Mrs Diamond 2021/2022 - Amber Hardy - Queen Interview.

Amber represents a diamond from the South West of the country; originally the South Dorset competitor who has become Mrs Diamond through a series of fantastic campaigns and her platform which is #EndGreyhoundRacing.

Today we talk her passion for animals, first time crowns and being your own kind of Queen!

Your Full Name?

Amber Hardy.

What is your current title?

Mrs Diamond UK.

How many times did you compete for your title?

This was my first time competing in Diamond.

What does your system stand for and why is this important to you?

Miss Diamond is proud to celebrate the beauty and diversity of all women. At historic and the recent finals it was clear to see that there was a hugely diverse range of beautiful women. This was so important to me when entering as I feel that this is the modern way of pageantry and should be the case in all systems. There should never be a specific 'type' of finalist or winner, a woman shouldn't have to feel she has to change to be something she's not just to fit into a system and have a chance at winning. We are all beautiful and diamond truly celebrates that.

Can you tell me a bit about your chosen platform?

I'm a training veterinary nurse and a huge animal lover. Right at the beginning of my finalist journey I was shown the horrors surrounding the outdated sport of greyhound racing. I found out that there was a racing track very local to my home that subjected dogs to pain and suffering on a weekly basis. I joined a group that worked to educate the public about what goes on behind the scenes of these races and to help give those poor dogs a voice. I am proud to say that due to these efforts, in the first lockdown this track was shut down. Which inturn means so many of these beautiful dogs have been saved.

As lockdown continued another animal welfare issue arose, that was the enormous increase in dog thefts across the UK. With an unprecedented amount of family pets being stolen in my area alone I decided to set up a Facebook community called 'Fight the Thieves UK' this page raises awareness of thefts, ways to protect yourself and information surrounding new animal laws. I hope both these platforms will work to help and protect dogs across the UK.

What do Beauty Pageants mean to you and how would you define them?

For me beauty pageants are a chance for me to be the best version of myself both on stage and during the lead up. Without pageants I would never have pushed myself to achieve the things I have. Things like charity skydives, fire walking and 24hr charity spin class. And when I'm on stage it gives me the platform to unleash my inner goddess. I love my job working with animals but it's never the most glamorous of jobs. So when I am on stage, wearing a dress that makes me feel invincible, knowing I had one everything I could during the lead up, I feel I can conquer the world.

When did you enter your first beauty pageant and why?

I entered my first pageant in 2014 in Somerset. I chose to enter purely because at the time I didn't really have a clue what pageants were about. I thought the best way to pass judgement on something was to experience it first hand. So off I went, completely naive to my first pageant. Even though I felt completely out of my depth I gave it my all anyway and had an absolute blast. That night I managed to walk away with the crown and from that point on, I was hooked.

What is something important you would tell a newcomer to Beauty Pageants?

To all newcomers I would say that never compare yourself to other contestants. You are perfect the way you are and you don't need to change yourself to match the looks of others. Being yourself in the competition is what makes you unique and is what will make you memorable to the judges. If you want to win the crown then you need to win it by being unapologetically you!!

What is the most important thing you have done or will be doing with your current title?

I was very recently crowned Mrs Diamond UK but I have already done a charity plane pull in aid of the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation and I have so many exciting things planned for my reigning year. Watch this space!!

Do you think it is important for a queen to use her title to support her system and take part in community and charity work?

When holding a title you are a representative and ambassador for that system. I am enormously proud to be representing the Miss Diamond system and I hope during my year I can be the best ambassador for Miss Diamond and also for the charities I support. I believe pageants are still quite a grey area for a lot of the general public and their views of them can be a little outdated. So, as a queen I believe it is my job to educate and show the public that being involved in pageants is less about looking pretty and more about charity work and supporting my community. We all put a lot of hard work into our journeys so I think it's important to show off that hard work.

What qualities do you think a competitor needs to win a crown?

I believe confidence is a big factor, but not necessarily just normal confidence on stage but also full confidence in yourself and who you are. If you know who you are and are happy to show that off then the confidence on stage will come naturally. Being sure of yourself and what you support and believe in will also help with your interview and public events.

Queen's also need to be approachable and kind. As a reigning queen you will be the go to contact for future finalists so being able to help them with their journey is a must.

Do you think a queen is a role model and has responsibilities connected with that?

As a queen, future finalists will naturally look up to you and follow your journey. I believe it's important that you conduct yourself in a way that inspires future contestants. However, being a role model doesn't mean you have to fit into a mold. Just because you're a queen doesn't mean you have to stop being you. You obviously won because the judges liked who you were and what you stood for, so just keep that going and you will naturally inspire others and be a role model.

How would you explain Beauty Pageants to someone who has never experienced one?

Pageants give women and young girls the opportunity to push themselves and achieve things that ordinarily may seem out of reach. It teaches young girls through charity work that there is a wider world out there and people that need help and support. Pageants also equip women with the tools to be able to conquer public speaking, to appreciate their bodies and minds and to truly embrace what it is to be a strong woman.

What's been your greatest learning experience from pageantry?

When I entered my first pageant I thought I had to work, talk like the pageant Queens on TV. Movie queen's were all I knew so that's what I formed my pageant opinion on. Now when I compete, I know that I don't need to try and be anyone except myself. I used to spend so much time and energy trying to be something I wasn't. Now I can put all that energy into being the best version of myself I can be.

What was running through your head when your name was announced as the winner?

I always dreamed about being crowned, I always wondered what my reaction would be. Would I scream? Fall on the floor? I didn't know what would happen.

But when my name was called I honestly was so shocked I didn't know what to do. But when I walked forward to be crowned that's when the tears started because I knew all my hard work had paid off.

Who is your Beauty Pageant inspiration?

For me Romy Simpkins is my pageant role model. She has worked so hard to elevate her platform of mental health awareness.

If you have sister queens, tell us how you are as a team and how you support each other etc.

Shania Lockyer (Miss Diamond ambassador) is my true pageant sister. We first met at a disastrous competition many years ago and have basically competed side by side ever since. She has grown so much both on and off stage. She was the first one to run on stage when I won Mrs Diamond and was crying with me.

I had the best time with her at the finals and can't wait to travel to Vegas with her next year for the Miss regency international finals!

Follow Amber’s campaigns on her Facebook page and also check out her Instagram.