How do you define beauty? Is it by size, by perfect hair or a perfect smile. If you flip through the pages of an American fashion magazine, you may think beauty is narrowly defined… But when talking about beauty one must keep an open mind. What one finds true beauty someone else might find outrageous, weird or even ugly. In a recent trip to Venezuela, a country where beauty seems to be regarded as a value, I decided to explore the subject a bit deeper. Venezuela currently holds the record for producing most beauty queens around the world than any other country and most of its success is attribute to Quinta Miss Venezuela.
With the Help of my good friend, Moncho, (official make up team member of the miss Venezuela beauty pageant), I spend a day at the “Quinta Miss Venezuela” This renown beauty school is where aspiring beauty queens come to get groomed. Thousands of entrants apply for the pageant each year. Some young women would try for up to five or six years consecutively trying to get one of the 26 to 32 titles that will enable them to compete in the final pageant, who ever makes must pass by the schooling given right here.
A big wooden door with a crown carved into it gives way to its entrance and as soon as you walk in you get a view of the grand the grand staircase leading to the second floor. A velvet couch, an extravagant chandelier and pictures of the many beauty queens.
Me and my friends and colleges arrived wearing tennis shoes and caps. It was a rainy day, but as soon as I come in I know this is not an excused here. All the ladies are wearing six-inch heels and walking on marble floors . They seem to be waterproof.
A lady with groomed silver hair stood at the top of the stairs calling in make up artists and hair dressers to begin a briefing on the today’s meeting. I didn’t know who she was, but by the way she stood, walked and spoke, I knew she was the boss.
As my friends goes to the meeting I decide to explore this place and go take some pictures. The first room I entered had a make-up class in progress . Curios young ladies looked at me, and welcome me with no problem. After the class is over they take a quick break and move on to their next class. A few more rooms offers enough space for all the classes this place has to offer, including hair, make-up modeling public speech, etiquette and so on . The house keeps very busy, with fashion designers, stylist and students coming in and out.
I observed these beautiful girls in odd as I am impressed at how serious they are about what they are being taught, I see them practicing holding the brush and curling their hair. I don’t believe I was this focus when I attended beauty school. Only one thing interrupt their concentration, a picture, as soon as they notice my camera the instinctively strike a pose.
The briefing was over, I joined Moncho and sat down to with other hair dressers; we decided to order a box of pastry for everyone. Nothing better than coffee or hot chocolate with pastries on a rainy day. Apparently hair dressers have a sweet tooth everywhere. That’s beauty! I asked Moncho who was the Lady with the silver hair, he said her name was Maria Kallay, coordinator of the Miss Venezuela. She seemed to be doing a million things at once in such a natural way that it make me take note on how any corporation should be run. She could manage about 15 hair dressers and make up artist, along with around 25 beauty queens, and around 10 other employees while meeting with hopeful fashion designers that came in for appointments hoping their creations would be feature in the coveted event. I then remember Moncho had received a call from her while we were at the airport, she wanted to know that we had arrived on time. How does she finds the time?
Most of the creative team comes from various part of the country, they are all successful in their own right and are carefully chosen for this job, I met a hair dresser that flies back and forward from New York and another one that lives in Brazil. They all know and appreciate the prestige that being part of the team the cares for the most beautiful women in the universe means. I was a bit surprised by the calmness of so many artist in one room. This is beauty!.
About an hour later the big wooden doors open and in walks Mr. Osmel Sousa, the beauty guru, accompany by his bodyguard. Osmel is credited for handpicking the candidates that he believe would win every year. He says hi to everyone and proceeds to the upper floor where his office is. Almost Immediately, Mrs. Kallay began calling all artist to another meeting. Osmel will have the final say in pairing stylist with the misses, selecting fashion designers and most importantly giving the final approval on candidates.
