Russians on Beauty

Russian business weekly Expert joined forces with the Public Opinion Foundation and the Comparative Social Study Centre in March to publish an unique study on what Russian feminine beauty. Organisers claim their unique methodology has enabled them to reflect public opinion more than any previous poll, and therefore offer important sociological data about the Russian ideal.

Natalya Konradova and Marina Akhmedova

So, what do Russians consider beautiful? The results of Expert magazine's March survey on one level seemed clear enough - if colour alone mattered, all girls should dye their hair blonde and wear dark brown, grey or green contact lenses. On another, they were more complex, finding that neither hair, eye colour, nor the shape of the face were as important as charisma, life experience and the mind.

The Expert View

Despite faring less than well in public polls, actress Chulpan Khamatova was at the top of our experts' list of 97. "She has intelligence and courage. She is talented, sexy, smart and unpredictable. She is he perfect modern woman," said photographer Mikhail Korolev.
"Her beauty goes hand-in-hand with intelligence. She has style, and knows what to wear" - agreed Alexander Anko, Foxfilm casting and model agency CEO.

"It takes the right attitude and firm principles to get out of any predicament and Chulpan has it" - continued fashion designer Yelena Makashova.

Experts also highly rated the actress, screenwriter and film director Renata Livinova and singer Zhanna Friske, though were slightly less superlative in their praise. On Litvinova, they said: "she is clearly intelligent", "she has re-created the style of the 1940s, and looks like no other woman", and, simply: "she is romantic." Friske won praise for knowing "how to use her looks" and having "great legs".

The Youth View

Respondents under 26 thought Olga Budina the fairest of them all, closely followed by Alina Kabayeva. The rest of the list clashed directly with older people's preferences, leaving established favourites Yulia Nachalova, Valeria, Yekaterina Andreyeva, Anna Kovalchuk and Oksana Fedorova out of their top ten. The replacements were Natalya Vodyanova and Darya Verbova (the only models on our lists), businesswoman and society lady Darya Zhukova and pop singers Sati Kazanova of the group Fabrika and Anna Semenovich of Blestyashchie.

Young men liked Alina Kabayeva, Darya Verbova, Sati Kazanova and Olga Fadeyeva more than female respondents. Unlike women, they also included Natalya Vodyanova in the top ten. Our computer analysis revealed wide-set eyes were the one feature that linked these ladies.

Methodology

- Sociologists of the Comparative Social Study Centre appointed forty experts from various walks of life to produce a panel of 97 names to offer to respondents.

- Ratings were obtained through two Public opinion foundation polls, covering 3,000 adult respondents from cities and the countryside in every federal district of Russia.

- Every respondent was shown twenty, random photographs. The respondents then worked through three stages of elimination, selecting ten out of twenty for the semi-finals, and then five finalists, out of which the top three was chosen.

- The first poll was held from 5-11 February. The selected top twenty were then shown to the 1,500 respondents of the second poll, which took place on February 19-25).

- The Public Opinion Foundation arranged final ratings in a tabular form of 20x20 cells, which were then analysed by computer using a digital Physiognomy programme, similar to that used on police identikits (showing forehead, cheekbones, chin, eyes, brows, nose, lips and ears).

- Sociologists next made rating trees of the features considered the most attractive.

Ratings

Alina Kabayeva (1,227), rhythmic gymnastics champion, MP
Olga Budina (1,155), actress
Olga Fadeyeva (1,140), actress
Anna Kovalchuk (1,129), actress
Oksana Fedorova (1,105), Miss Universe 2002, police officer and television presenter
Anastasia Zavorotnyuk (1,068), actress
Yekaterina Andreyeva (1,029), television presenter
Valeria (1,001), pop star
Yelena Korikova (0,991), actress
Yulia Nachalova (0,983), pop star and television presenter

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