Glam grannies vie for pageant crown in Brooklyn

NEW YORK Sat Oct 20, 2007 1:08pm EDT

Participants Galina Ostrowics (L) and Anna Malkina-Shumayev (R) pose after winning ''Ms Grandmother'' and ''Ms Queen Grandmother'' at the 2007 ''Your Highness Grandmother'' pageant in Brooklyn, New York, October 20, 2007. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Participants Galina Ostrowics (L) and Anna Malkina-Shumayev (R) pose after winning ''Ms Grandmother'' and ''Ms Queen Grandmother'' at the 2007 ''Your Highness Grandmother'' pageant in Brooklyn, New York, October 20, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pageantry proved ageless on Friday night as a bevy of Brooklyn grandmothers competed in the sixth annual Your Highness Grandmother Beauty contest.

Some 15 grandmothers, nearly all from Brooklyn's close-knit Russian immigrant community of Brighton Beach, sang, danced and vamped across the stage at a local nightspot as they competed for the pageant's top honors of Ms. Grandmother and Queen Grandmother 2007.

The women, and one man in drag, paraded in "kitchen garb" such as aprons and kerchiefs, some toting accessories such as a soup tureen, tray of pastries and a basket of fruit to entice the panel of judges, comprised entirely of grandfathers.

Many of the women, divided into "mature" and "senior" categories, appeared onstage with their grandchildren, including one who engaged her granddaughter in a choreographed sword fight while clad in matching costumes.

The colorful bilingual ceremony, at times evoking an ebullient wedding reception, included the traditional talent segment where contestants sang, danced and even performed gymnastic-styled yoga as family members cheered them on, holding up placards with words of support and praise.

They sported glamorous gowns rendered in gold-embellished black, and shades of deep red or pink.

The evening's big winners were Galina Basova, a 60-ish former electronics teacher who was named Ms. Grandmother, and Queen Grandmother Anna Malkina-Shymayer, a 70-ish vivacious redhead who clearly charmed the audience and the judges.

When it came time to vote, Maria Davydova, a doctor originally from Ukraine, took home the People's Choice prize. Perhaps the most extroverted entrant, she learned of the event through her granddaughter, an office store clerk who sold the event's organizer most of the supplies for the big night.

All of the other entrants also received honors for qualities ranging from courage to imagination at the behest of the Be Proud Foundation, which sponsored the pageant.

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