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Miss PirandaMiss Gypsy Madness

Chuck Todaro -January 29 - 2007
Dazed and Confused Magazine (UK)

   Bucharest -  The verdict is in: this year’s title Miss Piranda goes to nineteen year old Elena Niculescu - but good looks aren’t enough to win this beauty pageant; the contestants must also be the best belly dancers

    This year’s 17th annual Miss Piranda gala took place Sunday before a packed crowd at the Polivalenta auditorium in Bucharest. After four hours of boisterous Gypsy music the 21 young contestants, aged between 14 – 22, finally made their appearance: barefoot and scandalously dressed in exotic belly dancing outfits. Their costumes came in all shapes, lengths and colors: most prominently red.  They have a saying amongst the Gypsies: “if a Gypsy isn’t showing some red than she isn’t a real Gypsy”.

Gypsy dance Miss Piranda   The band started up – and the line of young women begin violently shaking themselves in a frenzied orgy of oriental dance. Decorative beads and imitation gold coins flying off their dresses pelted front row spectators. Such unrestrained shaking anywhere else would raise eyebrows, but here it was all quit normal and brought exalted cheers and some mimicking dancing from the crowd. Even the announced losers being called out from the group were sure to give the crowd one last body shake before disappearing in the wings

    Scandals have had a way of overshadowing some recent beauty pageants with contestant drinking problems, inappropriate behavior or pregnancies. Miss Gypsy 2007 went scandal free. The closest this six-hour extravaganza came to a situation happened after the music stopped due to technical difficulties. The crowd showed its displeasure with a roar equal to a stadium of Italian soccer fans. The music quickly resumed.

Miss Piranda Gypsy Beauty contest
    Noticeably out of place seemed the high number of fair skinned, even blond hared, blue eyed contestant yearning to be this year’s Miss Gypsy. Only seven of the twenty-one were of true Roma origins. Spokesman, George Radu, credits the number of non-Gypsy contestants to the event’s heavy promotion, others read it as reinforcement to the claim that Roma don’t discriminate. Backstage, organizers weren’t shying away from raising the issue of discrimination faced by everyday Roma. Even college graduate Claudia Chivu, the oldest contestant at 27 preferred talking about ways of improving Europe’s negative images of Gypsies rather than frivolous questions about her costume.

Gypsy dance
   By midnight the line of dancers had dwindled down to Elena Niculescu and Raira Arcan, both raised in Gypsy ghettos of Bucharest. The final dance was too outrageous for the panel of judges to form an agreement leaving it up to the crowd’s volume of hoots and hollers to make the final decision. To her own animated surprise, Elena Niculescu received the tiara and sash “Miss Gypsy 2007”

        And what will she do with the 3000 Euro prize? - “I’m going shopping,” the young winner announced.

dressing room miss piranda