Shirly Karvinen of Chinese and Finnish Descent is Miss Finland 2016

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Shirly Karvinen, MIss Finland 2016, celebrating her victory while the runner-up Heta Sallinen is observing in the background at Vanajanlinna, Hämeenlinna on May 13 2016. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Shirly Karvinen, MIss Finland 2016, celebrating her victory while the runner-up Heta Sallinen is observing in the background at Vanajanlinna, Hämeenlinna on May 13 2016. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

“I will not look for a man in a while. He will have to wait,” said the newly crowned Miss Finland 2016, Shirly Karvinen, 23, the beautiful brunette with expat roots, at Vanajanlinna’s glorious hall named after the former Finnish president Risto Ryti.

The mansion of Vanajanlinna in Hämeenlinna in southern Finland, a hotel of first class, which once hosted former presidents of the country, was the perfect location for the year’s Miss Finland finals on Friday evening.

At the press conference, the media was all over her asking about her recent break-up with her husband, who was still present at the contest, observing his ex being capped with the brightest crown. “At the dinner later, he will probably give me a hug,” Shirly said.

After the direct TV broadcast, her parents were hugging her with moist eyes while Shirly herself was dropping a few tears. “I’m so proud of you!” her mother exclaimed.

A hug of the mother. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

A hug of the mother. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Later in an interview for Finland Today, Shirly said that she was born in a small city of Jyväskylä in the central Finland, with a mother of Chinese descent and a father, who is a native Finn. While very young, her parents decided to move abroad, and Shirly explored different countries in Africa from Tanzania to Kenya because of her parents’ various job locations. In Africa, she said, she didn’t feel different “because there were so many kinds of different races.”

Shirly came back to Finland at a tender age of seven. “I couldn’t speak proper Finnish. I had to learn normal words like ‘cats’ and ‘dogs’.

Fixing the make-up. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Fixing the make-up. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Her appearance raised eyebrows as well. “I felt really different because I was darker and I looked different. And other people always reminded me of that.”

Only after moving to Helsinki a couple of years ago the people “stopped reminding me of how different I look.”

The proud mother, daughter and father. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

The proud mother, daughter and father. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Her memories of attending the goal of becoming Miss Finland reach back to a joke by her late grandfather.

“My grandfather used to joke about me becoming the Miss Finland. But I knew it was kind of a joke but then I grew up and I felt like maybe I can try this. So, I think that if my grandfather was alive today, he would be really proud.”

Suddenly, my assistant asked Shirly under the hot lights of video cameras “What’s going through your mind right now?” “This feels very unreal and I feel that I will just going to wake up and somebody will take away my crown.”

My assistant wanted to know more. “Let’s think one year from now . . . what would you want the people to remember about you?”

“I would like people to remember me as someone who represented Finland in a very elegant way. Someone who is kind and open, and I want all Finnish people to see me as their own Miss Finland.”

Finland today editor, photographer and reporter Tony Öhberg standing with his colleague, assistant-reporter Samuel Adeoje in front of Vanajanlinna. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Finland today editor, photographer and reporter Tony Öhberg standing with his colleague, assistant-reporter Samuel Adeoje in front of Vanajanlinna. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today