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Marysya Horobets, a model and a journalist, wins another title
Marysya Horobets, a journalist of Welcome to Ukraine Magazine, have won the titles Miss Press, Miss Mediterranean and Miss Planet at the beauty contest Miss Tourism Planet 2006 which was recently held in Athens, Greece. She has won several titles so far, and all her impressive victories have been dedicated to Ukraine. Ms Horobets contributes a lot to creating a positive image of Ukraine.
Ms Horobets was interviewed by Yevhen BUDKO, International Tourism senior editor.
It was not the first time that you took part in a Miss Tourism beauty contest, was it?
No, it was not. There are about 60 top-class beauty contests held annually in the world, and among them are those that are called Miss Tourism. I was quite successful at the contests Miss Tourism World in Venezuela in 2003 and Miss Tourism International in Malaysia in 2005. It was quite natural that the Miss Ukraine-South National Committee, headed by Tetyana Savchenko, suggested that I take part in the contest to be held in Athens. It was the tenth Miss Tourism Planet contest and thus it was a special, jubilee contest. 30 girls from various countries of the world came to Athens to take part in the contest and I felt it was a particularly important event for me too. At the Miss Ukraine-South National Committee they understand very well that it is not only beauty that matters but also charisma, being diplomatic and sociable, plus other inner qualities.
Is it something exceptional when all these qualities are combined in one person?
Probably, you don’t find it in people too often. I know that many girls who come to participate in Miss World or Miss Universe could speak no foreign languages, and knowledge of foreign languages at such events, believe me, is very important. The organizers of beauty contests take into consideration absolutely everything — the way the participants communicate with each other, the way they behave off stage, the way they see the world — plus so much more.
Was this latest contest in Athens different from other similar contests?
The basic aim of Miss Tourism contest is to promote tourism, and they differ only in certain details. For example, the contest held in Malaysia in 2005, was greatly influenced by the approaching New Year celebrations, and in Athens the contest bore the imprint of it being the tenth and thus a jubilee. We were taken on tours to Greek islands and it was the central tourist event at the contest.
Was the bestowing of the title Miss Press on you influenced by the fact that you are a journalist?
Why I was awarded that title remains a mystery to me. You see, I never told anyone I was a journalist. It only goes to show how carefully all the participants are assessed. As a journalist, when I give interviews I know well what journalists want to ask and what interests them.
What do you have to be to win the title of Model Planet?
This title puts a lot of responsibility on me, and I’ll have to adjust my career and change certain plans… At this stage of the contest, mostly the appearance of the participants was assessed, their ability to present themselves and the dresses they model on the catwalk. I think I was lucky with the dress I was wearing at the finals — it was probably the best among all the others. Incidentally, it cost 15,000 Euros.
You did not have to pay for it, did you?
No, I did not. At the contest in Athens, everything was provided for the participants, except for their national dresses. It was the Greek designer Panos of the Cinema Brand, who determined which dress which girl should model. My height proved to be particularly good for that dress, but, of course, you have to be able to present it well to the public.
I know that the first place was given to a girl from the Czech Republic. What kind of advantage did she have over you?
As always, I compared the merits of the participants, trying to figure out winners and losers, but this time all my predictions failed. In fact, it came as a surprise to many in the world of beauty contests, and to me too, that it was not me who won the contest. The Ukrainian Ambassador to Greece Valery Tsybukh was outraged. But I look at such things from a philosophical point of view. Winning the first place at such contests, even at the local levels, is often connected with politics. Besides, that Czech girl was well known in Greece — she used to work there as a model. Yes, she was awarded the first place, but I was awarded three titles!
How many crowns from the beauty contests have you won?
But you have no gold one yet, have you?
Winning the first place depends not only on me, you know. But that is why I continue to take part in beauty contests — I hope to win the gold crown.
You embarked on this career only three years ago. Wouldn’t it be too early to quit anyway?
In these three years that have passed I have become more self-assured, and at the same time I’m much less upset by small setbacks, but even right at the start I looked at things in a manner different from that of very young beauty contest participants. I do not seek as much as I did objectivity or justice in assessments of the juries or organizers. At the contest in Athens, the organizers told me that “you are too clever and ask too many questions.” I do not hide my anger when I have to stay up until three o’clock in the morning at a reception, and then be ready to get up at seven, or when the food we are given consists mostly of French fries or pizza. I know I should control my indignation but I just can’t help expressing it.
I heard that the beauty contest participants bring “national” presents to the contests. Do you do it?
