Diana Pinto : Miss India-America’s Mangalore Roots

Aug 30, 2009

Just when Mangaloreans are celebrating Mangalore girl Freida Pinto making us proud going places after “Slum Dog Millionnaire” winning accolades globally, there is one more girl with Mangalore roots Diana Pinto who has been creating ripples in the glamour world in the international arena.  Diana was recently crowned Miss India America 2009 in the Jinder’s 18th Annual Miss India America Pageant on August 7, 2009 in a glittering ceremony  held at The Hilton Hotel, Long Beach, which was attended by a galaxy of tinsel and tube world stars of Hollywood and Bollywood. Diana’s success is a welcome respite for Mangaloreans who have been in the news recently for all wrong reasons. Diana was declared winner from among 14 contestants who were vying for the prestigious crown.  To her own surprise Diana also walked away with the coveted JINmodels.com Miss Photogenic award.   

It was a quiet journey for this Mumbai girl to sizzle in a big stage and emerge winner amidst stiff competition.  Her traditional upbringing and clean habits and values imbibed in early stages of life helped her to make a difference to her life.  “It is the small habits and values that we imbibe early in life that actually define us as adults and make us different from one another.  These little values were taught to me by my mother that helped me shape my future and to achieve whatever little I could achieve. From my father I have learnt that "We fear not because we are inadequate, but because we are powerful beyond measure. This has greatly helped me realize my potential and minimize my negativities”, she told Daijiworld.com in an email interview.


Glitter and glamour is not new to Diana who had earlier participated in Miss Asia USA pageant before her winning this title.  She made it to the top ten in that contest and that experience proved to be a great boon for Diana in coming out with flying colours in the Miss India America 2009  contest.  “Meeting and interacting with lot of contestants from different countries boosted my morale and enhanced my confidence levels.  That experience came in handy in this contest”, she says.

Diana though born and brought up in Mumbai traces her roots to Mangalore as her parents hail from this coastal city.  Her father Joseph Pinto hails Urwa, Mangalore and mother Irene Pinto is from Moodbidri.  Both Joseph and Irene work for Bank of Baroda as Managers and are settled in Mumbai.  Despite a hectic schedule Pinto family visits Mangalore every year to visit family and friends.  It is these visits that gave Diana a glimpse of Mangalore, its scenic beauty, the serene atmosphere and its distinct culture and she says these vivid memories are still fresh in her mind.   Given a chance she says she would have loved to make an annual trip to Mangalore.  Her parents are unswerving about their roots and want their children to Diana and her younger brother Brian to keep rooted to their families back in Mangalore. Their reaction on winning the pageant “we had no doubt you would win and make us proud.  But remember, no matter how high you soar, don’t forget your roots and where you belong to”, is just in tune with their mental fortitude to be grounded to their moors. 

Diana says she still misses her annual trips to this coastal belt where her grandparents (mother's parents) and her mother’s brother and sister and their family members live there. Diana had left for America a few years back to complete her Post Graduation in the University of Southern California and  has been working there as a Physical Therapist after completing her studies.  But she wants to be back to where she belongs and on coming to India she aspires to be a part of the Indian Sports Association.  Being a sports person (she was a state level volleyball player in India) it is natural that she has channelised her interests and career in the same line.  “I hope to bring about some change in the way   sports recruitments are being carried out in the country. I also pray that I can contribute to bringing talented athletes/ sportspersons to the   forefront, and help them represent our country at international levels”, she elaborates. 

Success always does not come without hard work and grooming. Being an athlete as been a great boon to Diana who says she has been able to scale the ladder of success because of her strong foundation in early childhood.  “I do believe that being an athlete and a Physical Therapist has helped me immensely. I work hard for everything I believe in.    If I had not won I would not have behaved like a sore loser. I would rather try harder next time and bring the trophy home rather than brooding. Being an athlete just helps you to become a strong individual who never calls it quit and strives to achieve what he wants the most! At the same time, being a Physical Therapist makes   me realize my boundaries. I realize that though I need to work hard I also need to fine tune my body like a machine. I believe it is a delicate balancing act and it has shaped my outlook & thoughts”, she reasons.


Having participated in Miss Asia USA pageant earlier Diana was bent upon giving her best go at this pageant.  The event organizers had asked aspiring contestants to send applications and photographs last year. The only criteria required was the contestant had to be of Indian origin and had to be less than 29 years of age.   Diana was directly short listed for the semifinals after she sent her application and her real preparation for it began just then.  As a working woman she had very little time at her disposal to prepare seriously for the pageant. She had to do everything on her own. She purchased her gowns online at discounts.  “Participating in pageants is quite an expensive proposition in India or America.  One has to put in a great deal of money to buy outfits and pay for hairdressers/make up artistes.  It is sensible to try and cut costs as much as possible so that one does not end up being broke at the end of it””, she states.   

