Written by Charlotte Lister
My name is Charlotte Lister I’m the current Ms Diamond South Yorkshire. I’m a mum to a ten year old daughter and I volunteer at my local children’s hospice as I try to help raise awareness of cancer and end of life care. I’m also the creator of Crowns and Sashes Magazine which is a pageant magazine in aid of charity.
My Pageant Journey
I have been competing on and off in pageants since 2012 due to wanting to not only find out more about pageants as like most people I didn’t really know much about them but also to gain more confidence after having my daughter. Since then I have won two national titles and competing internationally.
I love pageants and what they stand for which is empowering women, developing skills and becoming part of a community but a lot of people still have a misconception of what pageants are.
For those that don’t know much about pageants they often think of getting on a stage in a bikini with big hair and saying world peace and in some cases that does happen but won’t you don’t see on stage is the hard work we put into making a difference in our community and the thousands of pounds we raise for various charities as well as the transferable skills we learn.
Pageants Empowering Women
It may sound strange learning transferable skills from pageants but we learn so much from interview skills as pageants require a 3-5 minute interview, public speaking as some pageants require you to answer questions or give a speech on stage, budgeting as pageants are not the cheapest hobby due to the cost of dresses and entry fees so we learn how to budget our funds and finally time management skills as we need to plan our time both on the pageant day or weekend but also for appearances we get invited too so time management is again a transferable skill.
We also gain confidence from competing in pageants, meet new friends I’ve met 3 of my best friends through pageants and even new cultures. Pageantry can really open many doors from becoming ambassadors for charities, starting your own charity or community group to modelling and even reality TV.
Crowns And Sashes Magazine
Due to wanting to change misconception of pageants during lockdown 1 I created a pageant lockdown blog where I interviewed over 150 queens from across the world it was hugely successful getting 3000 hits a week. https://msdiamondsouthyorkshire2020.wordpress.com
Then during lockdown 2 I went to back to college and studied a number of courses in digital skills which gave me the inspiration and confidence of creating my own online pageant magazine called Crowns & Sashes Magazine in essence an extension of my lockdown blog.
The magazine does have a twist which is that it raises money for charity more specifically the Samaritans which is a mental health charity in the U.K who have been needed more than ever due to the pandemic.
Using Writing To Support Women And Girls
The magazine allows all girls and women from across the globe to be featured, talk about there pageant journeys and there platforms. I allow all systems to be featured as there is a lot of different pageant systems as well as all ages and locations I’ve interviewed women from the U.K., America, Canada, Greece and even Australia. Over the next couple of issues I’m interviewing women from India and even Cuba.
I released my first issue in January 2021 and have continued to release an issue each month online, so it’s easily accessible, shareable and most importantly eco friendly. Due the success of the magazine how it brings the international pageant community together as well as the money it has raised I actually won Pageant Girl of the Year from Sparkles and Rhinestones and Covid Queen from a fellow pageant queen.
My original blog is still live but not in use but I also have a blog section to the magazines website where I interview the pageant community for awareness campaigns such as baby loss awareness, skin cancer and even plastic free July to help raise more awareness which is free of donation.
Due to the success of the magazine I decided to also conduct filmed interviews, for these I have a hostess called Natasha who is the current Mrs Atlantic U.K. who conducts the interviews these are both pageant interviews and awareness interviews which are released on the magazines social media channels to help reach a larger audience.
How does the magazine raise money for charity?
The way the donations work is that I ask a £2 donation via my just giving page for an interview either written or filmed and a £5 donation to enter the front cover competition which is judged by a panel of 3 different judges each month.
I want the magazine to be the biggest pageant magazine in the world and it’s certainly going that way but for me to achieve this I have future plans to create a podcast as well as a mentor program so I can support the next generation of girls and women going into pageantry. These plans will come into place after I compete for the title of Ms Diamond U.K. in August I will be judged on interview, fashion wear and evening wear. If I do win I will then go on to compete in Las Vegas for the international title of Ms Regency International.
But that’s not all as I want to host a awards nights in conjunction the magazine so these incredible women and girls are celebrated.