Russia and Ukraine take the war to Miss Universe costume stage

Amrutha Pagad
Amrutha PagadJan 13, 2023 | 15:41

Russia and Ukraine take the war to Miss Universe costume stage

Ukraine and Russia battle for Miss Universe 2022 title. Photo: Miss Universe/Twitter

Ukraine and Russia are fighting a battle on the Miss Universe stage too. The annual Miss Universe National Costume Contest this year saw contestants representing their cultures with their dresses. The contest took place on Wednesday, January 11, in New Orleans, US. And contestants from Ukraine and Russia had statement pieces to show off. 

Here are Miss Russia Anna Linnikova and Miss Ukraine Viktoriia Apanasenko side-by-side in their national costumes: 

Miss Russia (L) and Miss Ukraine (R). Photo: Miss Universe/Twitter

The choice of costumes is very telling. 

What's the theme of the costumes? Miss Russia Anna Linnikova says her theme for the national costume is the Russian Empire. 

  • She sported a mini dress embedded with pearls and semi-precious stones, complete with a red velvet cape gown with balloon sleeves and a crown from the Russian Empire. 
  • The dress was put together with the help of the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Thoughts: It's quite insensitive to wear blood-red colour when the literal blood of Ukrainians and even Russian soldiers is flowing in a battlefield of Kremlin's own creation. But since the costume was also the creation of a state museum in Russia, there's no doubt Putin's bloodthirsty regime was busy tailoring a Miss Universe costume along with forcing Russians to fight the dictator's war. The theme being the Russian Empire is also puke-worthy given Putin's obsession with the Old Russian glory days, and its current expansionist battle in Ukraine.

  • As for Miss Ukraine, Viktoriia Apanasenko channelled the Archangel Michael from Christian tales, who is the "Warrior of Light" conquering evil. 
  • Apanasenko spared no breath in saying that the costume was inspired by the war in Ukraine. 
I see a lot of broken lives... But every time I see strong power inside of people. That's why I choose a warrior, because it shows how Ukrainians fight right now for the future, for their freedom, for their independence, for every inch of our land, and for our history.
- Miss Ukraine Viktoriia Apanasenko
  • Apanasenko wore a white dress with a gold bodice along with the towering wings in Ukraine's blue and yellow-gold colours. Her expression and walk also channelled the persona of a warrior. 

Internet brings out the guns: The stark contrast between Miss Russia and Miss Ukraine's national costumes wasn't lost on the Internet. Miss Russia quickly became the Miss Genocide, while others wondered why Russia was even allowed to participate in the contest.

While Ukraine and Russia definitely became the talking points of the beauty pageant, there were other contestants who brought the drama on with their costumes and evening dresses. 

This is what Miss India Divita Rai wore for the national costume. Rai said she was paying tribute to the title of "golden bird -- sone ki chidiya" that India was known as before the Brits landed up on our shores. 


Miss Great Britain Noky Simbani paid tributes to the late Queen Elizabeth II with her platinum ball gown, with a cape and a crown.

Miss Nepal Sophiya Bhujel dressed as Goddess Shakti, Miss Ecuador Nayelhi González paid tribute to the Inca Sun god, and Miss Cameroon represented her country's agriculture movement. 

Miss Nepal (L), Miss Ecuador (C) and Miss Cameroon (R).

A dress for the ages: Miss Thailand Anna Sueangam-iam's evening dress of choice was a standout as she paid tribute to her father, who is a garbage collector. Her gown was made of soda-can pull tabs as a nod to her father's profession. 

The world will get a new Miss Universe on January 14. The current Miss Universe Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu, from India, will crown her successor this Saturday.

Last updated: January 13, 2023 | 15:41
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