Edgar Saakyan: Monica, good afternoon, finally, we met, and we can talk online.
How are you?
Monika Grigoryan: Everything is fine, how are you?
Edgar Saakyan: I'm not bad either, let's choose the language in which it will be most convenient for you to have a conversation?
Monika Grigoryan: Of course, I think Armenian will be the most comfortable for both of us.
Edgar Saakyan: Good. Tell me, how did your year start? What did you do, how did you spend your holidays?
Monika Grigoryan: For me, the New Year is one of the most magical holidays, and this one was no exception. I hope this year will be even better than the previous one, although, for me, both 20 and 21 were quite good. The year started off great, I spent all the holidays with my family. Finally, my Mom celebrated the New Year with us, it was a very long-awaited event, because, as you know, she lived in Russia for a very long time, and we could not see each other. And by the way, I'm sorry that we couldn't meet for so long, I was moving, but everything was over, and I'm very glad to hear from you.
Edgar Saakyan: Congratulations on your move! And I want to ask - how did you start your journey? And why exactly 20 and 21 were so important to you?
Monika Grigoryan: it all started a few years ago, I was an ordinary girl from a small town in Armenia, my sister, secretly from me, applied for: "Miss Armenia", so I got into the world of pageants.
Edgar Saakyan: That's interesting! Tell me, how do you think you have changed during this time? And if so, how?
Monika Grigoryan: Of course, I have changed, if I say that it is not so, I will lie. I have become more confident in myself, but, deep down, I'm still the same Monica. The goals that I set for myself, my dreams and plans - all this sparkled with new colors.
Edgar Saakyan: Let's remember Miss Universe 2020, and are you in touch with any of the contestants?
Monika Grigoryan: of course! I communicate with Miss Russia-Arina Sanko and with a participant from Argentina. We even have a general chat where we chat periodically. We also really enjoy replying to each other's stories on Instagram.
Edgar Saakyan: Oh! Argentina is great, how do you keep in touch?
Monika Grigoryan: Social networks work wonders, and on merged Instagram.
Edgar Saakyan: Perhaps I already asked, in that case, please answer again, what caused you the most stress during the competitions?
Monika Grigoryan: You know, not that I was very nervous about this, but I was a little offended by the fact that Armenia was not taken seriously, since it was not an active participant in such events for hours. That is, a lot of people came to the participants from Colombia or the Philippines to support them, and, of course, it helped the girls a lot, while I was practically alone, because the inhabitants of my country do not yet show such a strong interest in “competitions beauty." However, I wouldn't say that I didn't have any support at all - a lot of people wrote me inspirational comments and it was very nice. Probably, this is the only thing that caused me certain negative emotions, otherwise everything was wonderful. We constantly went to photo shoots, where we invited a certain number of participants, and I was always among them, which gave me strength and confidence that everything was fine.
Edgar Saakyan: How do you think the two years of your participation in competitions of this format somehow changed the attitude of the people of Armenia towards them?
Monika Grigoryan: You know perfectly well what is happening in the country now and how, in principle, our fellow citizens relate to “beauty contests”. I think we need more publicity and more participants for such contests, so that the attitudes of the majority change. The scientist girls and I are starting to prepare for the Miss Armenia 2022 contest, and it’s great that the number of people who want to take part in it is increasing.
Edgar Saakyan: And what do the people of Armenia generally say about beauty contests?
Monika Grigoryan: Of course, our people still have stereotypes that models are not the smartest girls, but I think that in the last two years we have changed the minds of some. This can be judged from the comments on Instagram by me, Nana Avetisyan and Mirna Bzdigian.
Edgar Saakyan: Yes, I hope so and believe it. Please tell me, do the Armenian stars cheer you up?
Monika Grigoryan: You know, when I was a participant, the show business of Armenia really helped me a lot to cope with everything that was waiting for me during the preparation and the competition itself. The most interesting thing is that I did not ask anyone for support, but people themselves decided to give it to me, it was very nice and gave me inspiration for further work. Also, I would like to add that the international detection of the Miss Universe and Miss World contests closely monitor how important beauty contests are for people in a particular country, how many people follow the participants, winners and news of the contest.
Edgar Saakyan: Yes, I have heard about this and have already commented on this - if Harnaaz Sandhu, who won in 2021, was from Armenia, she would hardly have won.
Monika Grigoryan: Of course, the Armenian people cannot be blamed for this, since we are just starting to participate in these competitions, so for now our task is to educate people about who we are. Many still believe that Armenia is a village, and even ask me: “Wow! Do you have an agency for a fashion designer?”… This year, Kristina Ayanyan in Thailand at the “Miss Grand International” competition made a very cool show - she lost her heel on the go, but very skillfully got out, thanks to which we and our competition gained great fame.
