First Miss Russia abroad was held in Paris in 1929. The contest was launched by the magazine of Russian emigration “Russia Illustrated’. The participants of beauty pageant – beautiful Russian girls from European countries were invited to participate in it. The contestants should be unmarried and decent, having moral qualities, dignity, and aged 16 to 25. The contestants were all immigrants from revolutionary Russia. Beautiful participants were accompanied by their mothers, fiances. First stage of the pageant included the appearance of all girls together, then separately, and the third stage – interview. The jury estimated three qualities – appearance, beauty of shapes and the overall impression. The competition itself was like a parade of brides for the choice of Tsar – modest and chaste.
The jury consisted of famous people – Alexander Benois, Ivan Bilibin, Konstantin Korovin, and director Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, writer Alexander Kuprin and others.
Valentina Osterman, a native of Rostov, was the first crowned Miss Russia 1929, in Paris. Unfortunately she was disqualified for her German passport. First runner-up Irina Levitskaya succeeded her.
Participants in such contests were very popular in the world, they were invited to various events, their portraits adorned the covers of magazines and postcards.
Just like other pageants worldwide, Miss Russia was halted after the WWII broke out in 1939. Once again, the competition was revived only in 1989 and was called “Miss USSR”, held in Moscow. The competition broadcasted on the first channel for six hours, was a stunning success!