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Carmina Olimpia Cotfas, Miss Universe Romania: “Miss Universe is not an ambassador of her own beauty, but an ambassador of the beauty of her country”
“We, the young women of the Universe, have the belief that mankind tends toward peace, tolerance, and understanding. We are committed to promoting this message every day, wherever we are” (Miss Universe motto)
By Traian Bădulescu
Carmina Olimpia Cotfas, Miss Universe Romania, is 20 years old, from Târgu Mureș and a third-year history student in Cluj. She wants to become a university professor of history and to write books on history, personal development and tourism. She practiced performance volleyball for 5 years and studied singing for 9 years. She is a health activist, radio and TV presenter but also a professional model since the age of 14. Carmina considers Romania to be a much more developed country than, unfortunately, many believe. And she wants to get involved in order to increase Romanians’ confidence in their own country.
Carmina Cotfas won the Miss Universe Romania 2021 competition between 200 candidates and 25 finalists, on August 28, 2021 and currently represents Romania at the most elite beauty, intelligence and creativity competition in the world – Miss Universe, in Israel, in Eilat. The merit belongs to her, and, of course, to the jury, which appreciated her for her intelligence, charisma and appearance.
Carmina parades on the podium, at the Miss Universe final in Eilat, with a dress with Romanian folk motifs, worth 20,000 dollars, a tribute to Queen Maria, who, among other things, contributed to the Great Union of 1918.
Carmina is a strong, fighting person who has confirmed that she can follow her dreams and passions. And that can overcome obstacles. It’s not easy to do that when you have them. For Carmina, the exterior is represented by what we have inside, and history, tourism and communication are her great passions.
We Romanians are really beautiful people
Carmina, you represent the most elite Miss competition in the world. Miss Universe. You are Miss Universe Romania 2021. With what thoughts did you leave for the final in Israel?
Striving to represent my country with honor. I really care about Romania and I consider that we, Romanians, deserve much more. I also represent young Romanian women, but first of all I consider that they represent Romania. We Romanians are really beautiful people. The Miss Universe competition is not only a competition of female beauty everywhere and so on, but it is a competition that brings together the female ambassadors of each country. I feel that by participating in the final in Eilat, I will not be a beautiful Romanian woman, as there are many Romanian women, but I will be an ambassador of Romanian culture and spirituality.
Miss Universe selection is extremely difficult and rigorous. Whoever reaches the international competition represents their own country, including at the diplomatic level. Miss Universe is not an ambassador of her own beauty, but an ambassador of her country’s beauty. Being Miss Universe, including nationally, means emotional intelligence, diplomacy, communication and adaptability, and even geopolitics.
I refuse to believe that Romania is full of “windmills”
What does Romania mean to you?
I am a history student and passionate about history. We have a history that is still underutilized. I have studied a lot and I believe that our country can be promoted enormously through history. I don’t understand why this is not happening, but I will try to get involved and identify solutions. I refuse to believe that Romania is full of “windmills”. And it certainly isn’t. We never received Don Quixote in the country, we just … read it. Life is full of unpredictability, but if we know the rules, so the past, history, we can better predict the future.
You are the first history student to participate in this competition. What connection can you make between history and the competition in which you participate?
First of all, I am glad that this year, the world final is hosted by Israel. Which, for us, is and must be a sister country. Romania has many historical connections with the state of Israel. Maybe we should have a common history to be taught in schools. I cannot forget that in our country there were countless Jewish communities, both in Transylvania and in the north of Moldova or in other parts of Romania. We have something to learn from each other, as brothers and, I hope, allies. I greatly admire Israel, which had the power to be reborn. So do we Romanians. We have kept our identity, although our history has not always been with us. We Romanians should have more confidence in ourselves. We should give up complexes. Romanians visit and know everyone. And many Romanians are really curious, they want to learn, to discover new cultures. Now is the time for everyone to get to know Romania. And I humbly say, I hope to make a small contribution. I trust myself but I know what humility means. I am a fighter, but I will never fight against anyone, but for someone’s rights. I will strive to represent my country, in Israel … We, the Romanians, are really beautiful people both inside and outside. We still don’t believe that, the vast majority. For me, the competition in Israel is a step, but not the last. It will be just the beginning. I really want to be an “ambassador” of Romania, even if it is unofficial, from the point of view of our Romanian history, tourism and spirit. We can do much more. I’ve always wondered – why can’t we capture everyone when we’ve given so much to the world? As much as I can, I will get involved in this direction…
What does tourism mean to you, Carmina?
It’s time for the world to see Romania with a different eye, the corner of heaven or the fairytale place where we were lucky to be born and which we must make the most of and this can only be done through a sustained effort, by promoting our tourist services and by developing them to the highest possible level.
It means good image for our country and export of services. As Bianca Elena Constantin said, Miss Universe Romania 2009, whom I know, is a model for me and I admire her a lot, tourism means especially promotion and soul. We receive foreign tourists, who come, spend but especially get acquainted with our country. I admire Israel’s promotion, and I can’t wait to see what it’s like on the spot, even though I’ve read and studied a lot about the Holy Land. Israel is a land of symbols. But so is Romania. We have a lot to learn from our history. And sometimes we just ignore it. We Romanians have always been tolerant and adaptable. Which I think is a virtue. Unfortunately, we never knew how to defend our interests, to put ourselves in the light we deserve and to … grind, to speak metaphorically. In conclusion, I consider that Romania is a predominantly tourist country. In the sense that we have to be visited and met by tourists from all over the world, either our Bessarabian or even Israeli brothers, or our Hungarian cousins – with whom I also lived – Serbs, Russians or Bulgarians. French, Japanese, American, Chinese, Brazilian Ori
I strive to represent my country with honor. I care about Romania and I consider that we, the Romanians, deserve much more. I also represent young Romanian women, but first of all I consider that they represent Romania. We Romanians are really beautiful people. The Miss Universe competition is not just a competition for female beauty everywhere and so on, but it is a competition that brings together the female ambassadors of each country. I feel that by participating in the final in Eilat, I will not be a beautiful Romanian woman, as there are many Romanian women, but I will be an ambassador of Romanian culture and spirituality, as Miss Universe Romania. I promise that I will continue to dedicate myself to promoting Romania’s image. I’m at the beginning. But I don’t understand why the Romanian authorities do not use people who have achieved something to promote Romanian tourism and the country’s image, such as Simona Halep, Nadia Comăneci, Gheorghe Hagi and other Romanians who are our elite ambassadors across borders. I really want to get involved in promoting the image of our country.
Carmina Olimpia Cotfas, Miss Universe Romania
What will you do if you win the competition? Or if … not?
I don’t go there to win. Although I would be happy for my country. But I say this because I am aware that all countries have proudly selected participants to represent them. I participate to represent and promote my country as best I can. Otherwise, I will be natural, sincere, just as I think I am, and I will leave the decision to the jury and the voters … My key words are trust, but also, as I said, humility. I don’t like to judge even though I assume I can be “judged.” “Vox populi.” Already, I believe that my mission is to represent my country and I am proud that I was elected. For me, participating in the Miss Universe pageant is a start. Not a goal. And I will always support the competition, for Romania, regardless of whether I will be Miss Universe for everyone or not. My duty is that Romania chose me. And if I am chosen in Israel, I will appreciate it. If I’m not, I’ll still appreciate it. Obviously, competition also matters, but I think collaboration is my key word.