Think Russian women – think beauty, high heels and… now stop here because you wont find another one of those “Russian women are beautiful stories” here. If some cliches are anything to go by, Russia is populated with stunning brides and blonde tennis players. But what exactly is the famous Russian beauty?
Russian women stunned travelers as early as the XVIth or XVIIth centuries – not by their beauty, but by their love for layers of colorful makeup. And the svelte top models of today are a far cry from traditional good looks Russian-style.
Russian folk singer Nadezhda Babkina believes the time-honored beauty standards are part of the country’s spirit.
“If you look at paintings of a traditional Russian beauty – driven by a troika, in a shawl and fur-lined jacket, with skirt flying – she’s far from supermodel slim! It’s our spirit, and it provokes such emotions,” Babkina said.
Russian women mostly go for nose jobs and breast enlargement.
“Breast reduction, hardly anyone here does it, but going bigger, yes!” said Kirill Shcherbakov, a plastic surgeon at the Spik Beauty Clinic in Moscow. “They often bring photos of Sharon Stone and Angelina Jolie, asking for their lips, nose, other facial features – these are the most popular celebrities that Russian women want to look like.”
But despite all the efforts, some Russian men don’t find their fellow countrywomen to be the top head-turners. Here’s the beauty hit list from beer tycoon-turned-banker Oleg Tinkov.
“The world’s most beautiful women are Brazilian! Russian women come second,” he declared.
Tinkov says he always knows a Russian woman when he sees one. He was so confident he was willing to bet on his ability. And in our little test with RT presenters and reporters, he did pretty well, too. So what is it that makes Russian women stand out?
“The eyes! Russian women have eyes different from anyone else’s. The British, the American women – they look through you, they give you an empty stare. A Russian woman has interested eyes. They make a man feel wanted,” Tinkov said.
The Russian Reporter magazine decided to go on an ultimate beauty quest to find Russia’s most stunning woman – as seen by the Russians themselves. Internet voters picked rhythmic gymnastics champion and politician Alina Kabaeva.
“Afterward we tried to analyze what kind of beauty people go for – the eye color, the hair color or some facial proportions. But one of the vote leaders was the singer Zemfira, who’s hardly a conventional beauty. So people voted for personality, for these womens achievements more than for looks,” explained Olga Tsybulskaya, a correspondent for the magazine.
Russia’s modern pretty woman may be quite different from the ideals of the past… and doesnt necessarily fit the cliches of the present. She does have a global reputation as the embodiment of beauty, but beauty – even Russian – is in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it?