Are they for real?

By Patricia Cates

Last Sunday evening was a sight to behold. Like millions of people around the globe our house was tuned into the Miss Universe pageant. There had been little hype in the news but we managed to stumble upon it after dinner. There on the screen before us were masses of women, in these incredibly flamboyant national costumes, introducing themselves to the camera for literally all the world to see. I figured we should watch it for educational purposes. I wanted the family to observe culture and pageantry, and hear the diverse array of foreign accents. Here we could witness poise at its finest and see talent first hand. But there was no talent portion televised, and the final nail biting question the top five finalists would have to answer left much to be desired.

“Wow!” was the dominate exclamation that escaped my lips about every 10 seconds. I could not get over the beauty in front of me. Never have I seen such examples of human perfection. These girls were the epitome of stunning. Some of our personal favorites were; Miss India, with her platform for gender equality; Miss Jamaica, with her special needs children cause; and Miss Philippines, with her admirable degree in computer engineering.

I am not sure what other viewers were thinking, but at our place we just kept wondering, “Are those real?”  And folks this goes way beyond false eyelashes and hair extensions.  Our family has never seen so many large and perfect teeth in our lives! The glow coming from Miss Australia’s mouth was almost blinding, and it seemed as if all the ladies were equally gleaming. It was wondrous. Could they possibly be veneers? I do not have a discerning enough eye to know. Either way I bet there were dentists out there watching the show in admiration of such dedicated and pristine dental hygiene.

One cannot comment on the pageant without talking gown, hairstyle and makeup trends. Viewing some former Miss Universe contestants from the 1970’s, we see a huge difference. Mind you this is only two generations ago. Don’t get me wrong. The women were still gorgeous beyond compare, but they were definitely thinner lipped, wavier haired and…well…better fed. We also noticed that most contestants were enviously tall. In researching I found that in the past 38 years of Miss Universe, we have had only 5 winners who were under 5’8”. The first winner of 1952 measured in at a statuesque 5’5”. In fact for the first 25 years of the pageant, we see only one winner over 5’8”, and that didn’t occur until 1972. So the height factor has definitely cycled. When viewing past photos it’s impossible to ignore how much hair care and style has changed. I personally hope that short legs and frizzy hair come back in style soon.

These young aspiring, and inspiring, women are admirable regardless of their height, hair or teeth. They all have enough natural beauty and grace to have been chosen to represent their country of origin. What I felt was lacking was more information on the contestants’ education and overall bios. I wanted to know more about what social causes were near and dear to them, and what field of expertise they will pursue in life. We have enough talent shows out there to keep us occupied and I never felt it vital for a winner to be able to sing or dance. Surely talents illustrate a well-rounded individual, but the role of Miss Universe is more one of ambassador for all nations. That makes me want to see a young lady who can not only speak eloquently in public, but who has maybe done extensive work for a charity, or who stands out scholastically. I really felt that they needed to focus more on that.

The shocker of the evening was when the final five were readying for the crown and Miss Jamaica was called as last runner up. She was definitely the crowd favorite. I have never heard a crowd “Boo” at an event of this caliber. Oh, did I mention that Miss Jamaica was the only finalist with short hair? She could have easily put in hair extensions but for whatever reason chose not to. The fact that she held her head high, and showed confidence sporting her short locks illustrated character as well as individuality. People liked that.

So we didn’t get the cultural experience Sunday night that I was hoping for. That ended at the start. And we didn’t see talent in the way I was expecting. According to the majority of ten I guess Miss Colombia was more qualified to represent the universe. After all she is truly lovely. On the other hand perhaps professional male athletes should not judge a Miss Universe pageant. I counted four of them. I wonder how it would have turned out if all women had voted. Either way, if it’s going to be a beauty contest, then let’s call it one.

Patricia Cates is a native Californian and a graduate of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. She obtained her bachelor of science degree in natural resources management and environmental science in 2012.  She currently resides in Pocatello.