Confidence has not always come easy for Dana Diamataris, a beautiful Greek girl from Melbourne, who is today one of the State Finalists for Miss Universe Australia 2024.

“More than anything, I wanted to do this, to prove to myself that I can be confident and really embrace who I am as a person.”

Irrespective of her striking looks and intelligence, Dana, like many young teenage girls, struggled with mental health and body image issues when she was still an adolescent. Since then she has come a long way.

“I hope that I can inspire even one person to embrace their self confidence. And that’s really why I made the decision to go ahead with it.”

Ahead of the State Finals, next Friday, 5 April – where a number of Victoria’s most beautiful and educated women will meet – Dana told Neos Kosmos, that after applying on a whim in January, she was shocked and incredibly excited when she received an email that she was selected.

Dana (Despina) Diamataris, the 26-year-old State Finalist for Miss Universe Australia. Photos: Supplied

The platform gives her the opportunity to also share her story.

“For so long I’ve been dwelling on the idea of sharing my mental health struggles with body image issues and exercise. It really is a taboo topic for a lot of people. But I really think that by having these uncomfortable conversations, someone who’s battling those inner demons will be able to bring them to surface, address them, and then hopefully be a lot more happier and comfortable in their lives.”

“The world is unfortunately very self-absorbed, and our little issues aren’t perceived by others. So at the end of the day, all you can really do is back yourself and be confident in yourself.”

She understands how impressionable children and young people are. “They’re so easily influenced by social media, and what society tells them is beautiful. And I think if we start from the top and really address it as adults, we can then avoid a whole generation who feel as though they have to succumb to society’s pressures of beauty. And I think that’s more than anything what I’d love to achieve in sharing my story.”

The qualities the young Greek Australian finds beautiful in people stem from their kindness and warmth.

Touching the lives and supporting children is one of the reasons, the 26-year-old Miss Universe Australia contestant is now focusing on a master’s in teaching after already completing a criminology degree and a law degree as well.

“I always had a passion for teaching. I came to realise this during lockdown especially, watching my nephew Apollo grow, and seeing how easily impressionable young children are. It really sparked my passion to want to teach them.”

Fundraising is part of her journey so far with Miss Universe Australia, and Dana is very close to reaching her goal of $8,000 for Toybox Australia – a charity dedicated to supporting Australia’s sick and disadvantaged children – thanks to “a few fundraising events and a lot of kind donations from friends and family.”

Dana thanks her family and friends who have supported her through this journey, and is grateful for every donation to Toybox Australia, a charity dedicated to supporting Australia’s sick and disadvantaged children.

Needless to say, her family have been ecstatic and incredibly supportive from the get go. “I think they were the ones driving me to do this more so than I.”

Her father, Lemnian Phil Diamataris, has always encouraged her to take everything that life throws at her as a learning experience. And her mother, Sue Diamataris, who hails from Grevena and Kozani, has always been Dana’s role model.

“She inspires me to be confident in who I am as a person, and to take on many challenges. So I’ve really learned from them to just embrace life, to have a positive outlook and to be kind to everyone. And that’s really shaped who I am as a person.”

Being chosen as one of Victoria’s most beautiful, educated and confident young women, Dana says how important it is for her, not to compare with the other incredible women who are part of the contest. “We are all so different, special and unique.” Using that as her way forward in this challenge, will allow for personal growth and building confidence.

Hosting a Pilates fundraiser with Urban Oasis for Toybox, was one of the highlights in Dana’s journey with Miss Universe Australia.

Speaking of beauty, the qualities the young Greek Australian finds beautiful in people, stem from their kindness and warmth. “It’s people who are open to listen and grow from other people’s stories. When people are critical and negative it really shapes a horrible image of what could otherwise be a very beautiful person.”

Looking into her future, Dana has set small goals she can’t wait to achieve. “I’d love to finish my master’s as soon as I can, so I can be in a classroom with incredible young children to help them grow and blossom into amazing people. They will eventually shape our future generations, our future leaders.”

Aside from that, she adds, “love to travel more and I’d love to set up more of a future with my partner.”

*The MUA Victoria State Final will take place on Friday, 5 April, 5pm-7pm at Bar Bambi in Melbourne.