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Regular version of the site

The Audience Must Be Ready to Fall in Love

Performance at Miss HSE 2014

10th June is the date for the annual Miss HSE beauty contest. Every year the same team of graduates gathers to organise it.  They are convinced that working on this project helped their professional development. One of the organising committee members, HSE alumnus Yuri Korchagin talked to HSE News about how to run a large-scale event without any money, why Miss HSE is better than Miss Russia and how to observe the rules of the genre in an academic environment.

The team

We, the team, have been running the Miss HSE contest for seven years and we are all HSE students and alumni. We started a relationship with the organisers of the TV game show KVN(Funny and Inventive Club) for bright young people, then we tried our skills as organisers on Freshers Day, Golden Vyshka and Faculties Day and now we’re friends and sometimes - like now - we work together. We have a director, a manager, a PR person and an internet marketing person on the team and this has been a life-changing experience for all of us. We have all found work exactly in these areas, for example, I graduated in law but I took the Master’s in Media Production in Creative Industries. We meet once a year as professionals to create what we think is a terrific event at HSE.     

The Idea

The idea belongs to Gulnas Khusalinova and Polina Polyanskaya who were students at the Faculty of Business and Management. The first contest was at the Cultural centre. We put together a classy and original show without any money and they next year we were given funding. Unfortunately the Cultural centre was closed down but that meant we had to reinvent the contest in a different format and we hired a big hall and made the event as a TV show. We learnt a lot, especially on the technical side.

Member of the Organising Committee of Miss HSE, HSE alumnus Yuri Korchagin (left)

The Genre

Miss HSE is not about girls in swimming costumes because a university beauty contest is about showing how unusual and remarkable the girls are as students. Just look at our logo - the main image is a head. But as the genre requires certain things we invented a video format where the competitors show off their skills in the gym, swimmingpool and dance hall. So there are some swimming costumes, and that’s not a bad thing, but it’s important to have the right balance.  

We focus on the individuality of the girls. They make a video about themselves, experimenting as directors and they make a public speech, perform a song, dance or piece of theatre and we have just two short line ups on the catwalk.

You’ll see the girls do things you never knew they could do. They can be very surprising. One contestant drew a fantastic picture on the stage in three minutes, like a real artist, another karate-chopped wood with her bare hands. When we select contestants, they have to look good, but we chose the girls who will make the most interesting show, they are artistic performers really. It’s easy to fall in love at the contest and the audience must be ready to fall in love, otherwise what is the point of all this amazing beauty?  

Life saver

Organising this kind of event when it isn’t officially budgeted into the HSE spending plans is not easy but it is great fun. Every year we apply for funding but this year the university had to cut spending on student events. There was nothing coming our way so we decided, we have plenty of know how, good experience, we want the contest to go ahead, we have a group of friends, acquaintances, connections with partners and sponsors, so let’s do it without any money.

We have good platforms on social media - several thousand friends on VKontakte, 2,000 subscribers on instagram which is a lot for this kind of project and it’s good for the sponsors to appear on our posters around HSE buildings. We’ve managed to find money for almost everything, the main thing is don’t be afraid. But there are things that are essential for the show - a hall, lighting, music, video etc. Technically it’s not possible to make a really good show without any money at all so after much thought we decided to hire a beautiful hall and charge an entry fee. It’s more a deposit really because your money will go straight to the Moscow Youth Centre Planet KVN theatre.  


All the official beauty contests are pretty dull. I watch them to think about how to do it differently. It’s great that in a university format we can do something exciting - Miss Russia can’t allow every contestant to make a film about themselves and perform a routine, but on Miss HSE we can.

12 students compete for most beautiful student at HSE but only one can win. Besides the diadem and the title, the winner gets valuable prizes from sponsors. In 2014 Miss HSE won a two week trip New Zealand.


Please come to Miss HSE 2015 on 10th June (7pm, MYC Planeta KVN, 2 Sheremetyevskaya Ulitsa, Moscow, 8 (495) 966-34-36). To get in, please pay the organisers deposit (you’ll need help from a Russian speaker) . You’ll receive a letter of confirmation from the organisers and then a phone call telling you where you can collect your invitation.

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