Big article in the prestigious Polish magazine Polityka on Miss Egzotica
Refugees are knocking to the gates of the Europe, and the Warsaw Blue City Shopping Centre is crowded with purely white clients – the sale-out season is opened!
On the other hand, candidates for the title of Miss Exotica are walking on the main passage. Their beauty is to encourage Polish shoppers to be more welcoming for other cultures.
MARCIN KOŁODZIEJCZYK, PHOTOGRAPHS BY MACIEK JAŹWIECKI/inPRO
The clientele is watching this from escalators and galleries of the Byzantine shopping centre. 12 candidates for Miss Exotica title, different women with non-Polish skin tones and eyes colours, present themselves dressed up by the sponsors and talk about dreams, faith, geopolitics and culinary art. The higher you got, towards VIP catering areas and entertainment centre, the smaller they are, and it is harder to understand what they say. They walk on the catwalk and pose on high heels.
Questions from jurors: World peace – a utopia or real perspective? How to remedy the Islamic fundamentalism? Next to the stage there is an attraction for viewers: supervised by a guard, you can put your hand in a whole and hold a gold bar – all at expense of a patron of the beauty contest. Only the men are longing to touch the gold while their friends watch shopping bags. What is your favourite Polish meal? What do you think about Polish and Ukrainian relations?
The Miss Egzotica Beauty Contest would never take place without Serafina Ogończyk-Mąkowska – a lawyer and judge of Arbitrary Court at the National Chamber of Commerce, member of Business Centre Club, English and Russian philologist, chairwoman of diplomacy of the European Forum of Business Owners, winner of numerous contests, medals and titles, such as Ambassador of Polish Economy, Entrepreneurial Woman or Business Success of the Year, chief editor of “Business&Beauty” magazine, philanthropist and former candidate to Senate of the Republic of Poland, and all of that in one person. A few years ago, after some event she drove hostesses to railway station. Those hostesses were twin Mulattin girls. She expected a usual small-talk, but the girls told her that their father from Poznań wants to visit family in Congo, but their Mom is not willing to let him go, because she’s afraid that he is going to be killed there. Like their aunt, who was recently killed in Congo.
When you hear such stories, you immediately want to do something for others; and Mrs. Serafina created Miss Exotics. The idea was to civilise Polish racism with a friendly form arousing reflections in viewers. Let’s begin the mental transformation by means of female beauty. How can be aggressive, hostile or dislike or a beautiful person of another skin colour when you are Polish?
Over six years of beauty contest there were various trends of race origins: there were editions when Asian ladies formed the majority, and this evening we have relatively proportionate representation of Asian, African, Arabic, non-Polish and non-Slavic as well as inter-racial and supranational beauties. Their shy beauty, gathered behind a curtain in corridor of trade centre – where the ladies change, try on shoes, do their makeup and hair – is secured by a guard with a face of a frequenter. He says he had seen more than this; but when the curtain is down, he peeps at exotic beauty.
The shop clients watch, some of men without women by their sites whistle, Polish style, just to express their respect for foreign cultures and ceremonies. The women, clients, also watch the show – so much beauty in one place, including shops with discounts, do not come together very often.
They are dark and completely black – Polish remarks about exotic ladies are made in between boutiques of the shopping centre in heat time.
At the same time in dressing room, an ordinary womanly – Russian Orthodox, Catholic, Buddhist and Islamic – elusiveness, selflessness and kind sarcasm are in their reigns. Can you do my hair? Well, first I will do mine. Nice heels honey. My nail just chipped off. These heels are not great, but these will do. Where is a curler? Cute shade. You are the best. No, you are the best. All of it in Polish, sometimes with an accent.
Questions that will be asked by jurors live on catwalk are relatively well-known. Karolina – Tunisian blood after grandmother, geographer working in marketing and advertising – will answer that in her opinion, refugees at the borders of Europe should be registered to make clear who enters the territory. And there is a question about understanding of Polish jokes – Karolina understands them, because she has been living in Warsaw since she was born, and people stopped calling her “an asphalt” only when she became a real beauty.
