YOU! Your Best Hair and Make-up Artist for an International Beauty Pageant

The last few years, the hair and make-up artists at Miss Universe have left quite a lot to be desired. Davina Bennett, Miss Jamaica and Second Runner-up in 2017, complained that she had wanted to change her do for the evening wear round but that there had been no time. We do believe that a change of hairdo, showing the versatility of Miss Bennett’s afro, would have worked to her advantage.

 

Other contestants at Miss Universe in the past couple of years have also been less than impressed with the way they had to look as a result of using the hair and make-up services provided.

Our most important recommendation to contestants on a national, and definitely on an international, level is to learn how to do your own hair and make-up. It is the best investment you can make in your pageant career.

The ideal hair and make-up situation is for every contestant to have her own. As this will never happen, you will probably have to get up really early in the morning to make it to the hair and make-up room, stand in line to wait your turn and deal with issues that may arise with the person working with you. That person may not like you, for whatever reason, or they may believe you are a serious threat to their favourite contestant. Do you sincerely believe that in those cases professionalism will prevail and you will get to look the very best you can? If you do, I have a used car from the Seventies to sell to you.

Another issue is when you have a hairstyle that is uncommon to the stylist assigned to you. That stylist make not have the required experience and skill level to style your hair properly in the allotted time.

Doing your own hair and make-up may seem like a daunting task, but is that not what you do every day of your life?

The first step is to find a hairstylist and a make-up artist that you trust and whose work you are satisfied with.  

With your hairstylist develop around 5 hair styles that you like and learn how to do them on your own. After you have mastered each style, by practising one of them each day, start changing from one style to another and vice versa. Time yourself and see which changes are the quickest to execute. This is so you may have one style for daytime and then quickly change to another for evening activities.

For the actual competition, make sure you start out with at least one style, then change to another for evening wear. It is important to pick two styles where the change is easy and fast to make.

With make-up it is in fact much easier. You need to develop one style, in neutral colours, for daytime, one that will highlight your best features and draw attention away from anything you are unhappy with.

From fashionmagazine.com, a subtle change from daytime to nighttime

Once you have you your daytime look, your nighttime look is simply an intensification of the colours. Your stage look is just making the nighttime look stronger to withstand stage lights. The only major change would be lip colour.

From fashionmagazine.com, a more intense change from daytime to nighttime

Once you have defined your looks, have your make-up artist teach you how to do it yourself and then perfection at your local or international pageant is simply a matter of practice, practice, practice.

 

 

 

Discrimination in Beauty Pageants

The trending topic in beauty pageants these days is the issue of allowing the participation of transgender women. Right now it applies specifically to the Miss Universe pageant and this discussion is one that actually started in 2001.

Elodie Gossuin
Elodie Gossuin

A rumour, started in France and which spread like wildfire at the 2001 Miss Universe contest in Puerto Rico, alleged that Miss France, Elodie Gossuin, was in fact a transgender woman. This turned out to be just that, a rumour, but it led the Miss Universe Organization to change its rules to indicate that only “naturally born women” were allowed to compete. For many years, little else was said about transgender women competing at Miss Universe or any of its national preliminaries.

The rules were changed again in 2012. Jenna Talackova, a transgender woman who had previously competed at the Miss International Queen Pageant, a transgender competition  in Thailand, was denied entry into the Miss Universe Canada competition. She filed suit against the Miss Universe Organization, alleging discrimination.

Jenna Talackova
Jenna Talackova

The Miss Universe Pageant announced that Talackova could compete as long as she met “the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions.”

The Organization denied the change was a result of the lawsuit and Paula Shugart, President of the Miss Universe Organization, indicated that “the decision to include transgender women in our beauty competitions is a result of our ongoing discussions with GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and not Jenna’s legal representation”. Shugart stated further that the Miss Universe Organization has “a long history of supporting equality for all women, and this was something we took very seriously.”

Jenna Talackova made the semi-finals at Miss Universe Canada, but did not win the right to compete at Miss Universe. Since then, little else was said about transgender women competing at Miss Universe or any of its national pageants.

All of that changed in 2018. Hot on the tails of Ines Supa becoming the first transgender Playboy Playmate in December 2017, Talleen Abu-Hannah made headlines worldwide as the first transgender woman to compete for the title of Miss Israel.

