Daria (Dasha) Kostina and Beauty Theory

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There are a number of blogs/sites/magazines online all asking the same question: why does Russia have the most beautiful girls/women? There seem to be two answers –  if we accept that we’re talking about Caucasian definitions of beauty to start with (and that’s excluding vast numbers of females) – first that they were there, but unnoticed:

“To put it bluntly, in the Soviet Union there was no market for female beauty. No fashion magazines featured beautiful women, since there weren’t any fashion magazines. No TV series depended upon beautiful women for high ratings, since there weren’t any ratings. There weren’t many men rich enough to seek out beautiful women and marry them, and foreign men couldn’t get the right sort of visa…… Unusual beauty, like unusual genius, was considered highly suspicious in the Soviet Union and its satellite people’s republics.

This doesn’t mean there weren’t any beautiful women, of course, just that they didn’t have the clothes or cosmetics to enhance their looks, and, far more important, they couldn’t use their faces to launch international careers. Instead of gracing London drawing rooms, they stayed in Minsk, Omsk, or Alma Ata. Instead of couture, they wore cheap polyester. They could become assembly-line forewomen, Communist Party bosses, even local femmes fatales, but not Vogue cover girls. They didn’t even dream of becoming Vogue cover girls, since very few had ever seen an edition of Vogue.

Instructive, in this light, is the career of a real Vogue cover girl, Natalia Vodianova. Born in Nizhny Novgorod to a single, impoverished mother, Vodianova ran away from home at 15 to run a fruit stall in the local street market (successfully, according to her official biography). At 17, she was spotted by a French scouting agent and told to learn English in three months. She did—after which she moved to Paris, married a British aristocrat, and went on to become “the face” of a Calvin Klein perfume and to earn $4 million-plus annually. The fashion world is ludicrously silly and superficial, but it did get Vodianova from Nizhny Novgorod to London, far away from her mother’s abusive boyfriends, which wouldn’t have happened before 1989.” (Slate.com)

…..and secondly that it’s a survival instinct: not that they necessarily are more beautiful, but that they have to make the very best of what they’ve got:

“To be honest, it is rather recent development. In Soviet cinematography, on a number of occasions the part of “beautiful Russian woman” was given to an actress who was not ethnic Russian. Say in The Irony of Fate a beautiful early middle age woman was portrayed by a Polish actress who didn’t speak proper Russian, so they needed another actress to voice over her speech, and the third woman to sing for her. (And that despite Russia been an epicenter of the art of theatre).

Then Russia went through over a decade of sexism that makes Mad Men look like feminist wet dreams – with many men failing to handle life leaving their women to fare for themselves, with routinely using prostitutes becoming a valid lifestyle choice, with “men’s world” in most interesting jobs. Add culture shock of sudden exposure to “unrealistic Hollywood images”. The message was “look beautiful or perish”. The survival instinct kicked in.”(Quora.com)

None of this, however, explains the vast numbers of cute/pretty/beautiful Russian girl child models: my example (pretty much at random) being Dasha Kostina. Logically they eat sensibly, do dance/gymnastics, have a simple beauty routine: but they can’t hide less-than-perfect bone structure, straggly hair, bow-legs or whatever. As I’ve shown before, FKids even has a this-is-what-you-get “snapshot” gallery for prospective employers – here’s Dasha’s:

The sheer numbers of the Russian models is interesting: I feel that logically “beauty” – tho’ innately subjective – is unlikely to be concentrated in one ethnic type: and in fact that mixed-race children are often extremely attractive (almost all the “kawaii” girl models are South Korean + a European element). Russia does have great ethnic diversity, but not a great mixing of the genetic results of that diversity. I’m sure that it’s social, cultural, and economic in origin. Russian parents have seen that a daughter who does modelling at a young age isn’t frowned on as they tend to be in Anglo-Saxon cultures: take the howls of Mommy /hack fake anguish when Kristina Pimenova was (ludicrously) dubbed “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” by a bored journalist, while VK.com is notably awash with fan accounts adoring every last modelling tot. The work is there to some extent: there’s been a boom in Russian photographers supplying the material for all the new online kids fashion/lifestyle magazines, servicing the new rich Russian middle/upper classes. And finally, there isn’t the competition: prospective employers/clients worldwide have a large number of agencies made up completely/mainly of Russian girl models – the result being that we see large numbers of pretty Russian girls in ads, editorials, fashion shows, online mags etc. – the equivalent American, Irish, New Zealand, French girl isn’t there because  however pretty she is, her parents didn’t want to “put their daughter on the stage”….

We’re presuming Dasha enjoys it…..

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….and Tiffany Beveridge has even managed to undermine Dasha looking tremulously pretty:

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