Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Beauty pageant has been a long companion of human civilization since ancient time, perhaps because humans have been fascinated with beauty since always. History recorded that beauty pageant has been known as a form of entertainment since ancient Greece period, where it was particularly very popular in Ellas on Lesbos Island. Even one the most popular story in Greek mythology, “The Judgement of Paris”, involves beauty pageant as part of the story, in which three Greek goddesses, Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena compete in a beauty contest judged by the protagonist of the story, Paris.

The Judgement of Paris

As time goes by, beauty pageant also evolves to become more and more modern. The first known beauty pageant in modern time was a pageant held in Belgium on September 1888. The participants wishing to compete in the pageant only had to send their pictures and a short description of themselves. In the end, 21 finalists were selected from about 350 applicants and they proceeded to the final round, where the judges were all male. The winner of the pageant was Marthe Soucaret from Guadeloupe. She received the title of "The Most Beautiful Woman in The Planet" and a money prize of 5000 francs.

Marthe Soucaret

This pageant eventually sparked other countries interest in beauty pageant, including in USA. The oldest surviving pageant in the country, Miss America, was first held on 7 September 1921 as a part of a two-day event known as Fall Frolic in Atlantic City, New Jersey. This city-wide festival was staged to secure summer tourism past Labor Day. The official title of the winner was "The Most Beautiful Bathing Girl in America", and thus its first ever winner, Margaret Gorman of Washington D.C, was not called Miss America until one year later when the second edition of the beauty pageant was held. Miss America is also the first ever beauty pageant in the world to include swimsuit round as part of the competition. One of its main swimsuit sponsor was Catalina swimwear, who would later created Miss USA and Miss Universe pageant.

Margaret Gorman

About 30 years after the birth of Miss America, international pageant set an important milestone with the birth of Miss World pageant, currently the oldest surviving international pageant. Miss World creation was closely related to an event held in summer 1951 called Festival of Britain. During that period, UK had just recovered from the World War II, and the festival was created as a statement to the world that UK was once again a strong nation. The organizer of the festival asked Mecca Ltd, a leisure company that operated dance halls, restaurants and places of amusement all over UK, to create a promotional event for the festival. The task was given to Eric Morley, public relations director of Mecca Ltd. and he came up with an idea to set an international beauty pageant.

However, it was certainly not easy to find international contestants who will participate in the pageant, especially on a very short notice. Despite his best effort, Eric Morley only ended up with 5 international contestants, so he decided to recruit 21 British contestants to increase the number of the contestants. The competition, won by Kiki Hakansson from Sweden, ended up with a huge success and generated an enormous worldwide publicity. The media referred it as Miss World, and Eric Morley, who loved the name, decided to use it as the official name for his pageant.

Miss World pageant was initially planned as one time promotional event only, but upon learning that the Americans would stage Miss Universe pageant in the upcoming year, Eric Morley decided to make Miss World as an annual pageant so that the claim of being the first to create an annual international beauty pageant would forever belong to the British, not the American. His decision was largely supported by countries in Europe and British Commonwealth and so Miss World continued to be held until now.

Kiki Hakansson

One year later in 1952, another important beauty pageant, Miss Universe, was born in USA. The idea was first envisioned by Claude Berr, head of the Comite International Pour L’Election de Miss Europe, who promoted the idea of an international beauty pageant to the management of the Hollywood Bowl in California. The idea was well received by the Americans and quickly received support from many sponsors, including California clothing company Pacific Mills. Previously the major sponsor for Miss America pageant, Pacific Mills and its Catalina swimwear brand decided to withdraw from Miss America after Miss America 1951 winner Yolande Betbeze refused to pose in a swimsuit for Catalina swimwear. Instead they backed up the newborn pageant which would eventually become the Miss Universe contest.

The inaugural edition of Miss Universe pageant was held in 1952 at Long Beach, California and won by Armi Kuusela from Finland. It was actually scheduled to be held in 1951, but the publicity and the success of the first edition of Miss World contest stole the attention away from Miss Universe, forced the later to be delayed by a year to 1952. In the end, Miss Universe also became a worldwide success and together with Miss World, they become the two most important international beauty pageants today.

Armi Kuusela

Since then many other beauty pageants were born around the world. Some of the most important ones are Miss International in 1960, Miss Intercontinental in 1993, Miss Earth in 2001, Miss Tourism Queen International in 2004, and Miss Supranational in 2009. Along with the increase in quantity, beauty pageants also develop in the terms of quality. It is no longer a mere parade of beauties in bikini, it is now a cause. Miss World, for example, started to adopt “Beauty with a Purpose” slogan in 1980, a mantra that allows them to expand their work into social causes. The same goes to Miss Universe with its intensive works towards supporting HIV/AIDS research and Miss Earth with its concern towards the preservation of the environment. All in all, beauty pageants has evolved a lot since its inception in ancient time and surely will keep evolving in the future. So how would beauty pageants look like 20 or 30 years from now. Only time will tell ...

Pravda Online
Beauty School Geocities website
Miss World website
Miss Universe website
Miss America website

0 Komentar di Blogger


Post a Comment

Toggle Footer