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  • Writer's picturecharlotte lister

Interview with Ms Diamond U.K. 2018 – Aryana Neo

Firstly thank you so much for the opportunity to interview you ! I’m loving getting to know the Diamond Family both past and present.

So what made you enter pageants ?

I entered pageants to gain the confidence and experiences I saw that other pageant girls had. I loved the community and family ethos, and I wanted to be part of the best club!

You competed before Ms Diamond U.K. ? if so can you tell us about your journey including previous titles ?

I was Scouted for Miss England in approximately 2007 and then went onto the following, Miss Universe Asiana finalist 2010 1st runner up – my first taste of pageants Miss Universe GB finalist Miss Princess of the World finalist 2011 where I won Miss Photogenic Miss Supranatuional finalist 2012 and 2013 Miss British Empire 2013 top 10 Miss South Asia 2014 top 3 Miss Grand England finalist 2015 Miss British Empire 2016 finalist top 10 Ms Galaxy finalist 2018 where I came 2nd runner up. This was my first experience on the Galaxy stage, after visiting to watch the pageant before. Ms Diamond UK 2018 winner 👑 one of the best days that I will never forget. Friends and sister queens made for life! As they say, diamonds are forever. I won a trip of a lifetime to compete internationally at the Regency international pageant, as Ms Regency United Kingdom 2018. Such an amazing experience and I have such a taste for international pageants now. I am now a Mrs, so watch this space!

What made you decide to compete in Ms/Mrs Diamond U.K. / Ms/Mrs Regency International?

Previously Ms/Mrs Diamond U.K. was a combined category but for 2020 these are now separate and the Mrs Category is still taking entries.

I had worked so hard for another pageant earlier that year, and I felt as though I was on a course of self development, and I really wanted to stay in touch and be a part of the pageant world. Even more than I ever had before. I entered quite late into Ms Diamond, and raised as much money for charity that I could in a short space of time. Whilst making appearances as well. The night I won, I felt more relaxed and more confident than ever before in each round, and I think that must have shown. My confidence came from the development in myself, that it’s the experience and people you meet that’s important. I took the pressure off myself, and I think that really helped me relax. Being able to then represent the UK at Regency Internationals, was a dream come true!

Can you tell us what it was like competing at a International level ?

Competing at Regency Internationals was amazing! The possibilities seemed endless. The amount of amazing women you meet from around the world, of all ages. All of them inspiring, and doing fantastic things in their home towns. You could really feel the energy and pageantry felt like it was on another level. I still couldn’t believe I had won my place to travel to Las Vegas to represent my country! Internationals were incredible, but the competition was fierce! The dedication and focus is amazing, and you really saw, how for some women, pageantry was ingrained in them from a very young age. It was almost a career for them. I was in awe of some of these women! It’s really made me up my game, and I would love to go back to internationals and compete on an international stage again. One of the best experiences of my life.

What the best thing that pageants have taught you?

They have taught me that no matter what goes on in life outside pageantry, that your pageant girls are always there for you. I feel as though I am part of the best club there could be! Women supporting women, and women I hardly know shouting and screaming for me on stage, supporting me. It’s absolutely incredible. Through pageants I have made some amazing long life friends. The solidarity and emotions you share together are priceless. Pageants have taught me that no matter your age, size, skin colour, height, job, you can do this – and you can be whatever you put your mind to.

Are you planning on competing again ?

Most definitely! I got married last year, so have had that time out, as my wedding took over my life! It was amazing but now as a Mrs, I feel like a whole new world of opportunity has opened up.

What’s your pageant platform and why ?

I have various subjects I am passionate about. I am really passionate about community, and community spirit. I have been a volunteer for a community radio station for 10 years, and we are like a family. Being able to share peoples stories from different backgrounds and ethnicities is something I find so interesting and rewarding. Even when I began to work at the BBC, and moved into more main stream radio – this didn’t stop me staying connected and working with my community radio station. Because without them, we wouldn’t have the grass root stories that need to be heard. Communicating and community are something very dear to me, and if I can communicate over the air waves, and give others a voice for their stories, even better!

I am also an advocate for Women in business. As a women in business ambassador for Every Woman, I encourage and help women in business, and am the director of Asian Women Business Network. AWBN provides a network for like minded business women to connect, and celebrates those who deserve to be recognised. As an Asian women, some stigmas and taboo subjects still exist. I feel it is my duty to break down these stigmas and talk about these subjects, and recognise the people that deserve to be celebrated. Being a part of pageants, and making appearances in different communities and talking openly about my experiences, whilst helping others, is something I really enjoy.

What’s the best advice you have for fellow pageant queens ?

Don’t try to be anyone else, be your genuine true self, because your differences are what make you stand out.

What makes a good pageant role model ?

Dedication, ambition and grace. You have to be dedicated to your title before, during and after your reign. You have to have the ambition and drive to go for it, make appearances, strive for better. And I think queens need to have grace about them. An elegance and poise which carries them through gracefully.

What’s your favourite pageant round ?

I really love evening round. I love every gown I see or have ever worn. I just love to see contestants float elegantly in a stunning dress. I think it shows a different side of everyone, and it’s the icing on the cake at every pageant. Apart from crowning of course! That can be the cherry 🙂

How do you deal with pageant nerves ?

I think over the years, and with more experience I have learned to deal with nerves better. Deep breaths and being in that competition zone I think really helps. Remembering everything you’ve done up until you get on that stage, and if you’ve worked hard, then knowing you’ve done your best, and coming to terms with that. What will be will be, and if it’s your time and you’ve worked hard for it. Then you have nothing to worry about but doing your best. But some nerves are good! It shows you want it enough.

Additional Information

Aryana Neo (maiden name – Vashisht) British Asian From Southampton, Hampshire. BBC Radio Solent Producer and Presenter. Business engagement manager and ex business banker. Music lover, piano player and kick boxer.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions it’s been fantastic to learn more about your Diamond and Regency International journey. I really hope we see you competing as a Mrs soon ! I know the pageant community would love to see you on stage again !! Much love Charlotte, Ms Diamond South Yorkshire 2020.

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