First, the exotic ladies will present themselves on stage of the shopping centre in tricots with name of the sponsor of beauty contest on their breasts – a company “setting trends in marketing of metals and precious stones”. Spots of the sponsor, broadcasted from stage, picture Polish citizens who soon will be kneeling in front of the Social Security Institution under bankruptcy begging for charity, because they were so careless that they did not collect gold. There is a tournament: you have to brilliantly finish a sentence “I love gold because…”. You can win tickets to VIP zone, to post-coronation party of Miss Exotica on the Mount Parnassus floors of the Blue City.
And the ladies cruise around catwalk, make turns, smile with mouths full of beautiful teeth, with their arms akimbo, move their hair and say that Poland is a unique country. The clients continuously take escalator to the higher and lower commercial floors, taking pictures of the ladies with their mobile phones. Or sit in coffee shops and watch this beauty, with shopping bags near their legs. Sometimes, someone recognises Hardkorowy Koksu among the jurors of Miss Exotica 2016 – a super-hero of the gym, television and Internet persona, and chairman of the jury – and shouts: Hey, you, Hardkorowy Koksu, no shame, no blame”.
The ladies, after presentation in golden dresses, will start to answer questions from jurors: religion should not divide people, because there is one God. I was in Sudan only once, because of the war, but people are the most precious asset of my country. You do not eat fish in Tibet. I think that Koran is interpreted mistakenly. You can be beautiful and intelligent at the same time, and share your beauty with others. I love Poles for their sense of humour.
Aside Koksu, the sponsors, well-known entertainers and less known singers, people having a natural sense of the Internet self-promotion and expensively dressed men – there are also Laura Łącz, an actress and Anna Kalata, the former minister of labour and social policy for Samoobrona Party, a business woman, for years in love with India, present during the contest as cultural liaison.
Genden is a highlander girl from Tibet, such definitely natural that we could not be sure that she would learn how to walk on high heels. But she did, she looks as fresh as mountain wind – Serafina smiles. The connoisseur of exotic beauty spotted Genden in Chinese restaurant Beijing Duck where she works, and referred her to beauty contest. Genden came to Poland with her sister five years ago, they found foster families here, but their real parents live in Tibet. Sometimes, they talk to them over a telephone, but they do not visit them. They finished a high school class of multicultural profile in Warsaw. The foster mother of Genden, the painter, remembers the first night of her daughter in Warsaw: a girl having non-European scent, rather of herbs and wind of Himalayans, not speaking in any popular language, staying in bed and signing “Om Mani Padme Hum” for hours.
When she was young, Kintege’s mother lived in Łódź for a few years. When she returned to Congo, she talked about Poland as the best country in the world. When she was asked about her dreams, she replied: To have my children living in a wonderful country of Poland. Today, Kitenge, a student of law and administration, and her three siblings live in Łódź. Another brother is about to come. Kitenge is a singer in Hakuna Matata band. She also performs Polish carols in a disco-polo style. She won a title of Miss Exotica 2015 in the Blue City shopping centre. Her brother answers phones in French and English in call centre in Łódź. Recently, Kitenge’s brother was beaten in a club because of his skin colour, so he asked a bouncer for help. He was told that monkeys are not protected in that club.
The contest organisers cite the whole Africa as a place of birth of Dorota. The girl presents herself in excellently mastered Polish language: 15 years of age, third grade of lower-secondary school, she rides horses since she was 3, currently she has her own mare and visits her in Piaseczno every day, because she is not able to live without horses. Dorota is over-matured: she would like to move out from her parents in September and live an independent life. She what country does she actually come from – she was adopted in Poland when she was an infant. Question from the jury: What could be changed for the better in Poland? Dorota, as beautiful as ebony statue: I do not know much about this, but maybe there should be just a bit more of tolerance.
The exotic ladies are called the ambassadors. The majority of them were found by the organisers via the Internet who convinced to attend the contest. The Miss Exotica Contest has the following messages: to fight discrimination, popularise cosmopolitism as attitude and Polish citizens as citizens of the world. The agenda provides also solidarity with poor countries of the Third World. Answers to questions from the jury: A soup made of vegetables and nuts is my favourite dish, but these nuts are hardly available in Poland. The political and religious complexities as well as fundamentalist national movements in selected countries seem to be the problem.
