Alena Spodynyuk was hailed as the new Miss Universe Ukraine and will go on to represent Ukraine at the Miss Universe 2016 pageant. The pageant is now under the new leadership after Oleksandra Nikolayenko-Ruffin sold the franchise just recently. Oleksandra was Ukraine’s representative at Miss Universe 2004 with strong business ties to the former owner of Miss Universe pageant Donald Trump.

Alena Spodynyuk crowning has some political meaning as she was born and raised in Crimea – a peninsula that is a part of Ukrainian territory after the dissolution of Soviet Union but was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014. Crimea has recently participated in the Miss Russia contest.

A handball player, Alena is very much into sports. She is 18 years of age and stands a tall 5’11”. It remains to be seen if Ukraine will make a good showing now that Oleksandra is no longer in the helm. In 2006 and 2007, Ukraine placed in the semis of Miss Universe and in 2010, Anna Poslavska became 3rd runner-up. In 2011, the country clinched its highest placement ever – a first runner-up finish by Olesya Stefanko (Timeless Beauty 2011). In 2014, Diana Harkusha became 2nd runner-up but last year Ukraine was unplaced.