Gypsies go by many names: Roma, Travellers, Gitanos, etc. Depending on where in the world they are, they’re known as different things, and they look different as well. Most people, when picturing a gypsy woman, have a certain image in their head of crystal balls, colorful head scarves, lots of gold jewelry, and long, flowing dresses. That’s the stereotypical vision of a gypsy, and it’s a beautiful one. Gypsy women, young and old, from near and far, are gorgeous people, and their fascinating lifestyle makes them even more appealing.
TLC has helped shed some light on the gypsy culture in the United States with their shows My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding and its spin-off, Gypsy Sisters. But there are so many more gypsy cultures to explore both in America and around the world. They all have beautiful women, some who look like the stereotypical gypsy and some who do not. But most are exotic in at least one way or another. This is a list of 15 of them.
Some of the following 15 ladies may look familiar to you because they were part of the TLC shows. Most, however, will be fresh faces from gypsy and Traveller communities around the world. All of them possess a certain je ne sais quoi that makes them mysterious, alluring, and very exotic. Keep reading to see photos of these 15 enticing real-life, modern-day gypsy women.
15. She Only Looks Sweet and Innocent
This is JoAnn Wells, middle sister of Nettie and Mellie Stanley. Together, the trio makes up the Gypsy Sisters, a TLC show all about the lives of these women. They were first seen on the show My Big Fat American Gyspy Wedding before getting their own show. Located in West Virginia, the clan are Romanichal gypsies. JoAnn is a 33-year-old mom of two and a divorcee as of 2007. Gypsy Sisters was canceled in 2015 due to low ratings, but before that, JoAnn got in some legal trouble when she defrauded Target out of more than $14,000 by using fake coupons. She pled guilty and was sentenced to 24 months of supervised probation. She had been working with two Target cashiers that she had befriended, and they ran the fake barcodes, accepted expired coupons, and cashed gift cards for JoAnn. Both cashiers were also arrested.
14. Romanian Beauty Pageant
If there’s one thing we know gypsy women love, it’s extravagance. Just look at their lavish weddings complete with princess ballgowns and luxurious details fit for a queen. They love sparkles, makeup, and big hairdos. While a lot of times, it ends up looking trashy, the Miss Piranda pageant in Romania sees the Roma women looking extravagant without looking like they just came from the trailer park. This pageant is akin to the Miss America pageant in the United States. These photos of two of the gypsy contestants getting ready and posing before going on stage were taken at the pageant in 2011. The girls look like belly dancers or colorful versions of Princess Jasmine from Aladdin, but they look classy even dressed, so flashy and decked-out. The gypsy sisters in America could learn a lesson or two from these ladies, their fellow gypsies across the sea.
13. Traveller Twins
Some gypsies are known as “Irish Travellers” or just “Travellers.” These twins, Kat and Mitka Donoghue, are two of them. Irish Travellers are mostly found in the United Kingdom, but there are not very many of them. A 2006 census reported that there were just over 22,000 Travellers in Ireland and around 2,000 in Northern Ireland. There’s a small population in the United States as well, but estimates vary from 10,000-40,000, and they divide themselves up by state, calling themselves “Georgia Travellers,” “Ohio Travellers,” etc. Most Travellers are Roman Catholic and speak Shelta, Cant, or other Irish Traveller languages and dialects. Like the more familiar Roma gypsies, Travellers often lack education, commonly engage in teenage marriage, and have been a target of discrimination and prejudice.
12. Miss Ireland Pageant’s First-Ever Gypsy
Sarah Jane Dunne was the first-ever Traveller woman to take part in the Miss Ireland competition. She’s the daughter of a traditional musician, storyteller, and activist, and a proud Traveller herself. She now works as a school teacher in London and models part-time. The Trinity College graduate wants to represent her community and lifestyle in a positive way to make people see Travellers in a better light. She said in an interview, “I’m on a platform now where I’m seen as positive representation of the Travelling community, and I am very happy with that.” She explained that many Traveller women don’t further their education, and she wants to hopefully inspire others with her gypsy background to do so.
