The Bizarre World Of Venezuelan Beauty Pageants

When Miss Venezuela Stefania Fernandez, 18, was crowned Miss Universe, she got so excited she could barely keep the crown on her head. It’s the second year in a row that a Venezuelan has won the tiara, and the sixth win since the pageant began. So why all the wins? Because in Venezuela, beauty pageants are kind of like a national sport. After the jump, the insane details of this pageant-obsessed culture.

  • Thousands of girls enter the Miss Venezuela competition and those who are chosen go to Osmel Sousa’s “Miss Venezuela Academy,” a beauty school in the mountains. The contestants are coached in fitness, speech, makeup and modeling. [Mirror UK]
  • The students’ teachers are supposed to “make them perfect.” Contestants go, go, go from eight in the morning to ten at night and the ones who are headed for international competitions have to stay for one year. One contestant said, it’s “exactly like a military school.” [Times Online]
  • Contestants are always told to lose 20 pounds. They eat tuna, pineapple and “green leaves” and must run, lift weights, hike, swim and do yoga every day. Weigh-ins are at the end of every week. []
  • Last year about 15,000 fans turned out to watch the Miss Venezuela competition in person and millions more saw it on the boob tube, making it the country’s most watched TV show. [Times Online]
  • Because plastic surgery is relatively cheap in this country, many contestants get nose jobs, liposuction and breast implants. The beauty school employs dental docs who have been known to cut girls’ gums so their teeth look bigger. []
  • This beauty-obsessed culture leaks into everyday life, too. An estimated one-fifth of Venezuelans’ disposable income is spent on beauty products, which is crazy considering 80 percent of the peeps in this country live below the poverty line. []

Is anyone else mildly creeped out by all this? At least they don’t have beauty pageants for little boys.