Siberian pageant shows beauty comes in all sizes

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KRASNOYARSK, RUSSIA: 

In Russia’s snowy Krasnoyarsk, women preparing for a plus-sized beauty contest parade around a hall dressed in ball gowns and swimsuits – but also take classes in kickboxing and dancing.

Models of the SibPlus Models agency and participants of the Miss Doughnut beauty competition prepare before a rehearsal in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, Russia March 4, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

Models of the SibPlus Models agency and participants of the Miss Doughnut beauty competition prepare before a rehearsal in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, Russia.

The competition, now in its second year, is organised by a local modelling agency, SibPlus. Inna Sertrakova, who works at the agency, said the pageant in May aims to challenge Russian attitudes that equate beauty with an ultra-slim figure.

Models of the SibPlus Models agency and participants of the Miss Doughnut beauty competition prepare before a rehearsal in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, Russia March 4, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

Models of the SibPlus Models agency and participants of the Miss Doughnut beauty competition prepare before a rehearsal in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia.

“We want to show off our femininity even though it doesn’t conform to current fashion standards because we want to be seen as beautiful,” said Olga Olesnitskaya, 25, who won the competition in 2016.

Aleksandra Ryzhenkova, a musician of the State Opera and Ballet Theatre's orchestra, who is also a model of the SibPlus Models agency and a participant of the Miss Doughnut 2016 beauty competition, plays a violoncello during a rehearsal at the theatre in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, Russia March 3, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

Aleksandra Ryzhenkova, a musician of the State Opera and Ballet Theatre’s orchestra, who is also a model of the SibPlus Models agency and a participant of the Miss Doughnut 2016 beauty competition, plays a violoncello during a rehearsal at the theatre in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, Russia.

Another of last year’s contestants, Aleksandra Ryzhenkova, a violinist for the Krasnoyarsk State Opera Theatre and Ballet, said taking part had helped boost her self-image.

“After my children were born I put on a lot of weight and started trying to hide my figure, she said. “But now, after the competition, all of my insecurities melted away.”