Mrs. Russia Organizers Defend Pageant Winner's Appearance Amid Online Ridicule: "It's Just a Bad Photo!"
The winner, Natalya Oskar, used the moment to encourage self-empowerment.
Beauty pageants are notoriously controversial. From being judged as shallow to misogynistic, the global competitions, usually showcasing the most beautiful women from all over competing against each other for a crown, many people have a problem with what they represent. However, after a recent Mrs. Russia beauty pageant, the biggest issue that people are raising is the woman crowned the winner, whose looks are being ridiculed around the world.
— TOGA (@KrzysztofJano15) June 6, 2023
Natalya Oskar from Khabarovsk, the mother of a toddler, was crowned the winner of the competition on Tuesday. However, photos began circling the internet, with people mocking her looks.
She was criticized for many things: from her makeup to height (this was the first year women shorter than 175 centimeters were allowed to compete.) She was also accused of getting plastic surgery. Most of the trolls were Ukrainian, reports The Telegraph.
"We've decided to ditch those requirements this year and accept the women in the shape they are," said Irina Kirsanova, the pageant's organizer. "This is not a modeling competition after all but a competition of married women and mothers."
Organizers of the event stood up for the winner, maintaining that the photos circulating were taken from a bad angle. "She looks really beautiful in our official photos," Kirsanova told Podyem. "I was quite taken aback by the public reaction. It was a bad photo, taken from a bad, low angle. She's very different. Everyone in the jury saw her and loved her."
Oskar also expressed her shock on social media. "The day after I win the media is literally tearing me apart," she wrote. "With my song, I wanted to bring the meaning to the contest, unite all the women of Russia, remind once again that we are the best in the world, charge them with the spirit of self-belief and confidently walk this difficult competition path!"
"The beauty contest 'Mrs. Russia' is not just about physical beauty. There are many bright and beautiful women. But beauty, alas, is not enough," she continued. "In this contest, we were tested for everything – the ability to speak, submit yourself, attitude to family and the world, knowledge of English, reaction to provocations, communication with contestants, conflict, stress resistance and endurance."
"And yes, the stronger one was chosen. She has become me. And I will carry my title with dignity, representing my country now at an international competition," she said.