Kurdish Miss Iraq Vian Amer Noori. Photo: Rudaw TV
Vian Amer, 23, was crowned Miss Iraq in May 2017. Vian was born to a Kurdish father from Sulaimani and an Arab mother from Hillah. Vian says that running for the contest was as much about the culture of her people and women courage as it was about beauty. Vian—crowned by her sister, a former Miss Iraq—says that her future work will focus on women empowerment.
Rudaw: What made you decide to take part in Iraq’s beauty pageant this year?
Vian Amer: Iraq’s beauty pageant exhibits women’s beauty, culture and bravery. As an Iraqi woman I wanted to take part in it and my family supported me in doing so.
I met the conditions of becoming Miss Beauty, which is why I registered. Conditions of beauty, height, weight, level of culture and bravery.
What was the advice of your sister who was previously Miss Iraq, especially at the time when she crowned you?
My sister, Sozan, advised and assisted all the candidates without discrimination. She acted more like Miss Iraq. She was helpful to me, and I still benefit from her experience. I felt very good when my sister crowned me.
What are your projects as Miss Iraq?
I started my work and projects in cooperation with my colleagues after the completion of the ceremony. I have since visited several Iraqi cities, and was recently in Halabja. I am working to empower women in Iraq, who have special situations due to the war. Working for women is one of my priorities. In addition to this, I will also be trying to counter ideologies that promote violence in Iraq, through spreading awareness.
Iraq’s Miss Beauty Pageant was criticized and some thought the competition wasn’t well-managed, and reservations on the choices. What do you make of these remarks?
There will be criticisms and congratulations for any event held anywhere. I will be trying to respond to these criticisms through my work and projects. Beauty pageants are a new culture and trend in Iraq. That is why these criticisms are normal.
There are reports that you will also be participating in the Miss Universe contest.
Yes, I will be taking part in Miss Universe and Miss World, and I have prepared myself well for that. My colleagues will be participating in international events, too. But I am not prepared to wear a bikini. There have been discussions with administrators of these international events concerning this matter. They have been informed that we can’t appear in these kinds of clothing due to the Iraqi culture. This doesn’t fit in with the Iraqi culture. They have given us permission (to appear in other types of clothing).
Your father is Kurdish. Do you speak Kurdish?
Yes, my father is a Kurd from Sulaimani, and my mother is from Hillah. I am proud of Sulaimani and I am known as Vian Sulaimani, even though I was born in Baghdad. I know a bit of Kurdish, and want to learn it well. I am trying hard to learn it.
An independence referendum is a hot subject in the Kurdish region currently. What is your opinion on independence for Kurdistan?
My opinion is that Iraq should keep its integrity and Kurdistan is an integral part of Iraq.