Hakobyan and Paruyr Harikyan at the renaming
ceremony of the school in Kashatagh.
She may be Miss World in the hearts of her national
fans, but Miss Armenia Lusine Tovmasyan will miss
out on a chance to prove her beauty in the international
competition unless she gets $12,000 fast.
When the teenager was crowned August 28, Armenia's
deputy minister of Culture and Youth Affairs (and
president of "Miss Armenia" national
agency), Karen Aristakesyan announced:
"This year Armenia has an exceptional opportunity
to participate in the 'Miss World' beauty contest".
But contestants for the Miss World pageant were
due to be in Shanghai, China November 8. Instead,
Miss Armenia is still in Yerevan -- $12,000 short
of the required entry fee -- and the deputy minister
is saying something very different
"I don't think that there is a way to find
the money in Armenia," Aristakesyan said
Wednesday. "I applied to about 30 people,
but no result."
Aristakesyan appealed to Miss World organizers
and they agreed to extend the fee deadline until
November 26 for the December 6 competition.
The 17-year old Miss Armenia is devastated by
the turn of events, as she learned of the financial
shortcomings only a day before she was supposed
"I had my luggage packed by the 7th of November
and I was in the mood for departure," she
says. "And all of a sudden, just before the
departure I was phoned and told that I was not
The beauty of the year instead is still attending
classes at Interlingua Linguistic University,
trying to avoid the curious questions: "When
are you leaving?" and "Aren't you going
"I wish I was told a little earlier that
there are financial difficulties. I wouldn't so
much dispose myself to leaving. A couple of weeks
ago I went to the embassy and got my entrance
visa, and we were trying to solve the problem
of dresses, but the organizers did not tell me
that they can't pay the small membership fee."
But what may seem "small" to a teenager
with dreams of world acclaim, is quite another
matter for organizers. Their entire Miss Armenia
2003 pageant was produced for a budget of $15,000.
Her apparent absence from Miss World comes as
especially hard news for Lusine, as she has already
been bypassed for a chance to compete in the Miss
Europe competition last week in France.
Armenia was represented there by Anush Grigoryan,
who was runner-up to Lusine in the Miss Armenia
Expecting to send Lusine to Shanghai, organizers
here sent Anush to the competition, where that
entry fee was just $400. (The total cost of her
trip was $5,000.) Anush was not among Miss Europe
Jury member of Miss Armenia 2003 pageant, Vilen
Galstyan, thinks that Lusine has good chances
for success at Miss World, and that it would have
been be more reasonable not to participate in
Miss Europe to save the money.
The deputy minister defended the decision to
send a contestant to Miss Europe, saying that
the $5,000 still would not have been enough for
the Miss World expenses.
Aristakesyan says he is busy trying to come up
with the money, because if Armenia does not participate
in the contest this year, the organization of
Miss World will not take Armenia seriously in
"They will probably not take away our participation
license, which was very difficult to get. But
it will be really embarrassing. We represent a
country" says Aristakesyan.
Lusine's application was sent to the Miss World
organizers and according to the pageant website
she is in the lineup for the title. But the website
may have to be edited unless $12,000 appears before
While the organizers try to find the membership
fee for participation in Miss World, the disappointed
beauty every day reads the conditions presented
by Miss World for the competition. The rules say
each participant should have 30 cocktail and 20
evening dresses (each dress costs at least $150-200),
shoes of the same quantity, bathing suits, etc.
"The funniest point is where it is mentioned
(in the competition guidelines) that: 'If you
are coming from your country by plane, and it
is possible for the luggage to get lost, make
sure that the participant will have enough money
to buy everything necessary from here',"
says Lusine. "If I had that much money I
would pay the membership fee and participate with
only one dress."