Ever since I was a little kid I had always wondered what beauty pageants were like. I remember it being something that never really crossed my mind until I would randomly come across it. Most days it was a day (or night) just like any other. I would watch any number of early 90’s shows like (the) Simpsons, Friends, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, In Living Color or even Family Matters and I could expect the same shows from one week to the next. Hell, I planned what my weeks would be like depending on what shows were airing when. But, once a year I would flip on my favorite show, only to be greeted by something I did not expect. I would think that I would be catching my normal half-hour of zany antics between Uncle Phil and Carlton (from the Fresh Prince), but, my show would be interrupted by a bevy of beautiful women walking up and down an amazing looking stage. My little head didn’t know what to make of it. I hadn’t even hit puberty yet, but, it was oddly entertaining. Sure, I thought all of the women looked amazing (and they certainly did), but, it was the production of the show that captivated me. Or, at least it did for a short while. As a kid your attention span is pretty short, so, while I loved watching the show, I really wanted to go out and play Street Fighter or anything else not long after. But, the funny thing was that, every once in a while I would catch the show while my mom was watching it. Watching it with her was a totally different experience than when I watched it. In fact, it was almost as interesting seeing her reactions to the show than the show itself. The way she would describe the dresses, the different aspects of the show, and funniest of all, when she would judge the outfits the contestants wore. I had never thought too much about pageants before or since then, but, it was those moments long ago that the seed of fascination was planted. While I had not thought too much about pageants since, it was our (Spektrum’s) chance to check out the a pageant first hand that re-introduced the world of pageants to me. That show was the Miss Russian LA pageant.
A year ago we were invited to the Miss Russian LA pageant. It was something that I did not expect, but was more than thrilled at the opportunity to check it out. I had never been to a pageant before and the thought of not just seeing it, but being a part of one fascinated me more than I could have imagined. I mean, after all of those years thinking about them (and catching one or two on tv [I’m looking at you Victoria’s Secret fashion show]), I thought it would be fun to cover. Of course, having no idea in what to expect, I had to invite our resident reporter (and veteran of the pageant scene) Daynie to the show. She had been a part of numerous shows back in the day, and if there was anyone that could give me some pointers as to what was happening it would be her. Needless to say, the show was a blast, and seeing the inner workings and behind the scenes of the antics that go on at a pageant is so much fun. It definitely brought a different dynamic to the pageants I had seen so many years ago. But, while the show was fun (and indeed it was), I was curious to see what the show would be like a year later. Well, here it is a year later and all of that wondering about that next show would finally be put to rest. Yes folks, we would be going back to the Miss Russian LA show and I couldn’t have been more excited!
I don’t know what it was, but, there was something in the air this time around. Having a pretty good idea of what to expect at the show had my head spinning. As soon as we got word that we would be going back to the show I couldn’t help by imagine who and what we would see. Last time around was nothing but surprises, and I knew it would be all that and more. Again, I don’t know why, but, I had that feeling all the way leading up to the show. If I had to guess though, I think it had a lot to do with the fact that I wound’t be going at it alone. Joining me on this adventure would be our videographer and friend, Gee (whom brings us the amazing interview videos posted below) and a very special guest, Brittany. We had the opportunity to work with Brittany at an event last year, and we were really excited to be working with her at this event. Considering she’s a beauty queen in her own right (and commands quite the presence) we were stoked to check out the show.
The night of the event could not have been any nicer. The weather was just right (neither hot nor too cold), and perfect for a walk along the red carpet. Having arrived at the Taglyan Complex (where the event is held) just a little early, we were able to get a good spot on the carpet. That is definitely a must when things start to get chaotic. We’ve unfortunately arrived at red carpets a little late in the past and have paid for a good position to get the shots we really wanted. But, that wasn’t the case this time around. Gee and I had some time to set up, and when Brittany arrived (looking stunning as ever in a dress that managed to turn the heads of everyone within a thirty-mile radius) we were ready to roll. In fact, it was not long after the clock struck 7 that the celebs began to make their way down the red carpet. That part is always fun to me, and seeing them begin to line up and take the walk is an experience unlike anything you’ll ever be a part of. With the flashing of the camera strobes and the photographers yelling to get the celebs’ attention it’s easy to get lost in the experience. Maybe one day I’ll have to sit back and just watch the craziness of the red carpet. But alas, if I were to do that, then I would miss the chance to snap shots and watch our friend Brittany interview the amazing people that were there day.
Seeing who would show up is always a fun part of the red carpet experience. Seeing the winner of the Miss Russian LA show from 2017, the lovely Anna Petrova was a welcome sight. I remember seeing her dance her heart out and win last year, and it was really nice to see her once again. It was also nice to chat with the owner and founder of the Miss Russian LA Show, Lika Osipova. This may only be my second time going to this event, but, every time I’ve seen Lika, I can’t help but feel under-dressed. She always manages to look so glamorous and the energy she brings to the show is awesome. Another interesting interview from that day was with Dallas Lovato. A lot of us may know her as the older sister of singer Demi Lovato, but, wouldn’t you know that Dallas is quite accomplished in her own right. She’s an actor, singer, television star and veteran of the beauty pageant scene. Watching her energy radiate the way it was during our interview with her was something to witness. I can totally tell that talent runs in her family, and it was an honor to have the opportunity to chat with her.
In fact, it was an honor to talk to everyone that we were able to chat with that day. From the interaction we had with international director Evgeny Afneevsky, the awesome folks from group Undecided Future and musician David Longoria (with April Diamond) we had a lot of fun. I think it was a nice run up to the show itself. What better way to enjoy the show than to meet the people that are going to be a part of it? And the show. Gosh the show. I really enjoyed it. Walking in to the Taglyan (which is an experience unto itself) and feeling the strong blue hues drape across everything sets a mood that has to be felt to be believed. As serene as it feels at first, that moment is soon interrupted by the blaring music and smoke effects as the women of the Miss Russian LA show take stage. The center of the showroom definitely stands out against that blue backdrop, and I can’t help but keep my eyes on the stage. It’s definitely quite a show, and it reminded me of those times long ago where I would catch a glimpse of the Miss USA pageant. I know now what it’s like (to some extent) for the women to be a part of such an event. I can only imagine though the range of emotions that they must go through for the entirety of the event. For most, it’s a sense of pure adrenaline and accomplishment just to even be a part of the event. Not only do they participate, but, they have to wear their hearts on their sleeve during the talent and question portion. It’s definitely amazing to watch, and I couldn’t have been happier to be witness to such an amazing event. Congratulations to all of the women that participated and to Lika and her crew for putting together this show. It was just as exciting, if not moreso than the one from last year and I am sure that the next will be just as incredible. I definitely have an appreciation for the hard work that goes into this pageant and all the others just like it. Until the next one!
So, make sure check out our vid below with interviews and sights from the show. And I want to wish a very special thank you to our videographer Gee for putting that together as well as our gorgeous reporter for the evening, Brittany. You definitely rocked the house that night! Big ups to you!
Our coverage and Interviews from the red carpet at Miss Russian LA 2018
Red Carpet Interviews by Brittany Brickner
Videos by Brandon “Gee” Grimes
Words and Photos By Daniel Navarrete
For more information on the Miss Russian LA Show and any upcoming shows, check them out on their website at Miss Russian LA Show
This article was prepared or accomplished by Daniel Navarrete in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Spektrum Magazine, or its affiliates.