ABC owns everything. This is just my take on life before Missing.
Her friends had not been part of the 20 girls chosen. Despite their disappointment they were excited for her. They helped her choose a bathing suit and helped her pay for a new dress. She was able to secure a loan from the modeling agency hosting the contest to pay for her trip to Odessa. Before she knew it, the week had passed and she had boarded the train with the other 20 girls. She had her passport, her new clothes, and enough insulin for a month, advice from her mom and well wishes from her friends. What more could she want?
Never having travelled so far on her own, she wanted to share all the sights, smells and sounds with her friends back home, therefore she sparingly talked to the other girls. When an elderly, lonely lady sat down beside her, she was frustrated by the lady's non-stop prattling, but knew that she would laugh about it later with her friends. But having learnt to respect her elders, she put aside her own needs and wants and talked to the lady. She did sigh in relief though, when the lady disembarked the train. Soon it was her own turn to disembark.
She was very relieved when she saw a friendly face hold up a sign "Odessa Modeling Contest". The girl introduced herself, "I'm Katarina and I will guide you to the hotel. If you have any questions, find me and I will try to answer them." With nervous laughter the girls collectively sighed in relief.
She followed Katarina and the rest of the girls into the five star, 120 year old hotel. The room permeated with nervous energy. They could see girls everywhere; some nervously standing alone, but the vast majority standing in little groups. Faces reflecting the feelings she was experiencing. She was so thankful she had befriended a few of the girls from her town. All but one had never been to Odessa. They had only seen such opulence on TV. Katarina brought them to the registration tables and told them she would see them later that night. They could see other girls being led in groups by other friendly faced leaders. They would all be staying at the hotel. The winners would be declared by the end of the week.
She was issued the number 68. There were just too many girls with the same name. From now on she would be known as Oksana 68. They also gave her a room key, the name of her roommate, a schedule and a list of rules and expectations. They told her there was a fridge in her room to hold her insulin, but they recommended that she gave most of her insulin to them so nobody could steal it from her. She along with the other girls were directed to a room to be measured.
After she was done, she made her way to her room and met her roommate. She was thankful that it was one of the nicer girls she had befriended on the train from her hometown. They discussed their grueling schedule. Everyday they would have to meet with different people to see if they were worthy to be at this competition. They would have to practice how they would walk in each of the different categories. And the actual competition would take place over three days, with the winners declared the final day.
Each morning the girls had a personal interview by different group of men. Some of the girls were eliminated. In the afternoon the girls were required to practice their walking for the swim suit competition. The rest of the days the girls practiced their walking for the ball gown competition and their act for the talent contest. They were given freedom to walk inside the hotel, but were warned to stay away from the rooms the judges would be staying in.
Oksana wrote in her diary everyday so she could remember everything she experienced for her mom and friends. She also spent time getting to know her roommate. They discovered that their lives were very similar. Both had lost their father's at an early age, both excelled in school and both were diabetic. There only day of complete freedom before the competition, they spent the day at the pool relaxing and getting to know each other better.
They were all so nervous. On the day of the swim suit competition, they entered the stage they realized that the audience was made up mostly of men. In this competition the audience helped the judges decide on a winner by voting for their favorites.
Oksana was so surprised when she was one of the top 15 winners; she felt like a country bumpkin and not as glamorous as the other girls. She was happy for her roommate who also won. That night they could barely sleep. They were so close and yet so far from winning.
Oksana was even more surprised when she was one of the top ten ball gown winners. Her dress was nothing compared to some of the girls', yet it made her look and feel gorgeous.
She chose to do a gymnastics routine and nailed it. The audience went wild for her. The applause was louder for her than any other competitor. She was beyond happy when she was one of the top winners.
Oksana was not surprised when she was declared one of the five winners. She couldn't stop smiling. She was thankful that her roommate also won, so she would have someone she knew with her.
The next day they boarded the train to visit their families for a week and then they would be off to their glamorous life styles for a year. Her face hurt so much from all the smiling she had done the last day. Her roommate and she discussed what they would do with the thousands of dollars they would be earning.
The week home just flew by. Her mom tried to take some time off of work in the evenings and during the day Oksana spent hours with her friends.
Before she knew it, it was time to board the train. This time, Oksana and her roommate, would be boarding as friends and not as acquaintances. The train trip to Odessa just flew by. And this time there was no one who tried to talk to interrupt them.
Katarina, along with another winner, met them at the train station again. This time she told them that they had to wait for the other two girls. They were all so excited to be starting their new careers as models. Katarina led them into a limo with tinted windows. None of the girls had ever been in one. This was all so new for them.
When they arrived at their destination, they were chattering and laughing with each other as they disembarked. They were shocked when they stood in front of a building.