Talleen Abu Hanna
Talleen Abu Hanna

The gorgeous Talleen was a huge favourite and was expected to become the first transgender woman to compete at Miss Universe. She made Top 4 but did not win the title of Miss Universe Israel.

Then came Angela Ponce, a successful and well-known Spanish model, who in 2015 competed for the title of Miss World Spain (at the concentration she was in fact the roommate of Mireia Lalaguna, who would go on to win the competition and later the Miss World crown).

Angela Ponce
Angela Ponce

Angela joined Miss Universe Spain 2018 and this time she did win the major price. We think that Angela made history as the first transgender woman to win the right to compete at Miss Universe (We say think because for all we know, transgender women may have already competed without anyone, or just a few, knowing).

Angela became and continues to be a trending topic worldwide and views on transgender women competing in beauty pageants conceived for cisgender women are very polarised. Various former Miss Universe and national titleholders have expressed their opposition to the opening of their pageants to transgender women (one has to wonder though, why they did not come forward when the rules were changed, or in the six years since, if their opposition is a matter of principle).

We have to ask though, what is the principle at hand? That depends on how you view beauty pageants. Are they a competition or a, rather elaborate, job application process?

As a competition, a beauty pageant is an inherently discriminatory activity because it is not open to everyone. Furthermore, it is a discriminatory activity that we have accepted for many decades. On top of that, groups that were excluded adapted by creating their own, exclusive competitions.

Opening up a competition to one of those excluded groups, does not make it less discriminatory, just more inclusive. The door is still open for another excluded group to challenge its right to participate. Unless you open that competition to everyone, it will always remain discriminatory.

The Miss Universe Pageant started because one Miss America refused to model Catalina swimwear. Catalina then decided to create another process through which to select a spokesmodel and hence Miss Universe was born. This makes the contest in fact a job application process. Like in every job application, rules were set by the organisation creating that job.

We know that all of us do not fill the requirements to apply for the job of CEO of a multinational corporation and we would not feel discriminated by this fact.

We also know that we do not all meet the conditions to apply for the job of Miss Universe. Are we justified in feeling discriminated by that fact?

What do you think? How do you see beauty pageants?

The real question is how do beauty pageants see themselves. Beauty pageants have become apologetic about their own nature when what  they should do is define what it is they really are and what it is they want to be and act accordingly. Otherwise, the issue of discrimination in beauty pageants will continue to be a mountain with no top.

 

 

 

 

 

NOTEWORTHY: This Is How You Do Pageant Photography

It is that time of year again when the most successful national pageant in the world, Miss Venezuela, gets underway. The unveiling of the official photos of this year’s contestants reveals the reason for the success of Osmel Sousa’s enterprise. Venezuela always manages to take the contest to new heights, this year through photography.

fullsizeoutput_1a3c

Miss Venezuela photographer Alejandro Lee captures the imagination which images that look made right on the (IMG) Miss Universe stage.

Everything is on point, the styling, the shoes and the retro swimsuits, which highlight the hourglass figures.

It shows the care and attention to detail that goes into the planning of the Miss Venezuela pageant and the performance of their winners internationally.

Regretfully, most national pageants chose to hate rather than emulate the Miss Venezuela Organization. Yet, nothing succeeds like success!

 

Effortless in 2017, Jakub Kucner, Mister Polski 2017 & Mister World Poland 2018

As we have said before, we consider the Mister Polski contest one of the two best national male competitions in the world (the other is Mister Brasil CNB). It is run over several months, with preliminary competitions to select the final 20 who will compete for the coveted title.

Many themed photoshoots are organised and the social media presence for the contest should be an example for competitions, both male and female, are over the world. The contestants are presented as examples of down-to-earth masculinity, a practice most male competitions would do well to follow.

This year, we pegged the very charismatic Jakub Kucner as the one to beat and he did prove to be unbeatable in a very strong field of finalists.

21271124_1654177241320621_3250268789751288654_n

Jakub has a strong social media presence, with which he shares his life with us. From cheeky childhood pictures,

fullsizeoutput_19ef

to his experience as a model,

to his charity work in the Gambia,

20915346_1638766532861692_925110186820801068_n

to regular, everyday activities, including his physical transformation.

fullsizeoutput_19ec

Through it all you get to know Jakub as a well-spoken, caring human being, who takes full advantage of life opportunities, without putting on airs or trying to show off.

fullsizeoutput_19f1

The Effortless Mister Poland will be a force to reckon with at the next Mister World competition.

