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Becoming Mister & Miss EVIL 2020: A Story Behind

An interview with Kamilla and Vanya who were granted the title of the top villains of Sociology and Social Informatics Bachelor Programme.

Becoming Mister & Miss EVIL 2020: A Story Behind

For all of those who miss the days full of various events, meetings and concerts, I decided to bring back memories of one of the most recent events that took place on the 6th of March - Miss & Mister HSE SPb 2020 of Sociology. Also known as Mister & Miss EVIL 2020.

While all the videos and photos you can find in the official VK community (https://vk.com/mimevil), I thought it would be a lot more interesting to go backstage and give you some first-hand insights of how the participants themselves felt standing on that stage. I reached out to Vanya and Kamilla who were granted the title of Miss & Mister Sociology 2020 that night and they kindly agreed to answer a couple of my questions to take a trip down the memory lane.

How did you guys even decide to participate? Were there any particular reasons behind your decision?

Vanya: Right from the very beginning, when all we did was endlessly asking our curators questions about practically everything and participating in all of the events they prepared for us, they kept telling us that there were two events at HSE that we would never forget – “Знай наших” and “МИМ (Мистер и Мисс)”. I think that people who got inspired by hearing all of the stories about these events started thinking about participating and even actively approaching other students to be their partners really soon – approximately, in October. I also knew that I couldn’t miss a chance to be a part of something exciting like this.

Kamilla: To be quite honest, initially I wasn’t planning to participate. Simply because back then I was working and knew that participating in such a big event would require a lot of time and effort. However, come to think of it, I realized that I simply couldn’t miss such an opportunity. An opportunity to meet so many new people, experience all of it myself.

I actually had to quit my job to be able to fully immerse myself in all of these rehearsals, photoshoots, plot writing… Luckily, when I texted Vanya and told him that I wanted to try he agreed to do this with me.

Did you participate in both of the events that curators told you about - “Знай наших” and “Miss & Mister”? Which one did you like more?

Kamilla: Vanya did take part in both of these! He played the lead role in our performance on “Знай наших”, and I was just supporting them.

Vanya: We had the best team to support us.

Kamilla: I was the one singing the chorus in our song! But If I had to choose between “Знай наших” and “Miss & Mister“ …. That’s actually a very tricky question. I was helping others to write a song for “Знай наших”, film a video, helped with the sound during the performance but I guess I liked “Miss & Mister“ more simply because I took one of the lead roles and got to experience all of the emotions myself. Maybe Vanya liked both of these events equally. He’s our MVP.

Vanya: That’s what I was about to say – I genuinely enjoyed both the them. All of emotions I’ve experienced and just everything about them was absolutely incredible.

How did you come up with the idea for your characters?

Vanya: Initially I had this idea in my head that one of the characters would be this “old” evil and not as cool as the other one – the hyped-up new-generation villain. I did some research and read about Mesopotamian demons, demons from Scandinavian folklore… But then I thought of this article about the loa of Haitian Vodou and Baron Samedi (Baron Saturday) seemed to be the perfect match.

Kamilla: We wanted to choose characters that are not that well-known so that the audience wouldn’t have any expectations about our performance. And then, yes, we thought about choosing one old and one new villain and Vanya came up with the idea to pick Baron Saturday. Our “Media” villain, on the other hand, is actually from the series American Gods.

Now tell me a little bit about what was going on behind the scenes when you were preparing for the show.

Vanya: We did have to do all the video editing, choreographing and plot writing after our classes so, yes, I did lose a lot of sleep because of it. But I still think that it was an absolutely wonderful experience. Initially we had only three people in our group chat then three more people came…. Then five more people came… In the end, there were around 35 people helping us in one way or another and I loved it! They were so nice and supportive.

Kamilla: Let’s be real. We weren’t a 100 per cent prepared. Yes, of course me and Vanya spent a lot of time writing those scripts, jokes, music etc. And we had to do our dance rehearsals at night. It was fun! But we only got to go through our whole performance three times before the actual event simply because it was extremely hard to find a particular day when all of the people on our team would be free. However, I guess, it all worked out in the end and our performance was just as impressive as we wanted it to be!

Finally, the day of the event. The 6th of March. How did you feel right before going on stage? How was the show?

Vanya: We were so nervous. Came really early to do our makeup and had to wait for other people from our team to come to do the last rehearsal. Had to make sure everything was alright. And then, right before going on stage – that’s when you can’t help it but get the chills. As soon as the show starts, though, you totally forget about that.

All the people on our team did an amazing job, we managed to show everything we wanted and, judging by the audience’s reaction – people also liked it. I was fully satisfied.

The event itself, as a whole, was really cool. All the performances were so different, yet all connected by the same theme. All of it could only be possible with such an amazing team of organizers that we had.

Kamilla: I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. It was my first time performing on stage and I was absolutely terrified thinking that something could go wrong. I swear, my hands were trembling when I was helping Vanya to put the makeup on. I could feel the tension in the air but, luckily, our curators and other participants were really supportive and tried to calm me down. As soon as we got on stage, I could feel my fears slowly disappear. And even though I know that I made a couple of mistakes (that nobody including me noticed before we watched the video), I just enjoyed the moment. In general, I am very satisfied with how it all turned out. Even though we didn’t have that much time to practice, everyone on our team did their best and I personally think that it was just amazing.

Is there a particular moment you remember vividly? Do you think that you made the right decision when you agreed to participate?

Vanya: In terms of the things that amazed me and left a deep impression, I would choose our wonderful teamwork and, I guess, all the funny jokes from other performances. If I had to pick a particular moment that I think I will remember for a long time… After names of the winners were announced, our classmates, friends, other people from our major gathered on stage around us. That’s when I thought “I am home”, “I love these people and I know that all of it was worth it”.

Kamilla: One thing I know for sure is that It was definitely worth it. I met so many new friends and finally got to know what it feels like to be on stage. I would actually highly recommend it for anyone who is thinking about participating. I think the most memorable moment of that night was when I heard the judges announce our names. Because I didn’t expect it at all! I was just standing there thinking how cool all of the other performances were and then I heard my own name and simply couldn’t believe it.

P.S. Special thanks to Vanya and Kamilla who agreed to dedicate their precious time to tell me this story and hopefully, inspire some of you to participate in HSE events in the future.

Interview by
Nadezhda Bykova