Today exactly 10 years ago the very first Miss Supranational, Oksana Moria from the Ukraine, was crowned in Plock, Poland. We sat down with the creator and President of Miss Supranational, Mister Gerhard Parzutka von Lipinski, as he looks back on the past decade and shares what is in store for the Miss Supranational Competition.
AS: It’s been ten years. Congratulations! Can you believe it?
Gerhard Parzutka von Lipinski: (Laughs) No, it feels like yesterday that we had our first competition. I guess that is what happens when you work non-stop and never give up on something you believe in. But when I look at how far we have come, reflect on all the things that have happened along the way and think of all ten ambassadors who have held the title, then I can definitely believe that it has been ten years.
AS: Take us back to the very beginning. Can you tell us how it came that you decided to start the Miss Supranational Competition?
GPVL: I have been involved in the industry for many years and there came a point where I realized that there was a gap in the market for something new and different. As a national director, I sent many girls to international competitions. Sometimes, when they did not advance, you would only see them on stage for a few moments. So I decided to start my own competition with a format that would allow all of the country representatives to be seen as much as possible. Also, during this time, Europe was not hosting many pageants. As a European, I wanted to show that Europe can host pageants and I also wanted to show the beauty of Europe and my home country, Poland, to the world. That is how Miss Supranational was born, so to speak.
AS: Many people wonder about the name you chose. Why did you decide to call it Miss Supranational?
GPVL: First, let me say that I was never going to use one of the existing big pageants’ names because I have the greatest respect and admiration for all of them. As I just mentioned when I talked about my heritage, I was inspired by the European union, which is a supranational organization, as well as the United Nations, which is the same and the Euro, which is a supranational currency. I came across the term while I was reading a financial magazine and was fascinated by it. When I looked into it, I realized it was not that commonly known or widely used so that was the natural choice. (Laughs) I guess I chose a difficult name but it has a real meaning. Supranational means involving more than one country, a group of countries that come together and has a higher power. It’s about being united as a group.
AS: So what does this definition mean to your organization?
GPVL: It has a very important meaning to us. We bring young people from all over the world together to celebrate their beauty but also the beauty of their aspirations, dreams and the power that lies within them. When they come together, they are not defined by their nationalities, cultures, religions or the languages they speak. As human beings, we are far more similar than we are different. In fact, as they share their stories, dreams and ideas with others, they quickly realize that they are actually a group of like-minded young people who all share the commonalities of wanting to achieve their goals and live successful and happy lives. Many of them use this to also be an inspiration for others to do the same. They actually join a network of young people who support each other. Some lasting friendships have been formed and it has turned into this wonderful #suprafamily. Many people look down on these kind of competitions, but you can’t tell me that there is not great beauty and power in this.
AS: Can you share with us some of the highlights or proudest moments of the last ten years of Miss Supranational?
GPVL: Well, as a television show, being on air in close to 150 countries is something I consider as one of the proudest achievements. It is a wonderful accomplishment for a competition that is only ten years old. Also, many of our contestants have gone on to achieve great things and we have had ten wonderful young women who have worn the crown. They still come back or stay in touch and are always a part of our #suprafamily for as long as they choose to be, just like all the rest of the contestants. On a personal note, also the directors in many countries all over the world who do incredible work every year in an industry that has a lot of challenges. They are definitely an integral part of our success. I am proud and happy that many of them have become dear friends and family to me.
AS: What about the greatest challenges you have faced in the last ten years?
GPVL: I don’t like to see them as challenges; rather as very valuable and sometimes painful life lessons. These things are a part of life. The biggest or greatest would be being let down or betrayed by people you believed in and were good to but I try not to let that affect my belief in the goodness of humanity as a whole. We all have disappointing experiences but we must always find ways to learn, grow and improve from every experience – good or bad.
AS: You are always praised for the production elements and fantastic stages of your pageants. After ten years, do you feel like it’s an easy job to deliver this year after year?
GPVL: No, easy is definitely the last word I would call it. My team and I work hard to try and give the best we can every year. There is a lot of pressure, hard work, high emotions during the final weeks and many sleepless nights. But somehow, as tough as it can be at times, when you see the contestants on stage, it all becomes worth it and you want to do it again. I am very fortunate to have many wonderful colleagues, associates, partners and friends who support me year after year to make all of this happen. My gratitude an heartfelt thanks must go to all those people who are always there for the Miss and Mister Supranational Competitions when we need them.
AS: What can people expect from this year’s event, especially the final on December 6?
GPVL: This year we are going to a fantastic region in Poland for the first time. We have an amazing venue in a great city and there will be a few new elements to the show. I don’t want to stay too much because we will be announcing more details in the weeks to come, but I hope everyone will watch on the 6th of December to see who will become the 11th Miss Supranational.
AS: Is there a particular type or formula the judges use to determine the next Miss Supranational? So, basically, what are you looking for in a winner?
GPVL: No, there is definitely not a type or any sort of formula. There are certain qualities that we are looking for though. We are hoping that we find a young woman who is not only beautiful but has a vibrant personality, someone who is humble and hard-working and has a desire to be an ambassador for our brand as we enter our second decade. Miss Supranational must have a heart for the people and not only want to use the title for herself but also use it inspire and help others. Any young woman who shows these qualities throughout the entire competition, regardless of which country she comes from, will stand a chance to become our next winner
AS: Can we expect any changes to the competition in the second decade of Miss Supranational?
GPVL: Change is inevitable in life. As we grow and as time goes by, change is part of the natural evolution of our brand. More than ever, we will focus on the aspirational, inspirational young people that come to compete for the title. We will have a few tweaks to our format to make it more exciting. Some awards that are outdated, like Best Body for example, will be replaced with new ones. Also, we are hoping to increase our power in our social and digital platforms with some exciting new projects. The new Miss Supranational will take on a project that she will work on to have a positive impact on the lives of others. We are also increasing the winner’s prize money and we are raising the age limit to 29 years of age. I am very excited about all the wonderful things ahead of us.
The President of the Miss Supranational Organization, Gerhard Parzutka von Lipinski, wishes to thank all those who have supported him during the last ten years. That includes his partners, sponsors, staff, national directors, title holders, contestants and fans. “We could not have done it without you.”