It’s taken 35 years for Wellington mums Vicki Lee Smith and Mandy Stevenson to show the world their big voices and even bigger personalities, but now they’ve got a taste of the limelight, the Diamond Divas are never letting it go.
The New Zealand’s Got Talent semifinalists impressed not only judges Jason Kerrison, Rachel Hunter and Cris Judd, but the entire country when they belted out Stevie Wonder’s Signed, Sealed, Delivered.
“I’m gonna make those judges love every inch of us, ‘cos there’s a lot of inches,” quipped Vicki (49), just before they made their way on stage.
But it’s taken a lot of sacrifice and, in Mandy’s case, persuasion, to enter New Zealand’s Got Talent.
“Because my dad is Frankie Stevens, I’ve always felt a bit awkward about getting involved in the entertainment industry,” Mandy (41) explains.
“But when Vicki auditioned for the show, she told the producers that there was another one of her, and that she’d bring me along the next day. So Vicki just said to me, ‘Girl, don’t worry about your dad, let’s do it for us.’”
“And I’m so proud of her for it,” says Vicki. “People can hear her and know she can actually sing, and be recognised for her own talents.”
Their moment in the spotlight has been a long time coming for married mum-of-five Vicki and solo mum-of-three Mandy.
“We were full-time working mothers,” says Vicki. “That was our life. We were always too busy with the kids, but about three years ago they were all
old enough to self-manage, and we thought, we can give this a go.” Ever since, the Divas have been performing at parties and functions, landing gigs through word of mouth.
“We didn’t have a website or anything, not even business cards,” Vicki says. “But it’s okay, we have technology now. We’re on Facebook!”
The call each other sisters – and just like true siblings, are quick to point out the other one’s flaws.
“Mandy can’t dance for s***,” Vicki laughs. “The funniest thing is that we could be halfway through a song, I’ll look over and see what she’s doing, and I’ll just burst out laughing.”
“The only reason I can’t dance is because she’s taking up the whole stage!” says Mandy.
“But we’re both so pleased we’ve actually done this.”
About Kelly Bertrand
“I started at the Weekly after a two-week internship in 2011, which was part of my journalism studies. Basically, I hung around and annoyed people long enough to land a job as a staff writer, and I’ve been here ever since. I’m lucky enough to get to write stories ranging from the Kardashians through to the Queen, but my real passion is telling the stories of New Zealand’s sporting stars. Sometimes I can’t quite believe it’s my job to hang out with All Blacks and Silver Ferns! I absolutely love working at the Weekly, and feel really privileged to be part of this 83-year-old Kiwi institution. I’m also fond of Instagram, coffee and animals dressed as humans!”more of this author