Gohar Harutyunyan: Hello Edgar!
Edgar Saakyan: Hello! I am glad to start the New Year by talking about beauty contests with you. I want to note right away that the interview will be in Russian, but in English it will be possible to read the full interview on the website edgarsaakyan.com. Tell me, how are your New Years going?
Gohar Harutyunyan: My children were sick during the holidays, now everything is fine, it happens with children. But I'm used to it!
Edgar Saakyan: Well, that's quite sad. But let's talk about beauty contests. 2021 was a very unusual year for us, and although you and I are in touch with you almost every day, we will raise some issues publicly. Agree?
Gohar Harutyunyan: Come on!
Edgar Saakyan: From April to December, a huge work was done for such a small country like Armenia: Monika Grigoryan went to Miami in May for the Miss Universe contest, August and September was dedicated to organizing the Miss Armenia contest, Christina Ayanyan went to Thailand in December to participate in at the Miss Grand International competition, Mirna Bzdigyan went to Miss World in Puerto Rico and Nana Avetisyan took part in the Miss Universe in Israel competition. What was the hardest part for you?
Gohar Harutyunyan: For me, the most difficult thing was the beginning of the whole process, when it seems that there are no opportunities, that this year there will be a failure, because you do not know where to start, how to end. However, everything always works out, at the last second. Everything goes on in suspense, everyone prepares for 24 hours, resolves issues, there is little time left for preparation. Although, in general, I am very pleased with the work done, our participants, and all the finalists of the competition, I thank for their participation, friendship, support. The girls who took on the responsibility of representing the country took on this burden by doing this job ... I believe that they all proved themselves worthy!
Edgar Saakyan: In your opinion, why do many beautiful girls still not submit applications? Although we know that there are a lot of them.
Gohar Harutyunyan: Firstly, this is the Armenian mentality, I think, although many are preparing. Many, as you know, are not allowed by their parents, because there were cases when the participants were bullied. But now there is no such thing. We keep everything under control and try to attract the press to present our members with dignity. Therefore, in recent years, the population has become better at the very idea of the competition. Secondly, this is the girls' excessive complexes: they are fixated on Instagram, on this ideal image of the world. In addition, they do not know about the parameters that are necessary to participate in the competition, mistakenly believing that they should correspond to the parameters 90-60-90, although this has long been a thing of the past. These contests are now about something completely different, they are more about inner beauty. Although every girl comes, for whom we arrange this holiday.
Edgar Saakyan: This year there was a very good line-up, everyone is still communicating and making friends. Do you think this atmosphere of friendliness is visible from the outside?
Gohar Harutyunyan: I cannot be responsible for people. But I can say that the first and second years I had the feeling that I was making enemies, that I was surrounded by people who were unhappy with me. Over time, this feeling began to disappear. Now both the parents and the participants, and even the participants of the past years who left offended, even they treat differently. When I meet with someone, they often meet in a friendly atmosphere, so I am glad. I love them all very much. And I am sure that they are also charged with positive. It turns out that we are not doing all this in vain.
Edgar Saakyan: Happy to have understood, changed their views on some things.
Gohar Harutyunyan: Yes, they started working on themselves in order to come back.
Edgar Saakyan: In 2007 you started participating in beauty contests as an organizer. What difficulties have you faced?
Gohar Harutyunyan: The first year was terrible. It was all very difficult. I thought that the experience of the participant would allow me to understand how to organize the competition, but everything was new. It was difficult when people tried to stop me. They wanted to use the fact that I do not have much experience in organizing competitions, there were courts. A lot of scary stories happened to me ... everything was further complicated by the lack of money, pregnancy ... But I was happy that I was useful in this matter. There was a lot of motivation, but unpleasant moments, of course, left their mark. However, I am proud of myself that I did not give up and was able to bring everything to the end. I tell this story to young girls to show by example that you can't give up. Where were we then? Where are we now? This is a big difference.
Edgar Saakyan: What stereotypes are you fighting against in Armenia now?
Gohar Harutyunyan: Although we have been working on the competition for over 5 years, we represent our country, talk about its cultural aspects, but I still don’t see the support that, for example, participants from Indonesia or the Philippines receive. I would like the people of our country to also support our representatives.
Edgar Saakyan: Why, in your opinion, the residents of our country do not support the contestants?
