Diana Omuoyo is the reigning Ms. World Universal 2022. She’s a multicultural and multi-lingual IT professional passionate about promoting inclusion, equality, STEM, and quality education.
Diana’s involvement and commitment to the community have always been a key part of her life because it gives her purpose and a sense of belonging. She stays active by supporting socio-economic causes globally, being an ambassador to change, and continuing to raise awareness on critical issues.
Because of her deep passion and aspirations in the community, a friend suggested that she enter a pageant as a way to expand her dimensions in philanthropy. She had never imagined joining a pageant before, so she was initially surprised by the recommendation because of her lack of industry knowledge. She then researched pageantry, got a better understanding, and gained insights into how most platforms are founded on service to the community and philanthropy.
So, when the opportunity to join Ms. World Universal came up, It was an easy decision for her primarily because the platform’s mission and vision aligned with her goals, passions, and values. The rest, you can say, is history.
Model & Mode magazine recently caught up with Diana to discuss her journey in the pageant industry, and here’s what went down:
What do you like most about being a beauty queen?
Winning a title is a humbling experience; most people don’t realize that it is synonymous with leadership and service to others. As a modern woman of colour, I am navigating the world amidst the challenges of social & cultural norms that continue to divide the community. As Ms. World Universal and a beauty queen, I am privileged to have a platform I can leverage to promote causes, spread awareness, and impart change.
Pageantry has also afforded me great opportunities to participate in the community, charity, and social events where I have met like-minded individuals. Throughout this journey, I continue to grow and learn a lot about myself as I interact and share with people from all walks of life.
Downside to being a beauty queen?
One of my personal challenges is juggling a demanding full-time job, personal/community commitments, hobbies, family/friends, and the title holder’s duties. However, because this role is very important to me, I always make time to be present and committed, which simply means multi-tasking and better time management.
One of the downsides I experience regularly is that, while pageants continue to gain popularity, there is still some lingering stigma about beauty queens and pageantry. So, I constantly debunk myths and educate others about my title and platform. I stay grounded in the knowledge that even if I may fail to change the perception of some, it is still important for me to continue to stand in my truth for my purpose and the vision for my title as a beauty queen.
What has been the most memorable experience of being in the pageant industry so far?
I have had many monumental experiences and milestones on the journey to Ms. World Universal. The most memorable one so far was at a charity event where I met and chatted with mothers from a minority community who expressed the hope that their daughters – by seeing someone that looks like them on a platform like this – would be inspired to believe that they too can dare to dream big and chase their dreams. This highlighted the importance of representation and just how impactful it is for our underrepresented communities. At that very moment, I knew that my decision to join the pageant world was right.
Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?
I have interacted with so many people over the last couple of years across various domains – NGOs, Fashion, Media, Pageantry, Founders, Sports, Leaders, and Community Advocates, among others. Everyone brings a unique view of the world and diverse perspectives. The one thing that has been a common denominator in many of these interactions has been the shared passion for giving back – that was unsurprising yet an interesting discovery.
The experience so far has been quite insightful, and I look forward to continuing to learn from others.
What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the pageant industry? This can be about the industry or about yourself.
I started my pageant career comparatively late, so gaining a deeper understanding of the meaning and power of the crown was one of the major learnings on my journey. I always thought that in order to enter or even win a title, I would have to change to become ‘pageant worthy’ [Whatever that means]. But, throughout the process, I realized I just needed to be my authentic self and showcase the strengths and leadership traits I already have that make me a great title holder.
While the quest for the title is, in fact, a competition, the title[s] do come with a lot of responsibility. So, on a personal level, it has forced me to map out my primary focus and the goals I want to achieve with this title. I now represent Ms. World Universal, myself, and the organizations I support, and I want to be remembered as a selfless person, fearless in the pursuit of her dreams, a great friend, someone that was a positive role model that used her voice to influence positive change that made an impact in other people’s lives.
Working in an industry whose only emphasis is on the outside characteristics of a person, how have you stayed grounded?
It’s definitely a tough industry to be in, and it is sometimes hard to deal with harsh criticisms without taking things personally. It takes a lot of support, self-compassion, positive affirmation, and inner strength to rise above the negativity and judgment that is honestly usually just surface level.
To stay grounded, I remind myself why I joined pageantry and the goals I strive to achieve. This keeps me focused and motivated to navigate the daunting aspects of the industry. Focusing my energy on the positives, the learnings, and the road ahead has been a constant ‘saving grace.’ It has also become extremely important for me to maintain overall mental wellbeing and good physical health instead of trying to fit into a superficial mold. I wake up every day and choose to love the space I occupy and the body I am in, and this journey of self-love is one I am hoping others will learn to embrace as well.
Is your family supportive of you being in the pageant industry?
My decision to join the pageant world surprised a lot of people, but I am lucky to have had a lot of support from friends and family along the way.
What are your future plans? Inside pageantry or out of it.
On a personal note, I plan to spend more time mentoring and advocating for & mentoring women of color, underrepresented communities, and young adults to pursue Technology and Engineering careers. My ultimate goal and ambition are to have a seat on a board of a charity organization / foundation where I can leverage my experiences and passions for philanthropy to continue to support Education, Equality, Inclusion and STEM initiatives on a local and global scale.
I stand firm in the belief that Education plays a key role in socio-economic wellbeing within our communities and that technology is one way to create a pathway for everyone to access quality learning. Another aspect of this is understanding that Education is not just limited to textbook/school learning but also includes knowledge sharing around cultural & societal issues. It is important to continue to create awareness around the dangers of exclusion, discrimination, the single story, and bias.
For my year in reign, I also look forward to continuing to work with the Ms World Universal Director and pageant network to support their plan for the year and fulfill all other duties as defined by the pageant organization, leveraging my network and social media platforms to promote my cause[s] and expand my reach.