Australia’s best-known former deputy mayor, Salim Mehajer, is making headlines again this week after his sister Mary took home the title of Miss Lebanon Australia on Sunday. But questions have been raised about the fairness of her win, with fellow contestants claiming the pageant was ‘rigged’ and she ‘entered late.’
Amid complaints that Mary’s win might have been influenced by the fact that her brother’s business, Mehajer Bros, was a major sponsor of the event, Mamamia spoke to a former Miss Lebanon Australia winner about her experiences in the pageant.
Deedee Zibara, who was crowned Miss Lebanon Australia in 2013, explained to Mamamia that the pageant “…is for women of Lebanese decent only, and is meant to celebrate women of the Lebanese culture who do good for, and make a difference in their communities.”
Deedee is pictured third from the left. Image courtesy of Emile Gebrayel photography.
"Girls enter pageants in the hopes they will be able to make a difference to their community through charity and volunteer work."
We asked Deedee whether Mary Mehajer's late entry (she entered just three weeks before the competition date) should have disqualified her.
"I always enter pageants late so I'm not really one to talk," said Deedee, adding "but there's always late entrants to pageants so it's not a huge deal. It only seems to be a huge deal to others when they're the ones who end up winning."
In terms of the winnings, Deedee said while "it changes from year to year, in my year I was granted a huge Nude By Nature Makeup hamper, $2000 cash and some jewellery."
Strong financial backing may not win you the competition but it is an advantage in itself.
"Pageants can be a serious expense, and this is before even entering," said Deedee.