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Tania Verstak (born c. 1942) of Australia was Miss Australia in 1961 and Miss International in 1962.

Early life

Tania was born in Tianjin, China to Russian couple Vladimir and Valentina Verstak. They immigrated to Australia when she was 10 years old and settled in Manly, New South Wales. In 1961, she became the first migrant to win the Miss Australia title.[1]

Pageants

Even before going on to compete in Miss International, her victory in the national pageant was already seen as a small but significant shift in the traditional articulation of the Australian feminine ideal, attributed to the infusion of European values to the Anglo-Australian fabric, at a time when beauty pageants were the craze in Australia.[2]

She went on to win the Miss International title in Long Beach, California. Thus, the victory further endeared her to the Australian public, demonstrating their pride and approval of Tania Verstak as the embodiment of perfect Australian womanhood and as the image of Australia as a modern nation,[2] even though in the terminology of the time for immigrants, she was a "new Australian".

As part of promoting Australia as "international", the Australian "national costume" for the pageant broke away from the British-related image it had until then. Whereas the previous contestant had worn a British riding costume, Verstak expressed this new sophistication when she wore a specially created yellow dress embroidered with a wreath of Australian wild flowers and carried a yellow umbrella.[3]

She married a Perth businessman named Peter Young, and their daughter is the actress Nina Young.

References

  1. ^ Tania Verstak:
  2. ^ a b Loading
  3. ^ The Glamour Game, SBS Australia, November 23, 2007
  • [1]
  • [2]
  • [3]
  • The Glamour Game Part 2, SBS Australia, November 23, 2007
Preceded by
Stam Van Baer
Miss International
1962
Succeeded by
Guðrún Bjarnadóttir
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