Everyone from the Ukrainian president to former world champion boxers is fighting the invading Russians. A former Miss Grand Ukraine has traded heels and tiaras for rifles and fighting gear.
Anastasia Lenna, Ukraine’s 2015 Representative in the Miss Grand International beauty pageant, is sharing photos and videos on her Instagram account lashing out against Russia’s unprovoked attack and promising vengeance. “The invaders will die on our Ukrainian lands! Wait and see!”
One widely shared post shows her decked out in tactical gear, while another features her smiling back at the camera while aiming at targets in a firing range. Since the weekend, her Instagram account has garnered nearly 200,000 new followers as word spread about her taking up arms.
The beauty queen graduated from Slavistik University in Kyiv with a degree in marketing and management before beginning public relations work. As a speaker of five languages, employment came quickly, but Lenna says she wanted more excitement in her life.
Her modeling career takes her worldwide and says pictures of her holding weapons are not intended to promote violence. “I am not military, just a woman,” she says, adding that she does not do propaganda except to show Ukrainian women as strong, confident and powerful.
Lenna also says the Ukrainian people have “no guilt” about defending their country.
The beauty queen joins an incredibly long list of Ukrainian heroes fighting the unprovoked invasion by Russian despot Vladimir Putin and his military. Former Boxing Heavyweight World Champions Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko have both taken up arms to defend their homeland against the invaders. Vitali is the mayor of Kyiv, the Ukraine capital. Wladimir joined him, who enlisted in the army reserves before the invasion in February to prepare for the Russian attack.
Kyiv had not suffered bombing since the Nazis attacked in 1941 and now everyone who can fight seems to be digging in for the urban warfare that is sure to come without a drastic change in direction.
Oleksandr Usyk, who holds the WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles after a stunning upset of Anthony Joshua in September, has enlisted with the Kyiv Territorial Defence and sent a message to Putin urging him to stop the war.
And recently retired tennis star Sergiy Stakhovsky says he is returning to Kyiv to fight in its defense after he has moved his wife and children out of harms’ way. Even as he says he signed up for the reserves last week to defend Ukraine, Stakhovsky strikes a realistic note about the country’s chances of holding off Russia without assistance.
“Russia is a 140m (population) country and it’s going to be very hard to resist that much.”