The beauty pageant comprised traditional wear round, an evening wear round and the talent round.  No marks were awarded for the talent round and it provided an opportunity for the contestants to showcase their talents. For the talent round Diana presented the Lavani dance, a form of dance and music that deals with a variety of issues such as religion, society, politics, romance etc. She had asked her mother to send her the Navvari Saree required for the Lavani dance.  Dressed in the red saree she danced to the tunes of the folk dance form much to the delight of the assembled gathering.  She says she rehearsed the dance 5 hours before the actual pageant began.  Costume was not a factor at all “as I had the gowns, the traditional saree and everything ready with me.  All I had to do was to go on stage and perform”. 

The actual pageant lasted only 3 days starting from August 5 and the finals were held on August 7.  The training programme included tips to walk on ramp and talk with the judges and give interviews to T V channels and also to conduct oneself with poise, dignity and confidence on stage.  While one not sure what the judges look for in the contestants she says “I believe every beauty pageant looks for a combination of grace, personality and wittiness among the contestants that is finally counted”.   

While every participating contestant is endowed with these qualities one may wonder what might have titled the crown in her favour.  She explains:  “In the final rounds we were asked a question and I gave an honest reply.  When they asked how I would promote volunteerism I said “charity begins at home.  So I would volunteer myself for a charitable cause of my choice which is a best way of promoting volunteerism among others.  I would also drag my friends and loves ones to help me for such a noble cause”.  

She says she never felt threatened or intimidated by other younger contestants.  All the contestants in her category were younger than her.  “I never felt threatened by them.  In fact being older gave me that extra edge over other raw contestants. I was cool as a cucumber and was least perturbed about the contest. I did not put myself under pressure and that worked.  If I was younger may be I would have lost the crown unable to handle the pressure that comes with it”, she states.  

Dian's parents and her brother

It was her confidence which finally helped her clinch the title as she felt she had given everything that night.  But she was surprised to be crowned Miss Photogenic. “Surrounded by so many good looking women it seemed like an absolute impossibility to win the Miss Photogenic title.  But I did it”, she replies confidently.  

Surprisingly Diana does not have anyone as role models as she feels having any one as role model is like trying to copy some one else “ I’d rather be myself – and maybe become an idol for others”, is her prompt response to a question on who her role model is.  

As for fitness she exercises when she finds time which she hardly finds considering the hectic schedule she has.  The fitness mantra for her is to cook at home and practice healthy eating habits.  “I exercise as and when I find time - I prefer to cook at home and I eat outside only when I am bored of my own cooking. I think   the secret to good health is 90% of a good balanced diet and 10% of proper attitude & exercise”. 

The future of course looks bright for this young lass who is bent upon using her success for doing something for the betterment of the society.  And does she foresee any chances of getting into Bollywood?  “There are a lot of opportunities out there for anyone who wants to go out and grab them! I am not sure about Bollywood - and I will    cross that bridge when I come to it”.

With success sitting pretty on her delicate shoulders Diana Pinto is sure to go places.  One more bright face with strong Mangalore roots is sure to shine like a twinkling star in the international arena.  

by Florine Roche - Daijiworld Media Network Mangalore
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Comment on this article

  • Urmila, Airoli, Navi Mumbai

    Tue, Nov 09 2010

    Hi Diana, Congrats Dear. Long time we have not seen each other, and all of a sudden i see this article was a really big surprise to me. If you recollect i am Hilda aunty's daughter Urmila your cousin. We all are proud of you. Keep up the good work

  • shalini coutinho, Thane

    Mon, Aug 23 2010

    Dear Diana,
    Wishing you all the best in your future achivements.From St.John The Baptist church Thane. Co-ordinator Of Utalsar.congrats once again from all our members of Utalsar Zone

  • Sylvia D'sa, Bangalore

    Thu, Oct 01 2009

    Hi Diana, Congrats! Proud of you. A great achievement and wish you all the success in your future ventures. You have made yr parents proud - From Sylvia & Mervyn

  • gourav, AGra

    Thu, Sep 24 2009

    Congratulations , god bless you Diana, Wish to achive more

  • PIUS & JOSELYN FERNANDES, Andheri, Kundapur/Mumbai

    Tue, Sep 15 2009

    Congratulations & all the best. Wishing u a bright future.Keep the momentum going. God bless you

  • Paul Gonsalves, Veena Nagar, Mulund

    Sun, Sep 13 2009

    Congratulations & all the best for a successful future.

