With the exception of Miss World, all renowned beauty competitions include a swimsuit segment. The importance it takes in the determination of the final result varies from system to system, but it cannot be denied that the figure of the contestant is responsible for a significant part of her total score.

You would assume this would indicate that as a contestant you have to strive for the perfect body. Nothing is further from the truth.

To begin with, what exactly is the perfect figure?


Over the years the perception of the ideal figure has changed considerably. Miss Universe contestants in the Fifties and early Sixties would be considered “zaftig” by today’s standard (ABOVE PHOTO) and if they saw today’s delegates (PHOTO BELOW) they would probably urge them to have a hamburger.

Miss Universe 2015

In the heyday of pageantry the measurements 36-24-36 (inches for chest-waist-hips) were considered to be the ideals to strive for. Note however that if you are 5’2” with the measurements 36-24-36 you will look quite different than if you are 6’ with the same. Another thing is that you could be a bodybuilder with those ideal measurements. There is nothing wrong with that, yet that is not a look favoured by beauty pageants.

Then there is the pesky issue of proportions. How are your legs? Are they short, long or just right? A yardstick for evaluation indicates that the distance from the top of the thighs to the ground should be the same as the distance between the same starting point and the top of your head. Whatever the ideal may be, proportions are something you are born with and are not changeable or operable.

Take a look at Miss Universe 2014 in 2015, Paulina Vega. For many she won because she has a perfect figure. If you look closely though you will notice that her hips are considerably wider than her chest area. In her case, she does have the benefit of having wide shoulders.

Paulina through her walk and poses created the illusion of perfection. Her figure at Miss Universe was very lean and that is the first requirement for a winning swimsuit performance. Leanness and firmness are the operative words. Any perceived disproportion is then dealt with through your walk and posing to create the illusion of perfection, by beauty pageant standards.

The choice of swimsuit can also go a long way in helping you achieve perfection, but not all pageant systems allow their participants to bring their own competition swimwear.

So, to prepare yourself for the swimsuit competition first and foremost eat healthy and exercise. Once you have achieved the best fitness result for you, familiarise yourself with your body. Then find yourself a catwalk coach that is able to not just teach you how to walk and pose, but most importantly to design a swimsuit performance that is going to win you that portion of your competition.

Photo credits: Marcos Hirakawa, Emil Naquib, Miss Universe Organization



Published by

Richard John Isa

Emerging photographer and Pageant Consultant

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