Nation on the March

Nation on the March
Nation on the March

Dec 14, 2009

"V" for Venus, for Venezuela, for Miss "Vvorld"...!!!...(Body beautiful-V)

Venezuela, the  fantasy land !
- where every female 
has to look beautiful .

One individual could be crazy about beauty. 

It is understandable. 
One family, one society, one town could be crazy, surprising, but understandable.   
What would you call it if a country is totally crazy, obsessed, enthused, captivated, 
passionate and mad about beauty, 
for beauty, after beauty, 
by beauty, with beauty; 
it eats, drinks, sleeps, and thinks about beauty 
and nothing else?

Call it Venezuela!!
How much mad or obsessed or passionate? Just two words say everything: unbelievably mad!
 It was destined to be so. This Latin American country gets its name from Venus, the Roman goddess principally associated with love, beauty and fertility!

 When Venezuela’s Stefania Fernandez, an 18-year old stunning beauty gave her country its second straight win and sixth title overall in the 2008 Miss Universe beauty pageant that attracted 84 participants all across the world, the previous year’s winner, also from Venezuela, Dayana Mendoza, the 2008 Miss Universe winner became so excited with the results that she fumbled and dropped the crown studded with jewels to the floor! 

She eventually placed the crown on Fernandez’ head as she whispered “You made it”!

  It is the first time in Miss Universe pageant that a contestant from the same country won the crown for two straight years. With just 0.36 per cent of the world's population, Venezuela has won 20 per cent of international beauty titles!

Venezuela is famous for its beauty queens and has more international beauty pageant titles than any other country except for the United States, which has won seven titles. This South American nation had produced five previous Miss Universe winners and has also won the Miss World contest five times. It is only the United States that has bagged more - a whopping seven, to be precise - Miss Universe titles, although with only 26 million people it has less than one tenth of America's 300 million population! 
        In Venezuela, beauty isn't necessarily something you're born with. It's a pursuit that has evolved into an industry, a national obsession, a staple of daily life. 

For Venezuelan women being beautiful is not only desirable; it’s rather an engagement, a duty, even a responsibility. They dress up for daily life in the manner that women in other countries dress up for a big party or as Hollywood stars do. 
They have developed a particular sensuality and charm, inherited from their Spanish, Indian and African roots, as well as from other cultures that have converged in Venezuela with millions of immigrants from all over the globe all along our history. They have harvested the seductiveness of women from all cultures.

  As Roberto Hernández Montoya writes (see "That mythical beauty is put to trial everywhere in the Venezuelan social space. They elect beauty queens everywhere. There are beauty queens in village holidays, harvests, companies, the Carnival. They’re everywhere: in primary schools, in high-schools, in corporations, in sports. Even in prisons they crown beautiful convicted women!"

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.

Venezuela is known as the country of beautiful women. Venezuela ranks in the top three countries in the world for plastic surgery procedures per capita. People from all over come here to receive their plastic surgery because some of the finest and most experienced plastic surgeons in the world are here. 

In Venezuela, 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.

Read the AFP report (at Extracts:

Vanessa Brito, a 27-year-old Caracas resident who had breast implants fitted five years ago, explained that surgery was common for women from all walks of life.
"I think there's a social pressure in Venezuela, a beauty ideal that can be seen in contests like the one for Miss Universe. And seeing that, everyone wants to look the same," she said.
Laura Gonzalez, a 19-year-old student, agreed. Over the past four years she has had a nose job and breast enlargement.
"This goes beyond the Miss Universe contest. Venezuelan women love to look good. We love to get our hair done, to dress well. A woman needs to feel good about herself, and it's something that has really influenced me," she said.

Arturo Rojas, the head of another breast implant supplier in Venezuela, said: "Venezuelan woman are among the most vain in the world. Beauty is considered a basic necessity."
Girls barely in their teens sometimes receive surgery as a gift from their parents, as in the case of Yudnara, a 13-year-old who made a pre-op trip to a doctor's office accompanied by her mother.
"I think women have the right to get these kinds of operations. We are all beautiful, but sometimes we want to be even more beautiful. Not just on the inside, on the outside too," she said.