Hardkorowy Koksu became famous in Polish Internet a few years ago when he was comically saying that biceps moved his armed so far from head and torso that it is hard for him to pick up the phone. He needs an assistant to hold a telephone near his ear. On the other hand, this diamond of entertainment was welcomed by television, and Hardkorowy Koksu hosted his own show “No shame, no blame” for a few years. Koksu’s real name is Robert Burneika and he is Lithuanian with American passport, living in Las Vegas, earning from the network of gyms and trade in mixtures for bodybuilders. “I am a foreigner also, and I know how it is” – he says. “I support Miss Exotica, because Poland, as well as Lithuania, is not very tolerant”.
An idea that a packed guy is a thud and thief is, also in Robert’s opinion, detrimental. Mariusz Pudzianowski, a star of strongmen league, privately an owner of transport company, was also a juror of a beauty contest. Right before Miss Exotica, he appeared in social media with a baseball bat – he offered the accelerated course of assimilation to refugees trying to travel on his trucks in Calais. On the other hand, Hardkorowy Koksu took a picture of himself with a machine gun inscribed as: “Training session before attack of refugees”.
And suddenly, the media gone wild about jurors of Miss Exotica, the voices to boycott Pudzian were raised. But Serafina Ogończyk-Mąkowska spoked for him: “Tolerance does not mean that everybody can do what they want – she wrote in the Internet – and we, within the frames of so-called tolerance will not yield under pressure of accepting banditry and cultural habits that are strange to us”. And also: “Diversity is good, but utilising diversity for popularisation of own point of view and dictating it to the others means using our wrongly perceived
Next, she stood by Hardkorowy Koksu when he called her and told: “The cops are here”. Legally, the case was solved painlessly, but Pudzian was not giving his opinions on beauty of exotic ladies this year. It is a pity, because in the Third World states he is the best-known Polish citizen apart from the Pope John Paul II.
Meanwhile, the exotic ladies present themselves near a tempting throne for the future beauty queen, on the ground floor of the Blue City shopping centre. The one who succeeds will represent Poland in the Miss Earth contest. This happened last year – Magda from Warsaw, a student of law, Vietnamese blood went there, and various real Poles asked in the Internet: “Don’t we really have the azymous blondes, certified Slavs anymore?” Magda says that, nearly all states delegated the girls from racial mixes to Miss Earth – because it is normal all over the world, but it is still difficult to understand in Poland.
The tickets to VIP zone for the most brilliant finishing of sentence “I love gold, because…” went to persons named Bogacz (the Rich Man) and Rozkosz (Joy). There is a queue to display window with a bar of gold.
Hardkorowy says that he worked out with the exotic ladies in the gym so they can fearlessly spend the New Year’s Eve in German cities where – as media announced – the newly came refugees hunt for women. The master of ceremony plays with words. He wants the audience to guess who Asfalto Provizore is – nobody knows the answer – it refers to Barack Obama. It similar – Beretto Furmanoso means Polish People’s Party.
It is no shame to be rich and retired – ensures the sponsor, who trade gold and precious stones daily. The exotic ladies walk around smiling at photographers and cameramen, they pose. They reveal their dreams in the changing room: among them there are lawyers, ambassadors and students of multiple faculties.
And this show here is entertainment and fun, entry in CV, memories of beauty captured on photography to be viewed by children and grandchildren in the far future. Will you do my hair? No, first I will do mine. Damn, my heel is swinging. Do I already have corns?
I am Polish and I was born in Poland – says Julia representing Liberia. Applause.
One of the female jurors says that by being intolerant we become antisocial. I think that everyone of us is an actor and the God is a director of this show called life – says Magda, representing Italy/France but most often taken as Venezuelan, about her future.
The higher you take the elevator towards VIP zone, the more silent the exotic ladies are; they just walk in noise and present their uniqueness among Poles.
MARCIN KOŁODZIEJCZYK, PHOTOGRAPHS BY MACIEK JAŹWIECKI/InPRO