Have you ever dreamt of representing your country? What about your own title? Or maybe being a ‘Miss’…? FAULT meets a beauty pageant founder.

Dear readers; I know that every one of you there is a sometimes a desire to let yourselves fall and dream of a sweet ‘what if?’ Yes, that soft and silky ‘what if’ of fame and new-found freedom, not relying on the chains of the all-too tedious daily grind, but rather in the making of a seductive, sexy beautiful YOU. Don’t deny it, I know it. We all wear beauty on our skin, every day, to walk, breathe, live and work.

So – with that in mind – let me introduce you to Kateryna Burceva and Julia Titova, co-founders of a beauty pageant that is starting to get some attention right here, right now every fortnight in London…


FAULT: So, tell us about your project as a whole : what it sounds like, where the idea originates from, how it’s all going so far?

Kateryna: It all started in 2012, with me, Kateryna Burceva, and my friend Julia Titova, for the first edition of our beauty contest. It’s open to Russian speaking girls from post-USSR countries, which means 15 states are concerned, 15 nationalities. Hence, we chose to call it by the most relevant name: Miss USSR UK.

The girls apply through an online form. Those who meet the basic criteria (mostly regarding minimum height) have a short interview with our jury. They’ll be invited to one of our casting events to perform the catwalk and be shot by our professional photograph. These photos go online, and from December, public voting will begin. All the people from around the world will be able to vote for their favourite candidate.

Kateryna and Julia - founders
Kateryna and Julia – founders of Miss USSR UK

It might be hard to choose! Can somebody vote for several contestants?

You will actually be able to renew your vote everyday! So, there you go. Once we have closed and disclosed the votes, we’ll elect a “Miss” and her second for each country. Which means there will be a Miss Russia UK, Miss Belarus UK, Miss Ukraine, etc. Eventually, those 30 girls (2 per country) will take part to our grand final in a larger hall in London next April.

Have you got developments in mind for the next season?

Yes! Girls from outside the UK will be able to apply by sending their pictures directly for the votes. If successful, we will invite them to London the final stages of the competition. For many who don’t have the means to travel or go abroad, it represents a big dream. It’s also giving them a bit of the limelight they deserve.

Say I’m the winner (okay… it’s just figurative…) What shall I expect afterwards?

As the winner you’ll earn a set of jewellery from Damiani, who are sponsoring us. And much more besides! A luxury weekend in Italy, designer dresses, professional modelling photoshoots…

Shots from recent casting sessions

Do you have girls from all fifteen ex-Soviet republics? I just hope some nationalities aren’t missing their chance.

Actually, we don’t have any girls from Georgia yet… But we will seek and invite non-applicants, so we can display a full show of national costumes in our later stage events. We don’t want to leave anyone out of our celebration.

So, throughout this concept, isn’t it a bit of culture from the East that you want to share to us all, Londoners?

Absolutely. Mind you, when we ask our girls why they want to enter the competition, we have been surprised by how often they have this reaction: “because I want to show my country’s beauty”.

How did you manage to start an event like yours?

I was working in events management previously. I saw all these beautiful ladies from ex-USSR here and thought: no one does anything for them, really. So I said to myself, let’s do it! On her side, Julia has worked in the club industry for quite some time.


Do you think it addresses more to Russian speaking people, or the non-Russian speakers can also find themselves at ease with you?

Today, from what I can say, we have a 70% Russian 30% non-Russian speaking guest attendance. Everyone is welcome.

What is the average socio-professional profile of your contestants?

They are students, most of them on a master’s degree. Or businesswoman, too. They’re very clever characters. Some of them didn’t have the chance to take long-term studies. Many of them are professional/semi-pro models as well.

How do you feel about organising a contest judging people on their looks? Are we just animals, or what?!

Our beauty contest is linked to a fashion show. And beauty is beauty, you know… The people simply like it – love it – and it doesn’t matter the times we’re living in. 100 years ago, 50 years from now: beauty and fashion has and will retain an essential part of our lives.


Do you think London has to learn something from the Russian speaking community?

Maybe… to become more friendly? (laughs) Because, you see, Russians here are a huge community. Yet, we get together everywhere. We are creating this beauty competition to show how Slavic girls are pretty, friendly, positive, and talented.

What are your FAULTs?

We can switch from one mood to another with impressive agility!!!

Words by Francois Mauld d’Aymée; images by  Jarek Duk