THE BEAUTIES FROM LEIPZIGNine women of around forty years of age – when they were twenty, the GDR still existed. Back then they all wanted to be “Miss Leipzig”. Now they are either married or still single, one of them is divorced. They all have children or are about to have them. They are now living in Switzerland, Dubai, in the west of Germany or still in Leipzig.
It all began here in May 1989 when the “Leipziger Volkszeitung” was looking for “Miss Leipzig 1989”. But good looks and a bust were not all that was sought – the candidates also had to know all about their own city and its history. Only a few months before the autumn of 1989 that was to change everything, an unusual number of unusual candidates applied. Most of them simply wanted to take part in a beauty contest, but there were also many who were hoping to change their lives.
Leipzig photographer Gerhard Gäbler, who was a student at the time, took photographs of twenty of these candidates: at their workplace and at home. These images of young women in typical GDR interiors now represent an important historical record of the era. Fortunately, the photographer also had a tape recorder with him for short interviews. Eighteen years later, Gunther Scholz and Gerhard Gäbler paid these women a visit – and discovered a wide variety of different paths in life. One woman, now a chambermaid at a top-notch hotel in Leipzig, was making breadsticks two decades ago; another who was not allowed to study medicine in the GDR at the time, is now a successful interior designer. Yet another woman was a youth leader but knew even then that this was the wrong profession for her; she resigned from her job in the GDR and suddenly found herself unemployed, in spite of socialism … Nine women discuss their lives. Back in 1989, they made a bid to step out into the limelight. In this film we find out what has changed for them since then.