The beauty pageant, which took place in Paris among immigrant girls from 1929 to 1939, was simply called “Miss Russia”. January 27 in the first year of the event was marked by a scandal. The winner, 18-year-old Valentina Osterman, was disqualified after the victory.
It turned out that the girl did not have a Russian émigré passport - a prerequisite for participating in the competition. It was not accepted at that time to check the authenticity of the applicants' documents. Valentina was of German origin and could not represent Russia. And the new owner of the crown flatly abandoned the widespread fame and career of a film actress.
After disqualification, the crown of "Miss Russia" went to Irina Levitskaya, who took second place. However, even here the organizers had an embarrassment - 16-year-old Irina graduated from school at a Catholic monastery and was preparing to become a nun.
The public life of the beauty queen did not appeal to her - she refused to sign a contract with a film studio and chose to paint. The dethroned queen Valentina Osterman, on a wave of unexpected fame, moved into a "film actress".
Called a beauty - it's a shame
In 1931, Marina Shalyapina, daughter of the famous singer Fyodor Shalyapin, became the winner of the competition. The girl herself was not happy with the idea of participating in the competition, but her mother forced her.
- I didn't want that! In those days, to be declared a beauty in front of everyone - it's a shame! - Marina Fedorovna told reporters later.
The girl was worried that her friends would consider her proud, and the very participation of the daughter of a famous singer was fiction. Marina Chaliapina was a graduate of the famous Matilda Kshesinskaya ballet school and often performed at her evenings. On one of these evenings, the organizers of the competition noticed her and crowned her in advance. The girl only needed to appear at the event. Which she did, deliberately not decorating her appearance in any way and putting her hair in a smooth ballet hairstyle.
Bolshevik propaganda - no!
In 1928, the organizers of the Miss Europe contest notified the editor of the émigré magazine Illustrated Russia, under whose patronage the beauty contest among émigré girls, Miron Mironov, about the start of an international beauty contest and invited a girl from the Parisian Russian community to represent Russia. The organizers did not want to appeal to the USSR, fearing that the Soviet miss would not fit into the concept of the competition and would not represent a symbol of beauty, grace and intelligence, but just an example of Bolshevik propaganda. And this could not be allowed.
Lost the crown
In the history of beauty contests, there have been many cases when the winners were deprived of their title and crown. Mainly due to non-compliance with the terms of the contract, which prescribes to lead a certain lifestyle after winning the competition. So, last year, Alesya Semerenko lost the Miss Moscow-2018 crown. She did not appear at charity events prescribed in the contract, stopped communicating and broke the crown.
Yuri Kondratyev, founder of the international beauty contest "Pearl of the Black Sea":
- Each period of time has its own criteria of beauty and grace. So it is in beauty contests. In the first half of the 20th century, some external data of girls were valued, and now completely different ones are valued. More sophisticated, I would say. And the growth of the winners of modern competitions is higher than that of their predecessors at the beginning of the twentieth century.