Understanding that the title of this article will evoke grumbles from those who proclaim to be connoisseurs of female attributes, let’s make the following clarification: Latin American as well as all women worldwide are amazingly sexy, sensual, alluring, erotic, amatorious and yes, ultimately beautiful.
However, it is also well known when it comes to winning beauty pageants, the Venezuelan women are the undeniable champions.
The term “beautiful woman” conjures multifaceted qualities substantially harder to describe than many of single dimensional compliments such as the ones described above. It is perhaps for this reason the “Big Four” international beauty pageants — Miss World, Miss Universe, Miss Earth and Miss International — judge the women competitors based on poise, elegance, confidence, physical fitness and intelligence
The qualities these pageants seek in the women that come to compete for the title of the most beautiful, are varied and difficult to fulfill. Competitors must have a clear vision of how they will use their title in order to benefit themselves as well as others. They must show a desire to be a role model and advance women’s causes.
Pageant participants must also be intelligent and articulate with a clear sense of direction in their lives. They must show wit, hard work, personality, public speaking ability and they must be able to engage in debate. All of this while showing a great deal of sensitivity and compassion. And of course they must be physically beautiful in the eyes of the judges.
The two countries that have produced the most Miss Universe title holders are the United States and Venezuela with seven winners each. In the case of Miss World, again both countries are tied with six winners each.
However, when taking into consideration all four pageants, the indisputable overall winner is Venezuela with a total of twenty-three title holders. Eight winners at Miss International; six at Miss World; seven at Miss Universe; two at Miss Earth. This is an astonishing accomplishment for a developing country of less than 32 million inhabitants.
A lot has been written trying to decipher Venezuela’s formula for success. Some question whether the women in this Latin American country are truly beautiful or if there is something else at play.
A Way to Escape Poverty
Some people have claimed that in a struggling economy such as the one Venezuela is experiencing, young women use beauty pageants as a way to escape poverty. There seems to be a great deal of truth to this statement, especially considering that beauty competitions in this country are immensely popular and Venezuelan women see them as a path to careers in acting, modeling, journalism, even politics.
Additionally, as a response to the demand created by a large portion of the young female population who wish to compete in pageantry, an entire beauty mill industry has emerged. Hundreds of organizations countrywide known as “Miss Factories”, have been created that are made up of modeling and talent agencies surrounded by glamour boot camps, plastic surgery clinics, pageant coaches, competition gown tailors, cosmetic vendors as well as consultants.
Competition for these women comes at a high price as many contestants come from poor families who live below or close to the poverty line. Their families are often forced to take loans or mortgage their homes in order to finance the large monetary cost of creating a beautiful face and physique for their daughters.The additional ornaments, accessories, paid instruction on deportment and modeling etiquette add to the overall financial burden.
As any other women entering a modeling or acting career, they are susceptible to sexual harassment and exploitation. In fact, the Miss Venezuela pageant was recently rocked by a scandal involving aspiring contestants financing their efforts by finding wealthy men to pay for their expenses in exchange for sex. The ensued opprobrium, causing the pageant to be suspended and an internal investigation to be launched.
Tragedy Hits Beauty Queen After Escaping Crime
Beauty Pageants and the Beauty Craze
In spite of scandal and the social media uproar, the TV viewership during the annual Miss Venezuela pageant continues to reach the millions as the country is held in suspense while the contestants parade on stage. As the country suffers from food shortages, the murder rate rises and medicine shortages are responsible for the early deaths of countless Venezuelans, this industry continues to dazzle the population. The allure of beautiful women in stiletto heels, sleek bikinis, extravagant gowns and jewelry continues to capture people’s imagination by fueling the dreams of little girls with parents who envision stardom and wealth.
But beauty pageants are only one dimension of the beauty craze. The women in Caracas as well as all other metropolitan areas are obsessed with their looks. Walk down any major city in Venezuela at any time of day or night, and you will see women perfectly manicured and pedicured. Wearing impeccable make-up, tight designer jeans with stiletto heels or sumptuous evening wear.
Women from all walks of life or socioeconomic levels will spend more than a month’s salary for designer clothing. These same women will go into debt for breast implants, a face lift, or liposuction. In fact, the demand for plastic surgery is so high, that banks offer attractive loans for the procedures. Ironically, one bank uses the advertising slogan that says: “Pon tu plástico en tu plástico” or “Have your plastic in your plastic”, as a way of enticing women to charge their cosmetic surgery to their credit cards.
Even plastic surgeons have become celebrities, as clients fly into Caracas from all over the world to be treated by the same physicians who have worked on famous beauty contestants or queens. As an added benefit, these clients pay reduced prices due to a struggling economy and a devalued Venezuelan bolivar.
A Dream Come True
Girl from the Slums Becomes Miss Venezuela
A dream come true. The 2018 title of Miss Venezuela went to a woman from the country’s biggest slums, proving to hundreds of thousands of girls and their parents a similar fortune could await them.
Her name is Isabella Rodriguez, 25, and is a resident of Caracas’ largest impoverished area called Petare. As the home to well over half million inhabitants, Petare, is the kind of town where the average monthly wage hovers around $100 per month. Rampant crime, lack of medical services and food shortages have been increasing since the complete collapse of the Venezuelan economy some five years ago. Even prior to the implosion of the country’s economy, Petare was not the type of area members of the police force would be venturing into, unless well armed and in large force.