Miss 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
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”.
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.
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.
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.