YEREVAN—Kristina Ayanian has been granted the most prestigious title of her pageantry career to date: Miss Grand Armenia.
“It’s been my dream since I was a little girl to be Miss Armenia,” said the elated 24-year old in a recent video interview with her Weekly colleague from her Yerevan residence. “The fact that I’m representing a country—my country—is surreal.”
Ayanian, a local contributor for the Armenian Weekly since 2019, was crowned Miss Grand Armenia earlier this month. Miss Armenia national director Gohar Harutyunyan invited Ayanian to Yerevan and selected her to represent Armenia in the Miss Grand International Pageant, which will be held in Thailand in November. The organization’s objective is to help end all forms of violence and hostility—a fitting time for Armenia to enter the conversation, says Ayanian, with its message of peace following its heavy losses in the 2020 Artsakh War. This will be Armenia’s first appearance in the 8th annual beauty pageant.
Ayanian has been competing in the pageantry circuit since she was seven years old. Throughout her career, she has served as Miss Boston Preteen (2008), Miss Massachusetts Outstanding Teen (2013) and most recently Miss Boston (2020), impressing audiences with her eloquence, poise and musical talents as a classical pianist. Her mom Lousineh has supported her every step of the way. “She’s like my backbone. She knows me better than I know myself,” shared Aynanian.
This is the mother-daughter duo’s first time in Armenia since the start of the pandemic and the war in Artsakh. “Armenia has changed a lot. It’s hard being here, but it’s the right thing to do,” she reflected. “I feel a sense of responsibility to do as much as I can to help here.” When she is not preparing for next month’s competition with coaches and advisors from the Miss Armenia directorate, she is visiting the families of martyred soldiers and displaced families in the border villages of Armenia as part of the local non-profit Eye Support, which she co-founded with four of her best friends from St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School (SSAES)—Marie Bazarbashian, Meghri Dervartanian, Nicole Keikian and Nina Vosbigian. The team of five has been raising money to support Armenian relief efforts from the 2020 war, supplying families with cold weather necessities and apparel, domestic livestock, appliances and toys for young children.
Ayanian gained far more than lifelong friends and a selfless humanitarian spirit from her time at SSAES. She also developed a unique sense of pride in her heritage and recognized the importance of learning Armenian history and retaining the Armenian language. “I feel so comfortable being in Armenia because of my roots, my St. Stephen’s roots,” she said while describing the influence of her Armenian upbringing and formative years at the Watertown Armenian school. “Kristina Ayanian was an outstanding student at St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School who strived for excellence in her studies and in life,” expressed longtime SSAES principal Houry Boyamian in her written comments to the Weekly, “She shines with her warm personality, natural beauty, intellect, musical talents, philanthropic work, her strong sense of identity and her sense of responsibility toward her nation, her homeland and humanity,” she continued.
Ayanian’s ultimate goal as Miss Grand Armenia is to help serve as a bridge between the Diaspora and its homeland; she also wants to share her love for Armenia with the whole world. Ayanian, who also works full-time as an analyst for NASDAQ, is looking forward to building fruitful relationships with Armenian organizations and international organizations alike to strengthen Armenia’s presence on the world stage. “My goals are to make my mom proud and to make my country proud,” said Ayanian. “If I can do all of this, then there’s nothing I can’t do.”