Even the risk of infection, which can lead to a mastectomy in the case of silicon breast implants, does little to dissuade adolescents - though that has generated a sideline industry for malpractice lawyers.
"They don't heal quickly, because such young girls, at 15, 16 or 17 years-old, are not ready for this kind of surgery," said one lawyer, Emilia de Leon.
Breast surgery is by far the most popular procedure in Venezuela, with an estimated 30,000 procedures carried out each year, according to specialists.

"Mammary prostheses are the backbone of Venezuela's beauty market," Oyon said.
In that section of the market, French-made silicon sacs - considered more reliable and smoother - dominate over rival US, Chinese and Brazilian products, accounting for around 80 per cent of the enhanced busts created.

For non-Venezuelans visiting to improve their neckline, the difference in cost can be significant. In Caracas, breast enlargement goes for around $US2,500 ($2,964), compared to several thousand more in other countries.

It whispers in your ears a secret:  
If you wish to travel there for a cosmetic surgery, just visit the website : There are several coordinators like them and you will know from them  what the medical tourism means in Venezuela

"Another very important reason is anonymity. It is extremely advantageous for certain individuals to go “on vacation” and return home looking refreshed and younger without anyone knowing they received plastic surgery. Traveling for a "medical holiday" also provides an opportunity for those with limited vacation time to have both medical services and a vacation with their family or partner...... 
(We)  Surgical Services International provides you with the ability to receive outstanding medical services abroad while recuperating in luxury accommodations at a fraction of the cost that you would pay at home.
 SSI is owned by Americans who live in Isla de Margarita (Venezuela)  and are dedicated to helping you have the finest doctors and medical care in the country.  SSI has interviewed hundreds of doctors to find the most experienced, respected, educated and sought after doctors and surgeons in the country.
The process is surprisingly simple. After providing us information of your medical needs we will send you a comprehensive package including information about the doctors and facilities that are best for you and a detailed description of the surgery/treatment along with risks and recuperation time frames.  Once you have chosen a doctor and your travel dates we will then help you find the best airfare and either hotel accommodations or luxury apartments.

 Day of arrival you will be greeted at the airport by a bilingual assistant who will accompany you to your hotel and all doctor appointments.
 You will also be provided with a cellular phone so you can contact your assistant, SSI or your doctor at any time.
 Then according to your vacation and treatment schedule, you return at a predetermined date for your medical procedure.

Afterwards, recover in beautiful surroundings on a Caribbean island. During your recuperation you will be provided your own private nurse/doctor who will ensure your safe recovery. Finally, you return home spending less money on your entire trip than you would have in the United States on the procedure alone.
 "For Yohana Bernal, the decision to have her breasts enlarged was an easy one. After all, most of her friends had already done it, and the 22-year-old lady felt that being small-breasted in Venezuela carried a bigger stigma than plastic surgery.  "I see it as something normal," said the petite brunette. "
Surprised? Read on: 

" In Venezuela teenagers, when they reach the age of 15, they get a gift called “quinceanera” ( i.e. 15-year age)  to celebrate their coming-of-age. Very often, this gift comes to them in form of a breast surgery!

 Beauty salons and spas outnumber drugstores in the capital 

City of Caracas telephone directory; women unabashedly apply full makeup in packed subways. ; Venezuelans consistently place among the finalists in the Miss Universe pageant.
         Men are doing it too, going for the metrosexual look that entails waxing, liposuction, bicep and pectoral implants.

It was but natural, therefore, that when the  televised speech of the president  Hugo Chavez  to the United Nations interrupted the September 2005 Miss Venezuela broadcast for 15 minutes, hundreds of angry viewers in Caracas protested by banging on pots from their windows, blowing whistles and even firing guns into the air.
Some time back, a research showed that the per capita , the Venezuelans are among Latin America's biggest spenders on cosmetics, spending  about a third more than Argentines and 43 percent more than Colombians - though less than American and French women who enjoy far  higher incomes.

As in the United States, in Venezuela also, the beauty contestants are getting younger and younger. Rather very young ! For 5-year-old Jaiberlyn Sanchez, December's "Little Model of Venezuela" contest was her third this year. She and her classmates at Caracas' Garbo & Class modeling school practice dancing in heels that would topple most grown women. They are trained in diction, manners and strutting on catwalks.