Gohar Harutyunyan: Probably, the stories that happened in 2011, 2012, 2017 are to blame ... The rating of the competition itself is rising, but very slowly, many do not understand why these competitions are needed. It is difficult for people to understand what an excellent platform this is for advertising and developing tourism, for raising the role of women in Armenian society. If you suffer for a long time, then everything will definitely work out. We are trying to get into the top of Armenia, although it is very difficult. But if we suddenly get in, then this perception of the competition will change.
Edgar Saakyan: Previously, the competition was not so popular in Armenia at all?
Gohar Harutyunyan: Armenia has never been represented at Miss World, Miss Universe, but was represented at Miss International, Yana Grigoryan is presenting, many thanks to her for supporting the contests. National competitions were held with long breaks, and there was no further development. And then it doesn't make sense.
Edgar Saakyan: But such a story takes place not only in Armenia, but in all countries of the former Soviet Union. The question is different: when you talk to media representatives, they immediately have questions as to why none of our participants won. Why is it important to them?
Gohar Harutyunyan: Nobody has any idea how difficult it is to get into Miss Universe at all. For example, this year we saw for the first time that the Bahamas hit the top for the first time in 50 years. Even this girl herself did not expect. Imagine how difficult it is to win if getting to the top is quite difficult. We have to think over every little thing, get ready, but the country is poor, people don't really support, that's why it's very difficult. It is very noteworthy that we praise, for example, the participants from Venezuela, and we scold ours. All of this is very influencing.
Edgar Saakyan: In your opinion, in what role do you see the participation of the government or public organizations and foundations in the development of the beauty industry?
Gohar Harutyunyan: Of course, at world competitions they pay attention to how the country and the government support. You can get to the top if he has a lot of subscribers, because everyone wants to cooperate with her. Therefore, if people want to support our participants, then everything will be possible.
Edgar Saakyan: We discussed this issue of public interest already in the previous interview, where we found out that our participants are supported by a small percentage of the population. Everyone thinks that beauty contests are an escort of the site or that they are bought. Why do people think so?
Gohar Harutyunyan: People always thought that everything was bought. When I participated, rumors reached us that I had plastic surgery, that I had a rich father, although he had already died by that time, they said that I had a lover ... Some stupidity. This is a competition, someone has to win anyway. Now, when we select girls, we explain to them the requirements of the competition so that they understand what kind of game it is. And they all leave in peace, because they understand why this or that participant won. After all, beauty is not a barbell: lifted and won. It's very hard. For example, this year it was very difficult to select the best participant. And then we read that everything was bought, and joked what we could buy with this money. And then we think about how to work further after such rumors. But it's good that we have good sponsors who help us. But such problems are not only in our country. Though it's all over the world. Miss World is watched by 2 billion people, officially. This is a great platform to advertise your country. When, for example, Christina's heel broke, how she got out of this situation, how the whole world supported us afterwards ... We already have our fans.
Edgar Saakyan: As for Christina, she was very well prepared, so she was able to orientate herself and somehow get out of the situation, not everyone would be able to do that. And after this incident, we have increased the number of subscribers, the popularity has increased. But after all, not only we need to prepare the participants.
Gohar Harutyunyan: Yes. A very good point. Many girls think that they will get up, walk and that's it. And they already have the crown. No, you have to work on yourself, train, learn English. I myself can help with the participants. Here, as in any sport, you need to prepare. And you need to start not from the age of 18, you need to work on yourself from childhood.
Edgar Saakyan: I would like to point out that showcasing talent is not a top priority competition. Many people think that the most talented win, but this is far from the case. Oratory, English ...
Gohar Harutyunyan: Yes, every competition is very important. One of our members played our traditional musical instrument, which aroused great public interest. It's good when you have talent and volunteer work, a hobby and natural beauty.
Edgar Saakyan: Now I will name the girls, name their strengths, which can be an example for others doing to take part in beauty contests. Christina, Nane, Myrna, Monica.
Gohar Harutyunyan: Kristina was very prepared for the interview. The press knew that Christina would answer any question best of all. In addition, she already had experience in participating in other competitions. Nana matched Miss Universe. She is very confident in herself, and there it is very important. Myrna also matched Miss World, because she is kind, did a lot of charitable work ... Monica is very hard-working, everyone loved her face and supported her. She learned very quickly, she had experience.
Edgar Saakyan: 2022 ... what are the plans?
Gohar Harutyunyan: I have big plans. National TV, live broadcast ... I want a lot of trained beauties. I am very afraid not for the sponsors, but for the poor preparation of the participants ... If you want to participate in the competition, you need to start preparing now. Register, come to the casting next month. Hope everything will be great this year!