Andrea Csilla /'tfilla/ Molnár, born on 20 January 1969 in Kaposvár, lived in Fonyód since 1972 with her brother and parents, who kept a restaurant there. She pursued her studies in Fonyód, both in primary and secondary school. She attended the Frigyes Karikás (present-day King Matthias) Secondary Grammar School.
Csilla entered the beauty contest in the early spring of 1985. A classmate of her found a newspaper announcement for the contest and suggested Csilla that they should apply together for it. Accepting the proposal, Csilla advised her parents on the announcement. Moreover, she also admitted that she had not only taken the photo needed for the application but even had already submitted the completed entry form.
People with any experience in the catering trade at Lake Balaton can be aware of the vast amount of work needed for being prepared for the season. Csilla told her mother about the contest in the midst of those preparations. It might have been the reason why the mother paid no special attention to the event and allowed Csilla to have a try. (One should not forget that in 1985, the Hungarian did not have the slightest idea of how such a contest goes.) At the same time, but for a few exceptional periods, Csilla's father forbade and objected to the whole thing from beginning to end. He might be worried about her or even surmise something - who knows?…
Out of over 2000 contestants 600 got into the qualifying rounds taking place on six locations of the country, among them Pécs, wherein Csilla was to participate. As her class was making an excursion on the same day and at that time none of the classmates was aware of the two girls' entry to the beauty contest, Csilla wrote a letter asking for an opportunity to be on stage at another venue.
So she entered for the round of Budapest held in Hotel Penta. At the end both Csilla and her classmate qualified for the next round.
The next round also took place in several locations. Csilla appeared on stage in the presence of the panel of judges at the Hotel Nádor, in Pécs. The contestants had to bring themselves specified pieces of clothes. In selecting the appropriate clothes, Klári Balázs*, a friend of the family and a frequent guest in the family restaurant, assisted Csilla, who - as most of the teenagers - did not have any outfits.
Judit Kruppa also took part in this round in Pécs and they ended in a draw. Both of them were declared to be the winner of that round. Unfortunately, Csilla's classmate did not qualify for the next round.
Hardly a week later came the last round held in the Hotel Fórum, in Budapest. Here specific outlets were also required. Even though they could hardly afford to purchase any and her father also fully objected to it, Csilla's classmates were generously helpful and they lent their best clothes in plenty. A hard job started for choosing the most suitable pieces of clothes for Csilla. Most debates were generated by selecting the proper one-piece swimsuit - Csilla liked one very much but her mother tried and talked out of that. However, the young lady won through in the end. Csilla appeared on the stage in the swimsuit preferred by her and she received lower scores from certain juries as they judged that the swimsuit, she wore at the previous round, suited her much better. Therefore, Csilla was placed fourth, while Judit Kruppa won the round again.
The big day of the contest was 5 October 1985, when the final was held in the brand new building of the Congress Centre of Budapest. The contestants arrived there early in the morning for the full rehearsal. Finally, at 9 o'clock in the evening the show started with a hymn written for this particular occasion.
The ladies were marching on the stage wearing first evening dress and then one- and two-piece swimsuits. Behind the curtains, everybody was much excited. There was a TV set in the dressing room, so the girls were able to follow the event on stage and also learned the scores immediately.
After some performances, such as a parody and a rock-and-roll song it was high time for the announcement of the final results. All the 25 girls, each holding a flower, appeared on the stage in their already well-known one-piece swimsuits. Regarding the extra prizes, Gabriella Klem received the CAOLA prize, the FOTEX prize was granted to Zita Kalmár, while Veronika Füstös won that prize of the Budapest Tourist Agency and also the title of "The Beauty of Budapest".
Then the names of the winners were announced: Veronika Füstös was placed the third, Judit Kruppa the second and CSILLA ANDREA MOLNÁR the first.
The Beauty Contest, 'Miss Europe International 1986' was organised by the Miss Austria Corporation and sponsored by the Austrian TABAK.
The 24 girls coming from European countries first met in Munich, the city which they were told to be the host for preparing for the contest. On the contrary, within a couple of busy days, there were hundreds of photos taken of them and they also had to take part in several fashion and TV shows, without any payment. Moreover, Csilla had been told to bring her crown to the contest in Malta as all the girls were going to do so. The Hungarian organisers refused to insure the crown worth of HUF 70,000 at that time, so Csilla kept it at herself, all the time during the travel.
Leaving Münich for Malta they arrived on 25 February 1986 at the Dragonara Palace Hotel. In accordance with the official programme, they appeared on stage at the 'Milde Sorte' fashion show in the hotel restaurant on that evening at 7 o'clock pm. Then, the Miss Europe beauty contest started in the 'Casino de Malte', a part of the hotel, at 7:30 pm on 28 February.
The girls appeared in folk clothes, then in evening dresses and later in swimsuits. The juries could grant 6 points each for a contestant. Based on the total result, Csilla received the most i.e. 60 scores. There were dead heats in the second and the third place: both the Swedish and the Spanish girls received 55 scores whereas the French and the Austrian 56, respectively. The jury asked the five girls to come to the stage again. They were standing there for two minutes without receiving any scores then the final result was announced. Surprisingly, the Swedish girl, Raquel Bruhn taken originally the second place won the contest. The French lady, Cecile Lartique took the second place (at first she was the third) and Csilla, who received the most points during the contest, ended in the third place.
At this time, it was also revealed for what Csilla's crown had to be taken to Malta as nobody else brought their crowns there. In fact, the Hungarian organiser offered for the company responsible for the Miss Europe contest that it is no need to fabricate a crown for this occasion, but instead, they were going to send one with the Hungarian beauty queen. So Csilla's crown was taken to Raquel Bruhn's head and this photo appeared all around the world. (Anyway, the crown got back to Hungary but Csilla never got it back; after her death the manufacturer, the Fabulissimo offered the crown for the family.)
The reason why Csilla took only the third place with maximum scores has never been revealed. Nobody explained it to Csilla either. Recently, according to experts, there are various possible explanations for the final results. First, the organisers might have wanted to elect Miss Europe from none of the socialist countries. Second, the rules of the contest might have included a clause, pursuant to which in case of draw the first five girls had to re-appear on stage and be scored again regardless to any previous results. Regrettably, neither of the versions has been proved to date. Nevertheless, the decision hurt Csilla. She said that it had been better to receive lower scores right at the beginning as in that case she would have been more than happy with taking the third place.
To be continued...