11. Gypsy Sister and Troublemaker
Another modern-day gypsy that many people know of is Annie Johnston of Gypsy Sisters. Her real name is “Angela Malone,” but she goes by “Annie Johnston.” So, how is she related to the other gypsies on the show? She’s the cousin of sisters Mellie, JoAnn, and Nettie. Like JoAnn, she’s gotten into some legal trouble of her own. Annie was arrested and charged with multiple felonies, including exploitation of an elderly or disabled person. She was also charged with various other felonies, like forgery (including writing a bad check), and obtaining property under false pretenses, as well as conspiring to do so. Luckily, Mellie was there to bail her out with $400 that many suspect was given to her by TLC since she likely didn’t have it herself. At least Annie is hot — just look at this beach pic of the gypsy sister!
10. On The Lookout For Their Future Husbands
This photo was taken at the Ballinasloe Horse Fair in 2016. The annual festival is an ancient Irish tradition and a meeting place for Irish Travellers. It takes place in County Galway, Ireland, and in 2016, 80,000 people attended. Travellers mostly live in caravans in encampments and are probably closer to what we think of as gypsies than are the Roma gypsies we see on TV. They live a nomadic lifestyle and have been coming to this fair since the 1700s. The two women in this photo are Diana O’Leary and Maria O’Donnell from County Carlow, Ireland. They told one news source that they might find their future husbands at the festival and said, ” We’re here with our families who have been coming for years. It’s good fun. The boys go drinking after the wheeling and dealing, and then the girls get ‘grabbed.'” They’re referring to the practice in both Traveller and Roma culture of a boy “flirting” with a girl by trying to kiss her and literally grabbing her to do so.
9. Romanian Ruby
Gypsy women have a way of looking much younger than they really are, perhaps because they go through everything in life younger than most people do, such as getting married and having babies (teen marriage is a common thing within the gypsy culture). This beauty is 28-year-old Romanian singer Ana Claudia Grigore, but she goes by her professional name, “Ruby Scene.” She’s done well for herself in Europe and especially her home country of Romania, which is where many gypsies still live. Ruby, herself, is a gypsy, and as such, she really has the stereotypical gypsy look: long dark hair, olive skin, and tattoos, and even in photos, she gives off the vibe that she’s fun and free-spirited.
8. Spanish Gypsy Beauty Pageant
This photo was taken at an annual Spanish gypsy beauty pageant called “Miss Gitana Euskadi.” This gorgeous gypsy woman was photographed in 2014 as she walked the catwalk in the pageant. The organizers of the pageant are an association of gypsy women dedicated to creating events for Roma women. Several girls are chosen from different locations around the country to then compete in the bigger pageant, much like we do in the United States when each state chooses a woman to represent them in them in the Miss America pageant. The winner is crowned “Miss Gitana of Spanish State.” Romani people in Spain are generally called “gitanos,” thus the Miss Gitana pageant title. It takes place in the country of Spain, where there are an estimated one million Romani people living. France has deported them, but Spain has integrated them.
7. Russian Gypsy Performer
This exotic Roma woman is named “Sevil Shishkova,” and she’s a Russian gypsy performer. At first glance, one might assume she’s Indian from her looks, and indeed, the gypsy culture did originate in the Northern part of India before they migrated all over the world. With Sevil’s long, thick black hair and gorgeous bronze skin, thinking she was Indian would be an easy mistake to make. In fact, if she resembles anyone, it would be Quantico actress and former Miss World 2000 Priyanka Chopra, who actually is Indian. But Sevil Shishkova is from Russia, and she’s known for dressing like a traditional gypsy and performing as one through dance and other art forms.
6. TLC’s Controversial Gyps
This is Mellie Stanley, a Roma gypsy and one of the stars of TLC’s Gypsy Sisters. The 28-year-old was the show’s most controversial cast member. This May, she wed George Lee, Jr., her youngest daughter’s father, and the wedding was very un-gypsy-like. Normally, the women go all out and wear over-the-top dresses, makeup, and hair. But this was far from her first wedding, and she toned things down — a lot. The casual affair took place outside at a park in Kentucky, and they didn’t even dress up. In fact, Mellie wore a Victoria’s Secret Pink shirt! Hopefully, George is a step up from her other husbands. Her first husband, Danny Cooper, locked her in their trailer. Danny #2, Danny Stanley, beat her up, causing her to miscarry his child. Hubby #3, Robby York, was her husband for all of six days before she said she was ready for a divorce. And one of them killed her dog in the heat of an argument. She really knows how to pick them.
