The Miss Europe beauty pageant of the 1930s is not just a spectacle of beauty and grace, it also serves as a captivating snapshot of Europe’s cultural history. Born from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and resurrected by a French journalist, the pageant quickly became a beacon of elegance and poise, showcasing the continent’s most beautiful women.
The pageant’s inception in 1927 was less about crowning beauty queens and more about casting movie stars. Fanamet, Paramount’s European distributor, had the idea of creating a beauty pageant where the winner would star in a film directed by the legendary Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau. The first crown went to Yugoslavia’s Štefica Vidačić, marking her as the inaugural Miss Europe.
However, the pageant found its true calling when it was re-established in 1928 by Maurice de Waleffe, a French journalist with a penchant for beauty and glamour. Having already set the precedent for the Miss France pageant, he breathed new life into Miss Europe. The first pageant under his leadership was held at the prestigious Paris Opera, featuring participants from 18 different countries, truly embodying the European spirit.
The 1930 Miss Europe pageant was a significant event in the history of the competition. Not only was it the second pageant under de Waleffe’s guidance, but it also witnessed the crowning of Miss Greece as the winner, marking her place in the annals of beauty pageant history. The event was a grand affair, with 19 contestants vying for the coveted crown, including Belgium’s first-ever participant.
This was also the year when Czechoslovakia and Turkey made a remarkable return to the pageant, having been absent since the inaugural event in 1927. Unfortunately, Switzerland had to withdraw their contestant, adding a touch of drama to the proceedings.