Russia Proud of Miss Universe Showcase
Despite an early elimination of its own beauty queen, Russian organizers were thrilled to play host to a bevy of beauties.
Published: November 13, 2013 (Issue # 1786)
Miss Venezuela, Maria Gabriela Isler, swept aside 85 contestants to give her country its seventh Miss Universe crown during the competition final in Moscow’s Crocus City Hall on Nov. 9.
Although Russia’s beauty queen failed to make it into the top 16, the event left Russian organizers and celebrities beaming with patriotism that their country managed to host an event of this scale, and some already asking for the next pageant dose.
“I can’t describe all the things that I’m feeling at this moment. I’m shaking and I don’t believe it,” 25-year-old Isler said moments after being crowned Miss Universe 2013. “Maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up and say, oh my gosh, it’s me, but right now I’m still shocked.”
Isler successfully navigated the swimsuit, evening gown and interview portions of the pageant to win the top spot. Spain’s Patricia Rodriguez was the first runner up, followed by Constanza Baez from Ecuador, Ariella Arida from the Philippines and Brazil’s Jakelyne Oliveira.
“For me it’s like winning because it’s the first time that my country got so close to the crown,” said Miss Ecuador after the show. “Now I only want to see my people and go to my country because I’m so proud and I hope that they’re proud too.”
This year’s judging panel included Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, gold medal figure skater Tara Lipinski, Nizhny Novgorod-born model Anne V, chef Nobu Matsuhisa, television host Carol Alt, watch designer Italo Fontana, haircare businessman Farouk Shami and Russian pop star Filipp Kirkorov.
Kirkorov left his two young children at home with their grandfather and put on “a little something that came in a box from Milan” — specifically, a leather jacket with golden studs, sequin shirt, ripped pants and gold-tipped sneakers — to make his debut as an international show judge.
Oxana Fedorova, Russia’s contestant, who won the Miss Universe pageant in 2002 but later gave up her crown, and last year’s winner Olivia Culpo set the benchmark by which Kirkorov said he would pick this year’s winner. Kirkorov’s mother also played a role in setting the modern standard of beauty.
“My mom was a brunette and I’ll be looking for my mom’s features in the next winner,” Kirkorov said. He then went on to voice his support for Miss Russia, Ukraine and Bulgaria before catching himself. “I’ve said too much. I can’t say all this because I’m a member of the jury.”
The contestants got up early and rehearsed for most of the days leading up to the final, like Guyana’s Katherina Roshana Khan who said she had been up since 5 a.m. By the time the show kicked off at 10 p.m, all walking parades, as well as dances set to the music of Panic! At the Disco and Crocus Group vice-president Emin Agalarov, were perfectly tuned and choreographed.
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