Tania Verstak

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Tania Verstak
Born (1940-11-20) 20 November 1940 (age 83)
Tianjin, China
  • Barry Ross
  • Peter Young
ChildrenNina Young
Beauty pageant titleholder
  • Miss Australia 1961
  • Miss International 1962

Tania Verstak (born 20 November 1940) is an Australian model and beauty queen who won Miss International 1962.

Early life[edit]

Verstak was born in Tianjin, China, to Russian couple Vladimir and Valentina Verstak. They emigrated to Australia when she was 10 years old and settled in Manly, New South Wales. In 1961, she became the first migrant to win the Miss Australia title.[1][2]


Yellow dress worn by Verstak as Australia's "national costume" at the Miss International 1962 pageant, now held by the National Museum of Australia

Even before going on to compete in Miss International, Verstak's victory in the national pageant was already seen as a small but significant shift in the traditional articulation of the Australian feminine ideal, attributed to the infusion of European values to the Anglo-Australian fabric, at a time when beauty pageants were the craze in Australia.[3]

Verstak went on to win the Miss International title in Long Beach, California. Thus, the victory further endeared her to the Australian public, demonstrating their pride and approval of Tania Verstak as the embodiment of perfect Australian womanhood and as the image of Australia as a modern nation,[3] even though in the terminology of the time for immigrants, she was a "new Australian".

Verstak's first relationship was with former Channel 7 rugby league commentator, 'sideline eye' Barry Ross. After an acrimonious split, Verstak later married a Perth businessman, Peter Young. Their daughter is the actress Nina Young.


  1. ^ "Tania Verstak". ABC. Archived from the original on 11 April 2004.
  2. ^ Morcombe, John (25 February 2021). "Tania Verstak: The Manly beauty queen". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2 October 2021.
  3. ^ a b Ustinoff, Julie; Saunders, Kay (2004). "Celebrity, nation, and the New Australian woman: Tania verstak, miss Australia 1961". Journal of Australian Studies. 28 (83): 61–73. doi:10.1080/14443050409387974. ISSN 1444-3058. S2CID 144434679.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by Miss International
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Rosemary Fenton
Miss International Australia
Succeeded by
Tricia Reschke