Venezuela, the fantasy land !
- where every female
has to look beautiful .
Regardless of their socio-economic status, it is estimated that Venezuelans spend one fifth of their disposable income on beauty products, a startling statistic for a country in which 80 percent of its population lives below the poverty line. A study conducted by Roper Starch Worldwide revealed that 65 percent of Venezuelan women think about their looks "all the time," in contrast to the 27 percent of American women in the same category.
, beauty is a pursuit that has evolved into an industry, a national obsession, a staple of daily life. But, remember, here beauty isn't necessarily something you're born with. Venezuela
Osmel Ricardo Sousa Mancilla (born 26 September 1946) plays an essential role in this phenomenon as the chief leader of the Miss Venezuela Organization. Osmel Sousa joined the Venezuelan Committee of Beauty in 1969. In the 1970s, Osmel Sousa undertook advising selected contestants, many of whom went on to win the Miss Venezuela crown, at the same time he started designing nightgowns for most of the contestants. He has been called a Pygmalion, a magician who can understand beauty as a jeweller understands a rough, uncut diamond.
Ever since he was a child, he showed a special fascination for the woman's figure. In fact, he spent a great part of his playtime drawing pictures displaying always the same images: perfect and stylized dolls. Osmel started as a commercial artist. Later, he gradually got involved in giving professional advice to some of the Miss Venezuela contestants, all of whom ended up among the finalists.
In 1976, Sousa officially assumed the direction of the Miss Venezuela Organization. Success came along immediately. That same year, Maritza Sayalero was crowned Miss Universe! And this confirmed the genius and acuteness displayed by this doll-sketcher who is now able to create and perfect queens of flesh and blood.
He says: " I don't think it can be defined. It is a very broad concept. There are lots of beautiful women. Good-looking girls that enter the Miss Venezuela do not need to show themselves as if they were experienced. A good contestant has to learn many things for beauty requires more than a pretty face. ....We prepare them thoroughly, always taking into account their personal background. Training programs change from year to year. It all depends on each contestant's potential. ..... The ideal beauty that everyone wants to hear about, that one doesn't exist. There are very attractive women but none is perfect.
..... We managed to make them look prettier than they already are, so they seem almost perfect. Those are the keywords almost perfect, never perfect."
There are interesting details on http://getahead.rediff.com/slide-show/2009/aug/26/slide-show-1-where-beauty-is-a-sport.htm#contentTop:
" Early each year, the selection process begins when thousands of young women (aged 17-25) send in their applications. They are
usually from wealthy families, and have spent much of their teenage
From those thousands, 500 are picked to enter their state beauty
competitions, before the list is pared again to 60. That's when things
get tough. Those 60 girls are then taken to the famed
The school is a large pink building at the foot of the
Avila mountain in northern Caracas, a block from the Venevision studios - the channel that funds and broadcasts Miss . Students from outside the capital are put up in nearby rooms and subjected to gruelling days, often starting at 8am and finishing at 10pm. The lucky few who go on to compete at an international level stay at the school for a year. Venezuela
An army of more than nine teachers instruct the girls in how to move properly, pose for photographs, walk in high heels, use their voice, how to apply make-up, show etiquette and grooming, on public speaking, posture and other details — including how to recover gracefully after a fall and clinch the vital interview that often serves as a determinant in major beauty pageants. The contestants are also taught to apply their make-up - and what can't be hidden by foundation can be rectified in other ways.
Sousa has also been savaged in the press for his enthusiasm about his contestants getting plastic surgery, which he reportedly said is just 'correcting little details'. It's true that many of the Venezuelan beauty queens have had nose jobs and breast implants. In the past it's been reported that the beauty school employs dental docs who have been known to cut girls' gums so their teeth look bigger.
Such measures must be taken to create the perfect contestant, admits Sousa, who prefers radical procedures such as liposuction as the simplest way to deal with a contestant's “excess” weight. “If a girl is lazy in going to the gym and has to work on her waistline, I think it's much easier to get it all out in one go,” he says. Nose jobs and “thigh trimmings” are also frequent over the duration of the course, but Sousa's view is that they are “correcting little details”. He never recommends "drastic surgeries," rather "just a little retouching." "When I see a defect, I want to correct it," he said.
Ralph Waldo Emerson had Sousa and
Venezuela in mind when he said, "Love of beauty is Taste and the creation of beauty is Art," Truly, is indeed a nation of great taste. And Osmel Sousa is an artist of the utmost skill and calibre. Surprisingly, Sousa says he has never fallen in love, enjoys living alone ! Venezuela