5. The World’s Largest Gypsy Festival
In the English Cumbrian town of Appleby, there’s the largest gathering of gypsies in Western Europe, and this festival is called the “Appleby Horse Fair.” It takes place every year in June and is attended by 10,000 gypsies and Travellers and 30,000 others. People come from all over to the picturesque little town to buy and sell horses, meet friends and potential future spouses, and celebrate the gypsy culture. It’s an array of colorful carriages, horses being washed in the River Eden, and campfires. It’s considered to be like a big family get-together for gypsies, but some people don’t appreciate this event and accuse the attendees of leaving a mess in the town, committing violent crimes, and practicing animal cruelty. The girls in these pictures above don’t look like rabble-rousers, however, and seem to simply be enjoying themselves at the world’s largest gathering of its kind.
4. A Devilish Gypsy With Angel Wings
This is My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding star Eden Boswell, who married her husband, Elvis Boswell, on the show. My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding predates its sister show, Gypsy Sisters, but is still all about gypsy culture. And this girl gives Mellie a run for her money when it comes to who’s the most controversial gypsy around! In 2014, an eight-months-pregnant Eden was the maid of honor at a friend’s wedding, but she stole the wedding rings, the bride-to-be’s purse, and $1,000 in honeymoon cash that was inside of it! The crime occurred just before the ceremony. Someone was later able to identify Eden by the angel wing tattoo on her back. The total value of the stolen items was more than $6,000! Luckily, the bride and groom were able to get married after a lengthy delay, but it was still a sad day because the bride learned that her bestie was not to be trusted.
3. Gypsy Traveller’s Day Out Festival
This colorful photo was snapped in 2015 at the annual Traveller’s Day Out festival in Cambridge, England. It’s yet another gathering for gypsies and Travellers, who, with all their festivals, seem to know how to have a good time and enjoy life. However, just looking at this photo, it could just as easily have been taken at any fair or carnival in the United States. Especially with the red, white, and blue colors of this particular photograph, it looks oh-so American. But apparently, even gypsies love slushies and latte (because who doesn’t?). Despite the setting that looks decidedly American, this gypsy girl does look like the typical gypsy, with long dark hair, hoop earrings, and a flashy outfit.
2. Gypsies Can Be Blonde!
This gypsy sister is just about to turn 19. She’s Danielle Williams of TLC’s Gypsy Sisters, meaning she’s a Roma gypsy like the rest of her family. Danielle is the daughter of Kayla Williams, Annie’s sister. Danielle is married to Richard Williams, who’s also her mother’s ex — and her cousin! The relationships to everyone else go on and on, and honestly, it’s a bit exhausting trying to figure it all out. Danielle is our first (and last) blonde gypsy on this list because usually, gypsies are thought of as having darker features since they were originally from Northern India and are associated with Romania and Eastern Europe. Of course, the light hair that we see in this photo of Danielle isn’t natural, but it does look good on her. And the hot-pink hoop earrings, studded belt, and sparkling sneakers are all so gypsy of her!
1. Gypsy Television Star
This list will start and end with gypsy sister JoAnn. Here she is again, being sassy in two different Instagram posts. Side by side, dressed in black and white, she looks like she’s depicting good versus evil or something. To refresh your memory, from the beginning of this list, JoAnn is the one who got busted for using fake coupons at Target (I know — just like the family tree, their foolish crimes are hard to keep track of). But basically, the Target scandal is the only thing she’s been up to in the years since Gypsy Sisters was canceled. Well, it’s the only thing that’s made headlines, anyway. She’s probably off living her fabulous gypsy life with her millions of intertwining family members and continuing to look good doing it.
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