While other models might be worried about cutting down on calories and shedding those five pounds, Anna Zaiachkivska, better known as "Miss Ukraine 2013," is concerned about the future of her country. Amidst the massive public outcry over President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to reject closer Ukrainian integration with the European Union, Zaiachkivska is out in the streets of Kiev with hundreds of thousands of protesters, reports Ukrainian news site Gazeta.ua.
According to the story, after two days in Kiev, Zaiachkivska decided to join a group of volunteers that serve hot coffee and tea to the protesters. "I decided [to] do something useful, more than just stand," she told Gazeta.
Here she is in a volunteer tent, wearing plastic gloves and a hoodie:
Zaiachkivska's zealous spirit stands in stark contrast to the kind of shallow, self-involved personalities that dominate our beauty pageants here in America. We all remember the cringe-inducing YouTube hit from 2007 featuring the Miss Teen USA contestant from South Carolina whose answer to a question about U.S. education revealed her own embarrassing lack of knowledge about the world.
Now, the woman asking the question in the video claims that one in five Americans can't point to the U.S. on a map (the real percentage might be even higher, jokes the Huffington Post in a satire piece).
Even though that assertion is backed up by no data whatsoever, I'd be scared to see what would happen if you asked Americans to pick out Ukraine on a map. I won't speculate, but when Syria was in the news in August, a survey found that half of all Americans couldn't identify that nation either. I guess Miss Teen USA South Carolina was right: maybe our classrooms could use some more maps.
The real takeaway lesson, besides the fact that most of us are quite geographically challenged (or have terrible motor skills), is that most Americans would do well to stop staring at videos of Miley Cyrus twerking and start caring about the world beyond popular entertainment culture. When's the last time you saw Miss America out there roughing it in a tent with the Occupy Wall Street protesters?
So get out there, America, and make your voice heard. Denounce the regime. Scream in the masked face of a riot policeman. Topple a Lenin statue or two while you're at it.
To finish, here's a gem of a quote from Miss Ukraine 2013, which could have just easily come from the mouth of the Dalai Lama: "I'm not interested in the glamorous world of splendor and luxury, where they drive expensive cars. Sincerity is not there, it's simulated."
Now that's deep.