 

 

Effortless in 2017: Jack Eyers, Mister England 2017 & Mister World England 2018

As we stated previously, what makes a male competitor great is his charisma. He needs to project approachability, to be kind of man that men want to emulate and women (and some men) want to be with.

Charisma is not something you can learn or practice,  although you will see most male contestants try. Charisma has to be EFFORTLESS.

IMG_0437

One young man who you can say is the epitome of charisma is Jack Eyers, Mister England 2017. Jack is ruggedly handsome, an avid sportsman and, as they say, he “cleans up nicely”. He is a catwalk and commercial model and never puts on airs. In all his pictures he just looks like you captured some of his daily activities. Jack is indeed EFFORTLESS.

 

Jack is also smashing barriers in the world of pageants and fashion, as the first amputee to win a national title. With Jack, that is the last thing you notice though.

Jack will represent England at Mister World 2018 and we already predict he will do very well at this competition.

THOWBACK (way, way back): The 1997 Miss Universe Pageant

In 1997, I wrote this review of the 1997 Miss Universe pageant. Rereading it this weak I was surprised by how spot on my evaluation of Donald Trump really was. I predicted that the Miss Universe pageant would die under his stewardship. It did not, but the Miss Universe pageant has lost its lustre and the US ratings of the Final Show are at their lowest in the competition’s long history. I also said that the show could have been one of the best ever; looking back now it really was.

The 1997 Miss Universe pageant has left a bitter aftertaste, for its general tackiness, the treatment of the media and the crass commercialism which dominated it. The tone was set by THE announcement and  the blatant exploitation of what should have been a private drama. If the timing of THE announcement was ever in doubt, one need only follow the carefully rehearsed on stage banter about what was new in Marla Maples’ life.

Everything was basically cheap: from the trailer park offices, to the photocopied passes and Delegates’ Handbook.  Everyday there was some ruckus involving the media and the very tight working conditions which were allowed to them. After the first week, the only events open to the media were the rehearsals for about a half hour every day.  Everybody seemed confused and it would appear that everything could unravel at any moment. The security was a joke, as no pass had a photograph and nothing was checked.

The stage itself was really beautiful and the show could have been one of the best ever. It was marred however by its flattery of the Miss America Pageant (imitation is the sincerest form of?) . The double Judges’ Panels, the call-inn audience question, the lame attempt at squeezing a talent round out of what is not a talent-based competition and the outdated swimsuits, made one wonder if it was really May in Miami Beach and not September in Atlantic City.

Marla and George finally seem to have gotten the hang of it, although there is plenty room for improvement. Let’s bring back Bob Goen and a former Miss Universe as guest commentator.

The 10 semi-finalists were as predictable as ever. Besides the “Staple 4″ (USA, Venezuela, India and Sweden), Miss Italy was there to prove that Miss Universe is not racist, even if she was the most vulgar girl there.

Miss Curaçao, Miss Panama, Miss Puerto Rico and Miss Trinidad & Tobago were true beauty queens (the REAL semi-finalists) and Miss Estonia was her comic relief self.

Brook Mahealani Lee won deservedly based on her finals answer. Marena Bencomo was CORRUPTLY boosted by her compatriot Carolina Herrera (they are from Venezuela after all and remember the saying about old dogs?) and Margot Bourgeois was affected by her honest, but unpageantlike, answer to the final question.

In the hands of Donald Trump, the Miss Universe pageant is bound to die soon. How can this man head a pageant that requires its contestants to be a positive role model to their communities and the world, when he himself is an example of the basest human emotions?

Marla and THE Donald never seemed like a divorcing couple (am I the only one who saw the encouraging caress of Marla’s arm?). Donald Trump was besides himself at the Coronation Ball when he heard about the show’s exceptional rating and “jokingly” told those present that he was sure he had done nothing to affect those ratings (talk about blowing your own horn!).

Its very painful to see that Miss Universe has become the pageant that exploits the national pride and aspirations of most countries in the world for the financial benefit of one despicable human being!

A concerned (almost former) fan of and reporter at the 1997 Miss Universe pageant