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Beautiful resources

Beauty pageants are about more than good looks they can have a message, too. Stas Shectman and Marina Kamenev report.

Published: August 8, 2008 (Issue # 1397)



  • The first Moscow Beauty pageant was held in 1988.
    Photo: Beauty of Moscow

  • Yulia Nagayeva is the current Miss Atom, having won an Internet beauty contest for workers in the nuclear energy industry.
    Photo: Vladimir Filonov / The St. Petersburg Times

The headquarters of Nuclear.ru are located in an uninspiring building near Moscows Paveletsky Station. The company is an independent Internet portal providing the latest developments in the field of nuclear energy. But that is not what it is best known for.

Inside the small office sits Yulia Nagayeva, a tall, striking brunette. She is a senior manager for business development at TVEL, a manufacturer of nuclear fuel. She is also Miss Atom, the latest winner of the beauty contest that has been run by Nuclear.ru annually since 2004. Miss Atom is an online contest for women under the age of 35 who work in the nuclear energy industry.

In addition to the countrys oil and mineral wealth, during the past decade Russia has been busy refining another one of its valuable natural resources: beauty. And while there have been no major international wins for Russia since Oksana Fyodorova won Miss Universe in 2002, numerous domestic competitions ensure that some of Russias most beautiful girls get to bask in the glow of a spotlight.

I think its every girls dream to see how they compare to other women, Nagayeva said. She had entered the contest twice before she won this year and loves the process of taking part.

Its great. We get a stylist who chooses our dresses, a professional hairdresser and a photographer. Then we get photographed in beautiful locations. I really wanted to take part in this, she said.

Our country is recognized for the beauty of its women, said Tatyana Andreyeva, director of Beauty of Russia (Krasa Rossii), one of the longest-running beauty contests in Russia. I consider ours one of a very few countries, perhaps even the only country, where female beauty is in the blood, where it is a national resource. Because of this, I feel that beauty contests here are very significant. They glorify these national resources.

Its not that Russian women are more beautiful than other women, said Fyodorova in a telephone interview. Its just that Slavic beauty is a universal kind of beauty.

Ilya Platonov, the director of Nuclear.ru, runs his competition for a rather different reason. When people think of nuclear energy, they get scared, they think of Chernobyl. We want to show that the people working with and promoting nuclear industry are normal and the fact that the industry is filled with lots of beautiful women.

On July 25, 63 beauties as the organizers call them represented the genetic wealth of cities, villages and regions across Russia and the CIS and strutted their stuff on a custom-built, 500-meter stage on the shore of Lake Onego in Petrozavodsk, Karelia, north of St. Petersburg. This years Beauty of Russia pageant was the first to be held outside of Moscow since 1995.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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