Diamond Langi, known by her followers on social media for winning the International Face of Beauty pageant this year, sits down with TWID to chat about her family life, community involvement, and pageant and social media fandemonium. Her increasingly popular “No-Nos of the Week” on social media have demonstrated the light-hearted humor and vibrant personality of Langi in lieu of her professional persona most visible in global media. “Sometimes I question if these people are following the right person and liking my updates, but I get extremely surprised when it comes to the love people have for me through social media. Everything I post up on social media shows the person I am and how passionate I am. Viewing all the comments I get on social media gets me teary eyed. It’s just a humble blessing.”
When it comes to talent, the Langi family is not found wanting. Growing up, her father drummed for a band, Fafangu Koula ‘O Pakilau, from Vaini, Tonga. Exposure to this at an early age allowed Diamond to see what life would be like on a stage. When asked about her upbringing, she shared how insurmountable her success would have been had it not been for the support she received from her immediate and extended family members. “My parents raised me this long, and they know that with the choices I make in life wherever I go and whatever I do they won’t be disappointed. Any parent who sees their child passionate about something they love to do…will support them 1,000 percent.”
The range of competition within the last few years, as Langi expresses, has enabled her to take advantage of opportunities she would not have otherwise been afforded. After receiving the title of International Face of Beauty, Diamond is now a globe-trotting representative for the island nation of Tonga, representing the beauty, passion, drive, and tenacity the native population possesses. Langi’s description of the nature of competition is, for me, absolutely refreshing and poignant. “I loved the whole experience because I went in the competition with a mindset that I wasn’t competing against the other girls. My biggest competition was against myself. At the end of the day, I built a sisterhood with all the girls and I became close to them.”
Of the aforementioned opportunities afforded to Langi, she suggests one of the most endearing is the ability to place community work on a global platform that allows for international visibility. “From a young age, I loved to give back to others. I found that giving back, helping, or being a voice to give back to those people gives me so much joy and happiness. I never knew it until I looked back at the situation and thought to myself that I’ve gained so much. It’s a blessing– especially in charity work–you gain knowledge by learning how to work with different kind of people that you don’t gain on the field…there is no greater service than serving others at a young age. God gave back to so many of his people and I feel like I can make a difference here on earth by giving back and supporting those who are in need… that’s what will make me happy.”
In the critical months following the chaos and damage in Ha’apai left by Cyclone Ian, Diamond has become an extremely active advocate for spreading awareness of the aftermath and pleading for assistance on the international platform. “I just recently got done with helping with the ‘Help for Ha’apai Charity.’ When I heard about it, I had to be a part of it. I talked about my experience and helped get the word out there to our people. I knew other people who were of different ethnic backgrounds and I had asked that they help contribute and pass the message on to others who would be able to help. Now I’m working with a charity event for ‘Tonga Care’ [helping] a girl who is originally from Tonga, and now in Brisbane, trying to raise money for her heart. I’m working with them to get the word out there so people can help contribute to her fund so she can get the surgery done.” Emphatic solidarity and community reciprocity are a just a couple of values manifested in Diamond’s work as a representative, as well as a daughter, of Tonga.
When asked about community enriching collaborative work with other Pacific Islanders in the limelight, Langi expounds on her working relationship with UFC athlete, Mark Hunt, on the Tonga Care project, as well as her hope of working with other Pacific Islanders, like Konrad Hurrell, on future projects because of their experience with charity work and the resources they have access to on national and international levels.
TWID asked Diamond to share her favorite quote. She responded with, “Only the strong survive. A lot of people only see what’s in front of them but they don’t know what goes on…especially if you’re back stage and you let people push you around, you would get stomped. Like I always say, you need to put your heel down and say, ‘Hey, don’t think you can walk all over me because I’m not taking it!’ You don’t put them down but you let them know that you are here and you won’t be pushed around. No matter where you go, physically and mentally, you have to be strong.”
Article Written By: Esiteli Hafoka