What’s behind the Philippine obsession with beauty queens?

Photo: SCMP

* A shallow, exploitative spectacle in an image-obsessed society? Or a valuable opportunity for young women to get ahead?

* Love it or hate it, the beauty pageant has deep roots in the Philippines, combining regional pride with glitzy spectacle

By Thomas Sturrock/scmp.com – It’s nearly showtime at Manila’s Araneta Coliseum, where the annual Binibining Pilipinas beauty pageant is entering its decisive final stages. Fans have travelled from all over the country to an event where ferocious regional pride and shimmering spectacle intersect.

“It’s my first pageant but I’ve watched on YouTube many times,” says John Adriana de Ocampo, a 23-year-old make-up artist who has travelled to Manila from Laguna, waiting in line outside.

“I’m so excited – I can’t wait to see the national costumes and which of them has the winning walk.”

BB Pilipinas is the country’s biggest beauty pageant. It runs for several months, culminating in the “coronation” on Sunday, June 9, when six of the 40 contestants will be presented with “crowns” and chosen to represent the Philippines at six different international pageants, including Miss Universe and Miss International.

The stakes are high: this is, after all, the pageant that launched Catriona Gray, the reigning Miss Universe and the latest Filipino to reinforce her country’s status as a beauty pageant superpower.


Find more like this: Lifestyle


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