At least six of the 20 nominees competing for the title of Miss Israel this year will know how to field strip an M-16 military rifle, and have the strength to knock out a few pushups during the talent portion.
That's because the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have six beauty queens in their midst vying for the crown — with specialties like paratrooper instructor, Air Force operator, squad instructor or logistics specialist.
“When I got into the competition, my commanders were really supportive," Sgt. Adi Levy told the IDF Blog. "Their encouragement is something I really appreciated.”
The women are competing to represent their country later this year in the Miss Universe pageant, going up against contestants from over 75 countries.
One of the nominees, Sgt. Gaya Shukun, believes the military and modeling can go hand-in-hand:
“I have a feeling that a lot of the models join the competition because they want to represent their country. Now that I’m in the army, I have a better insight into the real Israel. I see how badly we’re portrayed in the international arena, and as an IDF soldier, I feel a responsibility to better explain what really happens here.”
But 2nd Sgt. Zoe Rousal is even more candid about what the competition means to her:
"It doesn't matter how much s--- our country has to eat, every year there will always be a pageant. It's a change from all the wars and the problems . It doesn't matter what happens, there will always be a beauty queen."
Here some more photos of the soldiers, courtesy of PZM:
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