Edgar Saakyan: I followed all our participants on social networks (and not only their social networks), read a lot of comments, where the majority wrote that this year Armenia is very well represented. Please tell me, do you understand me well?
Monika Grigoryan: Yes, your Armenian is excellent, you speak very well. Initially, you came to Armenia and did not know a word of our language.
Edgar Saakyan: Yes, you remember that day, we visited Nil Sargsyan's Showroom then.
Monika Grigoryan: Yes, it was excellent.
Edgar Saakyan: If you'll excuse me, let's please go back to the pre-show stage. It's been a long way, right?
Monika Grigoryan: Yes, that's right, the year was full and incredibly wonderful, moreover, my escort was a very good person.
Edgar Saakyan: yes, thanks! I will tell him. I know that after the competition you came to Los Angeles again. Please tell me, do you have any other projects related to America now?
Monika Grigoryan: Rather, not with America itself, but with the Armenian diaspora, which is located there, since so many girls from there write to me and ask how to participate in the competition, what is being prepared for and what to do? And, of course, I try to help everyone. I even think about how and how to build time to conduct certain master classes online.
Edgar Saakyan: I remember that when I was interviewing Gohar, you mentioned that many girls do not go to beauty pageants because they are forbidden by their young people or family. Can you please tell me if something has changed?
Monika Grigoryan: Unfortunately, not, because Armenia still has a very conservative mentality filled with stereotypes about modeling. Of course, there are those who have changed their minds, but so far, unfortunately, there are not very many of them. Somehow, they even wrote to me: “Even though you put on a bathing suit, we love you anyway.” And I didn’t understand what it was at all, therefore, girls, if you have a goal, go to it, not paying attention to the opinions of others. Of course, initially I was also shy of everything, but after I overcame myself, I feel much better and freer.
Edgar Saakyan: Tell me please, do you often visit your hometown?
Monika Grigoryan: Honestly, no, because now I live in Yerevan, but I really try to travel around Armenia, because it is quite big and beautiful. You yourself know this.
Edgar Saakyan: Of course, I've been to Armenia twice this year. The first time with you in March, and the second time for my travel project in September.
Monika Grigoryan: well, you see, it turns out that this year was good for you too.
Edgar Saakyan: Well, yes, maybe we can come up with something together?
Monika Grigoryan: why not, come on, next time you come, we will select a number of places for your tourism project where no one has been before.
Edgar Saakyan: great idea! We will connect bloggers so that the picture is the most complete. Of course, it will be easier this way, perhaps we will even avoid the difficulties that I encountered last year.
Monika Grigoryan: Let's talk about your difficulties? Can I ask you questions too?
Edgar Saakyan: Let's try.
Monika Grigoryan: I wanted to ask you this question for a very long time - why did you decide to start helping with the Miss Armenia organization? You live in Russia, why do you need this?
Edgar Saakyan: Before I answer your question, do you remember, after the competition in September, Meline approached me? She asked me to give an interview in Armenian, I tried, but nothing worked, and she said that I could speak Russian. Now let's move on to my answer: I thought, what good can I do for Armenia and I took up this competition with pleasure, because my goal was to help and pass on my experience, that is, to do something powerful for Armenia and the Armenian people. I wanted to initiate as many people as possible into its Culture.
Monika Grigoryan: That's great! You are doing great. I hope that you will continue to help people get to know Armenia and believe in it.
Edgar Saakyan: Thank you very much! Of course, I will try to do even more and cooler. I think it's time for us to finish. Can you please cheer up the girls and win the beauty contests?
Monika Grigoryan: Of course! Beloved girls, beauties, even those who live outside of Armenia, you can participate, applications are already being accepted, join the team, I assure you, you will be in the most reliable hands. We have a huge number of specialists who can teach you everything. Please forget about your complexes, all of them, whatever it is - height, weight or something else. These are your highlights, and they are more like a virtue than a disadvantage. If you have a goal, you will succeed, love yourself for who you are. Once you have a dream, go after it so that you don’t regret it all your life later.
Edgar Saakyan: You said great words, many girls who are 28 and 30 years old who want to participate write to me, but, unfortunately, they no longer fit the age range.
Monika Grigoryan: Yes, they ask me the same thing, so I plan to make a video where I will explain to the organization and inform about the requirements.
Edgar Saakyan: Thank you so much for the interview, it was a pleasure to talk to you!
M: yes, me too, hope to see you soon! Bye!