Outside the classroom, the mother of one of the contestant waited for her daughter. She is mesmerized with Moncho and is hoping her daughter will be assigned to him for make up. She tells me she waits for her every day, this is her daughters’ dream, but not the only one dream, she says. Her daughter is also attending college and has always been a good girls so supporting her dream is more important than winning “of course I want her to win, but we do not discuss winning we focus on the experience whether she wins or looses, the experience will remain and we want to protect her and make the bets of it” that’s beauty! I’m not sure she is being complete truthful though, any mom that sits and waits for her adult daughter to attend beauty pageant school has a bit more invested. My mom didn’t attend my high school graduation and barely made it to my college graduation, but I am sure had I attended this school she would too had been here everyday, after all she is Venezuelan.
A short man approaches me to offer coffee, I had seen him coming in and out of the house through the day. Bringing food and drinks, caring papers, talking to everyone. He tells me to call him MotoMan, because his job is to run errands for the ladies in his motorcycle. As the girls went on to their next class, and the meeting with Osmel had begun the house became silent. I sat on the round purple velvet couch to talk to MotoMan. He tells me he has been working there for 12 years, and I learn that the team that runs the Quinta Miss Venezuela is a very close one. . I ask if he finds the girls frivolous, he tells me that the girls are the sweet and kind. I also learn that they are collecting money to buy MotoMan a new Motorcycle. That’s beauty.
I see this gorgeous beauty queen walking towards the door, she greats us and hugs MotoMan ; I offer her a pastry, and she jump so far away from it you could have thought I was offering her a grenade. MotoMan tells me she is soon to travel to go to the Miss world International and she has to watch her diet. Oh well, more for me, Personally I think she could have use that pastry, but I soon realized that if I don’t want to be outcast from this group I better hide my stash.
MotoMan knows everyone in this place and he is well-respected, he gives me the scoop on everyone, I ask if he feels comfortable approaching Osmel with a given issue, he says, absolutely “we know how busy he is and I’ve been here long enough to be able to handle most situations on my own, but when necessary I do go to him and he is always willing to listen and offer solutions to me and anyone else. I asked him about Mrs. Kallay, he smiles and says, Mrs. Kallay is the support wall in the house, she spends more time there than anyone, she takes care of each of the girls as if they were her daughters, she organizes everything, I tell him that it seems to me that she is the real deal behind the organization maybe more than Osmel? He says, they work hand by hand they depend and count on each other. At this point I think to myself if MotoMan carefully choosing his words, in any case, he says that there is not boss between Karey and Sousa. MotoMan seems very loyal to his bosses. That’s beauty! View more pictures
Though Sousa is the recognizable figure of the institution, something tell me that Kallay makes it happen. In any case and whatever it is, it works. What I got from all of his info is that Quinta Miss Venezuela, is a real home to many and that they take care of each other, “we do not allow anyone to interrupt our harmony, everyone here is treated with respect, they are part of one family” says MotoMan. That’s beauty!
Venezuela’s beauty pageant has been in the media a lot, not only for being the country to hold most international crowns, but also for being accused of using plastic surgery to improve their contestant. During an interview this question was brought to beauty guru Osmel Sousa to which he reply, isn’t a nature contest. It’s a beauty contest, and science exists to help perfect beauty. There is nothing wrong with that.
I couldn’t tell if this girls have any plastic surgery, but if they do, I would like to have the doctors number. What I saw was young women working very hard to prepare themselves for a dream they had and if we all prepare ourselves the same way for our dreams there would be a lot more happiness going on. At Quinta Miss Venezuela I found beauty everywhere and it wasn’t just about the beauty queens. it was about everyone that works hard doing what they love to do.
There is no such thing as ultimate true beauty because you can not compare beauty. We do not live all following the same standards or principles; we do not have the same ideals. We are all different, we are all unique to me that is beauty.I cant wait to go back and see MotoMan new bike.
Country with the highest rate of plastic surgeries,
In proportion to the quantity of inhabitants:
In quantity not related with inhabitants (including foreigners in “medical tourism”)