Brighton Beach’s most venerable damsels vied for top honors at the Your Highness Grandmother beauty pageant and talent show at the National Restaurant on Sunday, where both Anna Malkina and Bella Deleu were named co-queens for their beauty and grace.
“Age is just a number,” says Raisa Chernina, who founded the pageant. “Our grandmothers love life and they show us how to keep active and vibrant, regardless of age.”
Your Highness Grandmother is held annually in Brighton Beachsince its inception in 2002.
This year’s contest was flush with colorful 19th century Russian garb, and winner Anna Malkina adorned a whole troop of dancers with vibrant costumes as she sang the traditional ode, “Moskva Zlatoglavaya,” which translates — roughly — to “Golden Domes of Moscow.”
“Some of it I bought, and some of it I made myself,” said Malkina, speaking of the traditional garb. “It was something my grandmother wore in the 1890s.”
Among Malkina’s lovely backups was Fira Stukelman, who celebrated her 80th birthday earlier this month, but certainly seemed spry on the dance floor.
“I am a dancer,” said Stukelman. “Last week, I was 80 years old, and I celebrated my jubilee. I danced on my birthday, and I danced many different dances. I dance all my life. I love it.”
And as much as Stukelman loves to dance, Malkina loves to sing. Aside from beauty pageants, she loves regaling both Russian and American audiences with her angelic voice.
“That’s why I study English,” said Malkina. “Sometimes I translate from English to Russian, and sometimes from Russian to English. I love to sing.”
For all their hard work, sparkling crowns were placed upon the winners’ heads, and both were bestowed with trophies, bouquets, and other gifts.Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cn
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