  • Richard Rodrigues, Gantalkatte/Richmond- USA

    Sat, Sep 05 2009

    Hi Diana Congratulations,as we are Mangalorians we wish you very best of luck in your future endeavour.

  • Fr.Vincent D''Souza, Alangar-Moodbidri

    Thu, Sep 03 2009

    Congratulations to you Diana .As a child you spent your days here in your Grand parents house. It is good news to all the people of Alangar Parish. God Bless U. We are proud of your great Achievement.Best Wishes to you. Parish Priest and Parishioners.Alangar-Moodbidri

  • Suneera Mendonsa, Mangalore/ Dubai

    Wed, Sep 02 2009

    Hey gurl, We as your friends are so proud of you! Well cannot believe you are the same Diana we used to hang around in college - Xavier''s days! Anyways wish you the very best in all that you do ! you are a ''Diva'' ..thats what we as your friends would say !! All the very best for future endeavours.

  • Victor Nobby Sequeira, Damaskatta, Kirem

    Wed, Sep 02 2009

    Dear Diana, Congratulations, We Mangaloreans are proud of you. "We fear not because we are inadequate, but because we are powerful beyond measure. This has greatly helped me realize my potential and minimize my negativities”. Dear, the inspiring & encouraging words of your father boosted your confidence, a guidline to every parent to strive in building their children''s confidence. I pray to Almighty God to bless you with good health and strength to achieve more awards in your life.


    Wed, Sep 02 2009

    Congrats Diana keep it up

  • hema bhandary, Mangalore

    Wed, Sep 02 2009

    Dear Diana ..... your succss is our success. God bless you for your great achievements

  • hema, MANIPAL

    Wed, Sep 02 2009

    Dear Diana ..... your success is our success. God bless you for your great achievements

  • chandrashekhar, landlinks

    Wed, Sep 02 2009

    Flo has the capability of switching subjects, which makes the reading interesting.

  • Pradeep Pinto, Gangulli, Kuwait

    Tue, Sep 01 2009

    Hi Diana, Congrats! Wish u every success in ur Future endeavour.

  • Ali Haroon, Saudi Arabia

    Tue, Sep 01 2009

    We Mangaloreans are proud that once again Mangalore is crowned and this time by lovely Diana. Congrats baby and have a bright future InshaAllah.

  • Flora D''souza, Kalmady - Jerimeri (Mumbai)

    Tue, Sep 01 2009

    Congratulations Diana for your remarkable achievement. You are the pround of all Mangaloreans! Wish you every success in your future endeavour.

  • Cletus, Mangalore

    Mon, Aug 31 2009

    Congratulations ! & @ the same time I feel pity for girls who are in fashion shows exposing their bodies behind th screen. It''s a fact.

  • Lucy Leena Dsouza, Valencia/Mangalore

    Mon, Aug 31 2009

    Congartulations Diana!!! you have made us all proud!!! being a family friend I know you from childhood, you are worthy daughter of the worthy parents!!!, all the best God Bless you dear, Keep rocking!!!

  • Roshini Menezes(Saldanha), Valencia/Mangalore/Abudhabi

    Mon, Aug 31 2009

    Congrats Diana!!! I still remember your visit to our place in Mangalore & found that you were perfect combination of beauty & brain. I alongwith my family wish you all the best & may you have many more feathers to your cap.

  • Renita Saldanha, Valencia/Mangalore

    Mon, Aug 31 2009

    Congrtulations Diana!!! we are proud of you !! being a family friend I always saw the potential in you to achieve something great & you have succeeded, keep rocking , all the best.

  • digganth.shetty, mangalore

    Mon, Aug 31 2009

    hi congrats Diana you definitely made mlore proud of u ..keep it up...

  • Vijay Pinto, Mangalore

    Mon, Aug 31 2009

    Hiii,Diana,CONGRATULATIONS!!!! We all manglurians proud of you..  Keep it up. All the best and take care.

  • preetrosh, Mangalore/Doha Qatar

    Sun, Aug 30 2009

    congratulations miss diana, wish you all the best in your future. god bless you...

  • Stany Dsouza, Mumbai / Miyar

    Sun, Aug 30 2009

    Congratulations to Diana, and her parents Joseph, Irene and brother Brian. Diana, you have made us Mangaloreans very proud. Keep it up!!!

  • Cyril Pinto, Bajpe, Mangalore

    Mon, Aug 31 2009

    Yes. Frieda Pinto. Now Diana Pinto. And 3rd & 4th? It''s all Pinto''s Galore. That too all from Mangalore International. We all are proud of you. In all it is going to make our Mangalore all Beautiful fast forward universally. Congrats Diana.Pinto.

