- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
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 August 29, 2003 

Beautiful Night: Miss Armenia 2003

Third-place Lusineh Sahakyan becomes Miss Consolation, as she comforts a disappointed runner-up Anush Grigoryan.

In Yerevan's Sport and Concert Complex Tuesday night the lights went down and anticipation went up and nearly six hours later Miss Lusineh Tovmasyan was crowned Miss Armenia 2003.

From 100 applicants, 15 girls were chosen to compete. Eight were from Yerevan, six from the regions and one from Karabakh.

Karen Arestakesyan president of Miss Armenia National Agency, explained their qualifying commonalities:

"They are 17-24 year old girls, who correspond to international standards. It means they are taller than 170 cm and have 60-90-60 (35-23-35 inches) measurement, charm, beautiful teeth, etc."

To the sound of jazz music, the measurements and the charm and the teeth, etc. came out in national dresses. (Though "national" dresses that had transparent veils, high headdresses and soft colors.)

And as the beauties filled the stage, the hall was filled with an audience discussing virtues and defects.

Some young men liked the girls' smiles. Others complained about wooden motions and strongly marked Armenian noses of some.

In addition to the national dress, the girls made other appearances in evening wear and in swimsuits. In video clips, they told about their dreams, their thoughts, their goals.

Production of the contest cost about $15,000, given by sponsors. (No government allotment was made for this particular cultural event.)

"Let our beauties participate at the contests like this one and worthily present Armenia," Arestakesyan said in opening the ceremonies. Earlier he told a press conference that the pageant's success grows each year, since it started in 1996.

Miss Armenia 2003, already on television.

"Every year we sign new agreements and contracts for our participation in different well-known contests," he said.

However, before presenting themselves in different parts of the world the girls were trying to attract attention from a jury which included Miss Armenia 1998 and Miss CIS Gohar Harutyunyan, Miss Russia 2002 and Miss Europe 2003 Svetlana Koraliova, experts mainly from CIS countries, Armenian artists as well as one deputy of the National Assembly.

From what they said in their videos it seems the evening climaxed a childhood dream for most of the girls. Many of them vowed to demonstrate the beauty of Armenian women to the world.

Swimsuits become useful for fulfilling that aim.

"This is a phenomenon which is accepted, especially by fathers, with great difficulty," said Gohar Harutyunyan. "Sometimes girls don't participate at contests for this reason. However, year in and year out everything changes and it seems that girls' successes on foreign stages break this ice."

Wearing a swimsuit and walking in it on a public stage seems to still need some ice-breaking in Armenia, as, sort of sadly, some of the beauties found it difficult to smile during this portion of the competition.

The blame for any nervousness, though, might have gone to stage directors or whomever forgot to put identification numbers on the wrists of the girls. During other parts of the event contestants wore the badges so that judges and journalists could identify them. For the swimsuit competition, however, in which they wore identical one-piece turquoise, other means of identification had to be employed.

Physical attributes aside, Miss Armenia 2003 would also have to exhibit brain power.

At the pre-event press conference, Arestakesyan said applicants are often "very beautiful but their intellectual abilities are very low.

"That's why the agency set a goal to create a school of elegance and beauty where history of art, rules of conduct and etiquette will be taught. And in the future it will help to improve that level."

Arestakesyan says he cannot say for sure that the level of the Armenian girls' intellect is very low, however, comparing with other European participants, the difference is obvious.

Miss Armenia 2003 sitting pretty for the cameras.

"I was a member of the jury at the Miss Europe contest and I was surprised with their answers," Arestakesyan said. "They were asked about the image of a woman in the 21st century and their answers about harmony and mutual love were deeply philosophical and astonishing."

Which brings us to the question addressed to Tuesday's winner . . .

After (soon to be fifth place) No. 8, Elina Mamikonyan was asked: "What is your favorite aphorism?" (To which the she asked to have the question repeated at the end of the Q and A section) . . .

No. 7 (soon to be winner) Lusineh Tovmasyan (whose sister won two years ago, and who is represented by the Miss Armenia agency) was asked: "What is the image of a woman in the 21st century?"

"I think happiness is when everything is in harmony, when there is a response when you work with love and the most important is when you feel yourself satisfied." (Sound familiar? Go back four paragraphs.)

"Wonderful answer," exclaimed the hostess.

Anush Grigoryan, 18, of Goris, was runner-up. Lusineh Sahakyan, 19, of Vanadzor was third.

Miss Armenia 2003 is 178, 88-59-88. She is also 17, and a student at Interlingua Linguistic University. She studies English and Italian and dreams to travel around the world. She likes to eat, but doesn't get fat as a result.

She is a veteran of numerous contests. She was presented by the Miss Armenia agency at the Miss Caucasus contest and won first prize there as well. She has worked in Japan as a model.

"I still don't know what I'm going to do. I only know that I'm very happy and I didn't expect to win," she said.

One thing Miss Armenia 2003 will do is represent her country at the Miss World competition in October. It is the first time Armenia will be represented.

For a look at all the contestants and an unofficial vote, click .





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There She Is . . .

Lusineh Tovmasyan was crowned Miss Armenia 2003 at the annual beauty pageant in Yerevan on Tuesday.



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