Eighty of the world’s most beautiful women have gathered in Las Vegas to compete for the coveted title of Miss Universe 2015. As part of their two-week pageant adventure, the ladies will each participate in the (always hilarious) national costume contest, in which they must embody their nation through fancy dress. In the past Miss USA has come out as a cowgirl, Miss Japan as a samurai, and Miss Bahamas as a Bird of Paradise. So we weren’t that surprised when we learned that Miss Austria Amina Dagi has decided to appear as Eurovision 2014 winner Conchita Wurst — one of the strongest, and most unlikely, symbols of modern Austria.
Amina — who stands 5’9″ — is giving us face and body for days in this image. Beyond the beard, she channels Conchita with an E.U. flag (Conchita is all about keeping Europe together), a red ribbon (Conchita is a regular at the Life Ball, which raises funds for HIV/AIDS research) and a rainbow flag (you can figure this part out for yourself).
Miss Austria Amina Dagi
Designer: Aviad Arik Herman
The costume fits nicely with Amina’s broader platform and background. She grew up in in North Caucasus in Russia. Her family fled the country for political reasons and started a new life in Austria. As you can read on her official Miss Universe contestant page, she is “an ambassador for integration” and “wants to convey the message of tolerance.” Well, baby, we accept you and all that you stand for!
Amina’s costume is further evidence that Conchita Wurst is now part of the national fabric of Austria, and perhaps its greatest export since Mozart…or at least Arnold Schwarzenegger.
As I’ve written elsewhere, her face dots billboards throughout the country and she’s an official brand ambassador of the Bank of Austria. She voiced an owl for the German-language version of the animated film “Penguins of Madagascar,” and was the guest of honor at Vienna’s Life Ball (attended by Bill Clinton and Ricky Martin, among others). She is perhaps the only person in the world who has walked the runway for Jean-Paul Gaultier, sung for Ban-Ki Moon at the United Nations, and delivered a speech before the European Parliament. What’s more, Conchita embodies the image of what the left of Austrian politics would like the world to see of Austria, and has helped it move past the ugly stereotypes forged by some of its right-wing politicians in the past. If that doesn’t smack of beauty, then we don’t know what does.