donating just over two thousand items of food for the Delaware Food Pantry the day before Thanksgiving that year. I have also been honored to be crowned Miss Delaware US International 2014 and placed top 10 at Miss US International, also winning Miss Congeniality. In 2016 I moved out to California to continue my career in entertainment while focusing also on my humanitarian efforts. I was crowned International Ms. California and placed 4th runner up at International Ms. Pageant winning the $500 prize towards my charity, Family Promise. With my grandfather turning 102, I then moved back to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to be closer to him in 2018. Now I am honored to represent my state as Elite Miss Pennsylvania Earth 2020. I have already been recognized with receiving the directors award for the PA/East Coast Chapter of Miss Earth USA. This month I also was also honored to receive the 2020 Olive Branch Certificate of Recognition from the Coalition for Peace Action for my efforts to build a Green Economy and to resolve economic and racial inequities in our society. I cannot be more excited to meet my sister queens in Vegas to compete for Elite Miss Earth USA.
What made you decide to compete in the Miss Earth USA System in the Elite Category ?
After traveling to 9 countries last summer— no matter where I went, Galapagos islands, Hawaii, Samoa, American Samoa, Fiji, Australia, Bali, Japan or China I came across trash everywhere and couldn’t shake it. Skuba diving for the first time in Fiji and seeing trash on the ocean floor, plastic packaging all over Asia, burning plastic trash in Dominica to cook food…I had to do something. After researching how to create change in my community and local government towards a greener future I discovered there is a pageant system for it; Miss Earth USA Organization! There begins my honor of being crowned Elite Miss Pennsylvania and my platform No Excuse for Single Use.
What the best thing that pageants have taught you ?
In the end, competition has nothing to do with it. Stay true to your “why” and stay the course. Pageants are great way to push your limits to make an impact. In the end your title is only a year long…..and your efforts, if sincere, shouldn’t stop at the end of the catwalk. I wish more delegates would continue their reign, and their charitable lifestyle with just the same vigor as they showed leading up to the competition. I truly admire those that do so. I see you and I applaud you. Reach out to me, let’s combine our related efforts and make an impact together.
What’s your pageant platform and why?
No Excuse for Single Use.
My platform has two sides to it. First, I focused on encouraging people to begin a zero waste home during the pandemic by taking simple green steps. I post a new sustainable video every week to help you add a new green habit to your lifestyle. However, going green and making a big impact on climate change is not strictly with us as individuals. Hence, we need the corporations to contribute their efforts for climate change. Otherwise… as individuals going green will not even make a dent in climate change improvements. So the other side of my platform focuses on business. I am partnering (first) with the hotel industry for their green improvements and influencing them to pledge to reduce their waste and plastics.
What’s your dream title ?
Elite Miss Earth USA then Face of the World!
If you were to win Elite Miss Earth USA what would it mean to you ?
I cannot say enough great things about the Miss Earth USA system. Never have I experienced such a sisterhood, a team effort and the encouragement across age groups all fighting our related battles for a greener planet. The national pageant for Elite Miss Earth USA is in August In Vegas. I have made such amazing headway with reducing waste and plastics in my region that I would be honored after August to continue my work as Elite Miss Earth USA. My goals would stay the same however the PR strategy would increase greatly. I learned by leading charities that it’s much easier when you have a team and a great organization behind you. I’d prefer to give the credit to the organization’s national title and be the hamster on the wheel instead of my personal name in lights. Either way, the work to encourage and inspire communities will always continue for me through out my life as I have donated my entire life to serving causes.
What’s the best advice you have for fellow pageant queens ?
Reach out to the younger queens, learn from the older queens, release all fear. Let’s encourage each other and lift each other up.
What have you been doing in the run up to your pageant final ?
First, a lot of work was done to build my content to teach zero waste home skills. then I built my brand while working alongside the United Nations Association of Philadelphia and other organizations that endorsed my platform No Excuse for Single Use. While waiting patiently for the states to open back up so that I could tackle businesses to reduce plastic waste and consumption, I did plenty of hiking, cooking and sleeping when I could. Naps have been a blessing! Right now it’s full steam ahead on our “Think Global Act Local” project. My platform No excuse for Single Use for example works with both the individual and corporations. If we implement my green solutions locally into our communities and corporations we would remove tons of plastic from our landfills. Imagine if we did this is in all communities. We would find the solution’s ripple effect globally. My goal is to prevent over 1 ton of plastics from winding up in our landfills.
Favourite ever appearance ?
Most recently I was honored to lobby alongside Penn Environment, Steph Wein and Monika Davis against single use plastics, promoting renewable energy and electric vehicle infrastructure. I’m so happy to announce that Pennsylvania Representative Ronni Green is now the 104th legislator backing our House Bill 1425 for renewable energy. We also talked about the horrors of HB1100 that promoted single use plastics and voiced the importance of HB596 to increase EV infrastructure. Words cannot describe what it feels to be a part of “green” history and I’m honored to be utilized by Rep. Ronni Green as a Zero Waste Home resource for our community.
How has the lockdown due to covid19 affected your pageant journey ?
It’s presented it’s obstacles as far as the rate and ability to accomplish things in a certain time frame. However, I just readjusted the check points for my goals and my approach. Now I would say it was a blessing in disguise that caused me to be overly tactical with each goal toward my green impact. I’ll definitely be utilizing a similar approach with future endeavors to create awareness and build community support.
What makes a good pageant role model ?
I tend to look up to those that not only promote themselves but also others. Those that stay true to their community leadership roles and impacts even after the competition shine the brightest in my opinion.
What’s your favourite pageant round ?
The swimsuit portion is my favorite because it takes me back to when I lived in China runway modeling for SIUF on TV. SIUF is China’s version of fashion week, Victorias Secret Fashion Show and Miss USA combined over the course of 7 days, airing live on TV on 24 channels around Asia. As one of 32 supermodels, I even won a talent show leading up to the runway shows. This gave me the opportunity to sing onstage in between designers I walked for as the only entertainment on the final night.
How do you deal with pageant nerves ?
When it comes to nerves, I focus my energy on the accomplishments of the year and how important it is to have fun while competing. Not everyone get’s to win but no one can replicate you. I hold onto that with positive energy.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions it’s been lovely getting to know you and more about your platform. Much Love Charlotte, Ms Diamond South Yorkshire 2020.