Last weekend, over a thousand Ukrainian Americans from all over the U.S., and others, eager to be inspired by Ukrainian beauty, gathered in Chicago to find out who would be crowned Miss Ukrainian Diaspora 2013. Eighteen beautiful contestants from across America competed for the main crown of the Ukrainian Diaspora, a global community of ethnic Ukrainians living outside their homeland.
The winner of this year’s competition, Chicago resident, Solomia Krun, was chosen by a 13 member panel of judges, including NBC Chicago’s Natalie Martinez, Miss Chicago 2013, Savannah Teegarden, 1962 Miss Chicago runner-up, Ivanna Richardson, and a renowned talent management expert, Myrna Salazar.
Miss Ukrainian Diaspora is not just a typical beauty contest. It is a show combined with a concert by the most famous Ukrainian singers and musicians. This year, the event included breathtaking performances by World Music Award & Eurovision winner, Ruslana, and world famous violin virtuoso, Vasyl Popadiuk. Also, the show featured a world champion in gymnastics, a former participant in Cirque du Soleil, Nadya Vasina.
This classy event aims to popularize and preserve Ukrainian cultural heritage throughout the world and to support the Ukrainian community in Chicago. There is no bikini contest. Instead, the contestants showcase traditional national costumes, some of which are original antique pieces made by hand back in the 19th century.
The show was featured in numerous media outlets worldwide. It sparked a sensational buzz because of its social message of maintaining one’s identity while separated from one’s homeland.
The event was organized by a Chicago based media organization, VIDIA, which runs the main Ukrainian diaspora news website.