  • Remos family USA, Mangalore

    Sun, Aug 30 2009

    Hi Diana, Congratulations.Wish you very best. We Mangalorians in US are proud of you and your achievements. Remos family,Michigan,USA

  • valli nakre, nakre/karkala/riyadh

    Sun, Aug 30 2009

    Hi diana congratulation,your hard work really shines,we manglurians are proud of you keep it up,god bless you,best of luck

  • Dennis Menezes, Mangalore/ Jeddah

    Sun, Aug 30 2009

    Dear Diana Pinto, Congratulation. You made all Mangalorians proud. May God Bless you with a bright future.

  • James Pinto, buntwal/U.A.E

    Sun, Aug 30 2009

    Congratulations Diana pinto.... God bless u.. wish u a bright future...

  • Luca D''silva, Mudarangady, Jeddah

    Sun, Aug 30 2009

    Congratulations to you Ms Diana Pinto. It is good news to all Mangaloreans. God Bless U, your fly and give you more and more success in your future life.

  • santhosh noronha, Neerude/ Dubai

    Sun, Aug 30 2009

    Congratulations Diana. Wish you all success in your future


    Sun, Aug 30 2009


  • l pinto , mangalore/dubai

    Sun, Aug 30 2009

    Congratulations diana pinto you made mangaloreans proud god bless you

  • Shridhara Achar, Puttur/ Bangalore

    Sun, Aug 30 2009

    Its a great achievement for Diana. To become Miss India-America is not small thing. Hope she will contest for Miss Universe or Miss World crown. All the Best to you, great Mangalorean.

  • Jawar D''Souza, M''Lore/Doha

    Sun, Aug 30 2009

    Hi Diana You have made us proud keep up the good work. Like to see many young mangaloreans in many different field''s. All the best to you and other''s who have acheived something.

  • Jacintha Saldanha, Mangalore/Bombay

    Sun, Aug 30 2009

    Hearty Congratulatons Diana! Having been your class teacher in Std IX, and seeing your great potential, I knew you would scale great heights in life! I am so very proud of you and you deserve every bit of this award and many many more to come! We wish you everything BEST in life, many more achievements and showers of God''s blessings in all that you do.. Congratlations once again for making your school, parish, society and the entire Mangalore Proud! Keep it up and March ahead in Life!

  • B.Dolphus Pinto., Managalore / India.

    Sun, Aug 30 2009

    Hi Diana !!! You made Mangalorians Proud. Keep going, GOD Bless.

  • Gargas Manjappa, Old Busstand Uppinangady

    Sun, Aug 30 2009

    Congragulations to Diana Pinto. I wish you all  success.

  • NAVEEN, Karkala, Udupi Dist, Karnataka

    Sun, Aug 30 2009

    Congratulations to you Ms. Diana Pinto.. Sweet news for Mangaloreans. God bless u & Good luck for the future

  • Enid D''souza, Mangalore/Doha-Qatar

    Sun, Aug 30 2009

    Hello Diana Pinto"Congratulation" I am really proud of you, God bless you Diana, I will pray for your great achievement in your future life.thanks for Daiji.

  • Donald Pinto, Chickmaglure/Abu-Dhabi

    Sun, Aug 30 2009

    Congratulations , god bless you Diana, Wish to achive more.

  • John Pinto , Shritadi/Qatar

    Sun, Aug 30 2009

    Congratulations to Diana Pinto.Best of Luck .

  • Vinod Dsa, Paladka/Iraq

    Sat, Aug 29 2009

    Hi Diana, Congratulations, your hard work really shines, we are all proud of you - Vinod & Elvira Jenifer

  • Celine C. Pinto, India, M''lore,Nanthur

    Sat, Aug 29 2009

    Hi Diana, Congrats! We Manglorians are proud of you. Keep it up. May good God give you & your family good health and peace through out the life. All the best to you in your future. life.

  • Priya K., USA

    Sat, Aug 29 2009

    Great news! Congratulations Diana - I am very proud to be your friend.

  • Antony Crasta, Mangalore/Sydney Australia

    Sun, Aug 30 2009

    Congratulations Diana Pinto on your great achievement and wish you all the success in your future ventures. After going through your background and the CV, so beautifully been presented by the Reporter, Floride Roche, I am not surprised at all that you been crowned Miss India - America 2009. I knew all along, when it came to beauty, the personality, the class and the glamour, the leadership qualities , the debonair and the presentation skills, the Mangalorean girls and ladies (and can I say, boys and men as well - sorry, if I am giving a pat on my own back!) stood above anyone else. Of course, our rich and conservative family values, cultures and traditions, along with the high educational standards and knowledge that we obtained through the famous Educational Institutions like St.Aloysious and St.Agnes Colleges, Mangalore, etc. have helped us to excel in various fields.

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