ONLY a year after she started competing in pageants, eight-year old Montana Laredo is gearing up to compete in her biggest one yet.
Montana will head to Brisbane in April to compete as Tasmania’s only mini in the Miss Diamond Australia beauty pageant.
After being recognised at the Mini Miss Tasmania in 2018, Montana was chosen as one of four girls to represent the state in Melbourne at the Miss of Australia pageant in the mini junior division.
She received third runner-up in the event and was nominated for the junior breakout star of the year award at the Australian Beauty Pageant Awards in Sydney.
Despite not winning, the experience she gained from walking the red carpet was invaluable.
“She’s won two titles – the Junior Ultimate Grand Supreme at Mini Miss St Nicholas and the Junior Ultimate Grand Supreme at Mini Miss Fairytale,” Montana’s mother Kim Laredo said.
Montana has been training under the tutelage of Miss Diamond 2018 winner Grace Cruise and has been attending weekly pageant classes.
“She started pageants to build a bit of confidence for school, to be able to speak in interviews and just for later in life,” Mrs Laredo said.
“The change in the year from not being able to get up on stage to being able to get up and do a 30-second speech that she memorised has been amazing.”
As part of Miss Diamond, Montana was required to choose a charity to raise funds for – she chose the Ten Lives Cat Centre in New Town.
“We just held a big fundraiser the other night and we raised more than $1,100,” Mrs Laredo said.
“I’ll take Montana there and we’ll hand it over.”
Montana said she picked the charity because she liked cats.
Mrs Laredo said Montana had been putting in a lot of hard work, but had been enjoying herself while doing so.
“To us, it’s another sport – you go there, you’ve got your winners and your losers and you train for it just like any other sport,” she said.
“The friends you make are amazing, they’re lifelong friends, and everyone is really supportive.
“Whatever happens on the stage happens, you’ve just got to smile really big.”
Montana said she “liked to meet new friends and wear crowns.”
Mrs Laredo said pageants were relatively unknown in Tasmania, with only the Tasmanian Mini Miss Pageant held in May.
“They’ve got heaps of new sponsors, so it’s going to be pretty big this year,” she said.
“Hopefully that gets a lot of recognition for Tassie and starts putting our pageants on the map.”
Caption: Montana Laredo is keen to compete in this year’s Mini Miss Diamond Australia beauty pageant.