Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tiaras and Pinstripes Collide

MTSmoke and spotlights filtering through the Novinsky Passazh mall, site of the Miss Financial World pageant.
Yelena Tyurina's brain got her hired at Olma financial firm, where she helps run the client services division.

But on Saturday night, it was the 26-year-old Muscovite's gray-blue eyes, pretty face and impressive measurements -- 95-69-99 -- that won her the title Miss Financial World 2006.

"How do you say 'sexual harassment' in Russian?" said television host Vladimir Solovyov, the master of ceremonies at the pageant at the Novinsky Passazh mall.

Tyurina was among 10 women with jobs at investment funds, banks and the RTS stock exchange showing off their bodies at the four-hour event, which benefited Liniya Zhizni, a charity for sick children.

"I don't know what to say," Tyurina declared after winning the prize, her eyes filling with tears. "Thank you."

Tyurina, clad in the traditional tiara and sash and a cream evening gown, was presented with a bottle of Kaufman vodka, a bag of L'Occitane cosmetics and a gift certificate for an undisclosed location.

Oddly, the contestants -- seven from Moscow and one each from Samara, Nizhny Novgorod and Novosibirsk -- had to compete for attention.

The 10 jurists -- including designer Helen Yarmak, actress Amaliya&Amaliya and Nikolai Uskov, the editor of GQ Russia -- grabbed much of the limelight. Scantily clad dancers titillated the audience between each round of the pageant, which was modeled after a boxing match.

And then there was the brand new Audi sedan parked in a stairway landing on the way in to the pageant. The car was flanked, naturally, by two very young women wearing very little. Guests were given handbags full of Audi paraphernalia.

Indeed, the girls who competed in the pageant also served as props, displaying the tchotchkes that organizers auctioned off -- a wooden and metal abacus, jewelry with the Alfa Capital logo, and a decorative inkwell, among other items.

Most of the auctioned goods went for about $200 apiece, given that the audience was peppered with low-paid bureaucrats from the Federal Treasury and the Moscow City Pension Fund. Curiously, few of the Moscow finance world's heavy hitters turned up (which may have been why Solovyov spent much of the evening poking fun at oligarchs).

Russia has a less-than-stellar record when it comes to beauty pageants.

In 2002, Oksana Fyodorova, a police academy cadet from St. Petersburg, was named Miss Universe. But halfway through her tenure as queen of the world, Fyodorova lost her title for dereliction of duty -- she refused to attend some required events -- and for gaining weight, according to published reports. She was replaced by Justince Pasek of Panama, the runner-up in the contest sponsored by real-estate mogul Donald Trump.