This time nobody told me that I should, but I know from my previous experience that it’s useful to have such presents. My parents and I bought souvenirs in the western Ukrainian town of Kosovo — a wooden mace for the chief organizer, pysanky — painted eggs, and necklaces for all the participants. Except for the Brazilian girl who gave people CDs with photographs of her country, I was the only one who gave such presents. The president of the contest was very much surprised when I gave him the wooden mace for a present. He asked, “What should I do with it, defend myself if attacked?” “No,” I said, “use to punish those girls who ask too many questions.” He laughed.
Taking part in beauty contest must be an expensive hobby. Do you have any sponsors?
I find myself to be very lucky — I am on friendly and working terms with many Ukrainian designers. The corsets designed by Diana Dorozhkina, glamorous dresses designed by Taras Kraskin and Lyudmyla Telesnytska, Anna Bublyk, national Ukrainian dresses designed by Olena Cherevychna are greatly admired by the beauty contest participants, juries and guests. They let me wear all those things. Air tickets are taken care of partly by the National Committee Miss Ukraine and partly by the organizing committees of the contests. I travelled with such airlines as Aerosvit, KLM, Air France which supported me in their kind way. Before the contest, I had physical training at the fitness centre Sofiyivsky in Kyiv, and aesthetic training at the beauty parlour Nika.
I am very grateful to all of them for supporting me. Now that my name has become rather well known, it helps.
Does this getting known help to get contracts from foreign companies?
I have received an invitation to come to Greece to take part in photo sessions for a big wall calendar but I have not yet said yes or no because I am too busy at the moment. Earlier I had very tempting propositions from London and Paris, but I do not intend to spend my life abroad. The most important thing is my own positive image and interesting work here in Ukraine. I want the name Marysya to become a well-known Ukrainian brand.
You are not a professional model but yet you have been very successful on the catwalk.
No, I am not a professional model in the sense that I did not study at a modelling school; I do not have agents who would take care of my promotion, but I have enough experience to be a successful model — I started doing choreography at the age of four, I used to sing in a choir, I learnt to play the piano and the bandura, Ukrainian national instrument, and to draw and paint. It was in the School of Arts founded by my parents that the foundation of my personality was laid… I started my career in the world of fashion and modelling through my journalist interests. Once, I was invited to try myself on the catwalk and accepted the invitation. It was all rather unexpected — I could never imagine I would do modelling rather than just watch others do it!
What does the participation in beauty contests give you?
They are a good incentive for self-improvement — they make work and try harder, no matter how busy I may be.
Did you ever think of doing something on television or in the movies?
I already worked on the radio and on TV, and now I’m working out some pilot projects at the major television channels. One of these projects is connected with tourism and travels. I regard it as a continuation of my work for the magazines International Tourism and Welcome to Ukraine. After you see many beautiful places in the world, you want not only describe them to others but to show them to their best advantage…
In spring, a two-part film, Na belom katere (On Board the White Motorboat) in which I played one of the leading roles, was shown in Russia. It had a good press. The film was seen in the Czech Republic too, and I got an interesting proposition.
Last summer a pilot reality show was recorded with my participation. The main idea was to show Ukraine through the prism of a woman’s soul. It was filmed for the American TV station NBC, and that is why the film is in English.
Maybe Hollywood will get interested…
When I read the life stories of the Hollywood stars they seem like fairy tales, but miracles do happen in life. I think they did happen in mine. Take, for example, the way Diana Dorozhkina offered me to model on the catwalk. I think that if I tried hard enough I’d find my way to Hollywood (at this point Ms Horobets burst out laughing). In fact, I received my best prizes and most interesting proposals when I did not think in terms of getting prizes at any price — I just did what I had to do to the best of my ability.
Are those crowns that you brought from Athens real gold and diamonds?
Of course not. After the organizers hand the prizes to the winners, they take them back, and the winners get only replicas.
So what is for real at those contests?
They are a unique school of life — and they give you an excellent opportunity to make your country better known in the world. When people see nice looking and intelligent contestants, they begin to show more interest in the countries these contestants represent. So I invite everyone who take an interest in Ukraine — Welcome!
A short list of the titles that Marysya Horobets has won so far:
European Model of the Year, at the models’ contest Wosmos, Peru, 2003.
Finalist at the beauty contest Miss Tourism World, Venezuela, 2003.
First Vice Miss Bikini World, at the contest Miss Bikini Model Queen, Malta, 2004.
First Vice Miss Tourism World, Miss Personality, at the contest Miss Tourism International, Malaysia, 2005.
Ms Horobets earned the Bachelor’s Degree in history and political science at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, and the Master’s Degree in journalism at the same university.
At present, she works for the magazines International Tourism and Welcome to Ukraine.
The contestants in national dresses at one
The opportunity of making
Tetyana Savchenko, President of the Miss
The three winners: First Vice Miss Tourism