The citizens of Ukraine have shown their resilience and fortitude in the face of the ongoing battle for its sovereignty since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a broad attack on the country in February.
But that hasn't stopped Ukrainians from participating in global events, including Miss Universe, the World Cup Qualifiers, and Eurovision, among others.
For this year's Miss Universe, Miss Ukraine Universe 2022, Victoria Apanasenko, slayed the national costume portion of the competition with her "Warrior of Light" costume.
Apanasenko hoped to send a message about her country's strength and light by wearing a gold metal armor draped in soft white fabric with blue and golden yellow wings–the colors of the Ukraine flag.
You can see her costume here.
The people of Ukraine have been touted as tough and defiant, much like their President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who joined Ukrainian soldiers to help fight off Russian military forces.
Thousands of Ukrainian women–who were officially allowed to serve in combat specialties and were legally ensured “equal rights” with their male counterparts in 2018–also helped defend their country by going into battle.
In an Instagram post, Apanasenko explained:
"The Warrior of Light costume is the personification of the inner strength of Ukrainians, our courage, determination, and love of freedom that flows through our veins."
"In this suit, I wanted to place the idea that war cannot break our strength and discolor our hearts."
"Even in the heat like a phoenix, Ukraine will blossom and shine bright rays of kindness and faith.
The powerful statement embodying the spirit of Ukraine was designed by Lesya Patoka, who envisioned Apanasenko as a warrior leading Ukraine's fearless people with bravery.
Patoka collaborated with Jamala, ONUKA, and other personalities for the costume.
She reportedly worked on the dress for months to the sound of sirens in the background and without electricity.
She toldThe Odessa Journal:
"It was very important for us to create the image of not just a beautiful, but also a strong-willed girl who personifies the whole of Ukraine — unbending, courageous, free."
"Despite all the difficulties and challenges, we coped with creating the image on time, because each of us is a Warrior in his business."
Impressed social media users expressed their reverence for Apanasenko's powerful look.
The Odessa Journal said Apanasenko will present the costume at theMiss Universe National Costume Show on January 11, 2023, in New Orleans, USA.