A Travelling Star
From Yateley, Hampshire to the former Yugoslavia Gypsy and Traveller talent contests are becoming all the rage this Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month
From Rita Hayworth to Kelly Brook and Shayne Ward, Gypsy and Traveller performers have always been known for their talent and good looks. Yet when the fame is secured they become silent about exactly who they are. But an increasing number of talent contests across Europe are drawing attention to not only what Gypsy and Traveller people can do, but where they come from.
Now in its 18th year the international Miss Roma talent contest draws young woman - and criticism - from across the Romany world. On July 4th, it will once again be organised by the Romany satellite station TV BTR in Skopje in the capital of Macedonia near Greece.
"We are all aware of the beauty of Romany women, of their grace and charm. We are encouraging you not to be shy, but show your beauty to the world," says Romany media magnate Zoran Dimov. "You have the chance to do that through the Miss Roma International 2009 Beauty pageant."
Dimov says the pageant is an excellent opportunity for Romany girls from all over the world to show their beauty. That is one of the main goals of this event, but it also "an excellent opportunity for presentation of Romany customs, traditions and the way of life in the country where they come from."
But the event has attracted stinging criticism from across the Romany world, not least because it defines what size entrants should be. While young women must be over 16, the rules state that entrants "should not be lower than 165cm in height" and must not weigh over 55 kg. The contest offends Romany traditionalists because of some of its scantily clad dresses and Romany woman’s rights activists who feel it exploits Romany girls. The contest however attracts large amount of entrants each year and has never had a British entrant. For rules and an entry form contact:
Mr. Zoran Dimov
MISS ROMA INTERNATIONAL 2009 Beauty pageant
Lazar Licenovski street 31b, 1000 Skopje, Macedonia
Telephone/ fax number: +389 2 3216 000
One of the aims of GRTHM is to counter-balance the widespread ignorance of Traveller communities that often leads to hatred and conflict. Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month celebrates our culture and history by tackling the negative stereotyping and prejudices that have led to this situation.