  Alba Achique, the school's founder, denies the girls are learning to value appearance over intellect, saying beauty is a career asset like any other.
          "Here, we prepare them for life," Achique said. "This place is a talent machine."
           The no-pain, no-gain quest for beauty often means going under the knife, i.e. the cosmetic surgery!

"Today, at least in Venezuela, almost every woman wants to have surgery," claims Dr. Isaias Bello, a plastic surgeon, saying many from poor backgrounds save up for an operation. He and some colleagues are urging banks to provide financing for surgery.
        Breast augmentation, at about $2,000, is a third of the price in the U.S. A nose can be sculpted for $1,500, as little as a tenth of the U.S. price.
           The Venezuelan Plastic Surgery Society does not collect statistics, but every year thousands of people from around the country, and from the Caribbean, North America and Europe, come for cosmetic surgery.
       Trying to build a career as a folk singer, Bernal recalls she would often look longingly at more well-endowed women. One after another, most of her friends underwent the same operation.
           The surgery, like any, carried risks: infection, implant rejection, scar tissue and more. But she was told it would not affect sexual relations or her ability to breast-feed.
                The doctor made two cuts and inserted a silicone sac on each side.
       Bernal came out of the operation deathly pale, whispering that it felt like "something inside was going to explode." But the pain soon subsided, and she feels more attractive. "I don't regret it at all," she said. "I would do it again."

But being born beautiful and going for plastic surgeries is not enough to become a become a Miss Venezuela contestant.There is one person who is the backbone of all these victories!

             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 

           " 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

years modeling already.
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
Miss Venezuela School in the capital city of Caracas for two months of
intensive training. 

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 Venezuela. 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. 

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,  Venezuela 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 !

Adriana Simoneta writes in 
" Participating in the beauty pageant changes the life of each contestant. Their hard work will undoubtedly result in future job opportunities. The exposure they get through the pageant lands them jobs as television reporters, models and actresses. Some become politicians, such as the former Miss Universe Irene Saez, who became the mayor of the richest sector of Caracas before running unsuccessfully for president against Hugo Chavez in 1998. No matter what career goal the Misses’ have, the pageant allows these young women to advance their careers by adding discipline, knowledge and exposure to their beauty.

The Miss Venezuela contest is a matter of national pride. When a Miss makes it to the final round of the international circuit, the entire country celebrates. Just as Brazilians are fanatical about the World Cup and Americans about the Super Bowl, for Venezuelans, this is the most important event of the year. This pageant is of such significance that despite the current political and economic crisis in the country, Venezuela keeps producing Misses that continue to conquer all international titles. Aside from oil, the Miss Venezuelas are the only national product that continue to have a place in the international market."

In the article " Using your plastic ( credit card) for plastic surgery", Rebekah Kebede wrote just three weeks ago. (   that:  " Unfazed by a recession and rampant inflation, image-conscious Venezuelans show no signs of cutting back on the facelifts, liposuction, and breast augmentation that have become de rigueur beauty treatments.

"There is never a question of not doing it, but of how you can do it. We all want to get everything done," said Helen Patino, a 37-year-old former model who had her first breast augmentation when she was 21 and her third about three months ago.
Venezuela's inflation is the highest in Latin America, up more than 20 percent in the first 10 months of this year and the South American nation is in recession after a five year boom.

Hard times may even encourage cosmetic procedures as people look for ways to lift their spirits, with many dipping into savings or taking on debt to get operations, surgeons say.
"The financial crisis has spurred people to spend more on themselves ... to console themselves in this crisis. I have not seen demand diminishing," said Peter Romer, a plastic surgeon in Caracas.

For Iris Delgado, a 57-year-old dental technician, a lack of funds was not an obstacle to getting a recent eyelid tuck. With the economy, one has to make sacrifices, because you don't have the money. So, you get it from credit cards, from family and you pay for it," said Delgado, who borrowed 7,000 bolivares -- about $3,250 -- for the procedure, a move she saw as a hedge against inflation in plastic surgery prices.

Like Delgado, many go into debt to finance cosmetic surgery, according to those in the industry.
"It's an investment that people make and they look for money everywhere," said Romer, adding that one of his patients moved into a smaller apartment to get a makeover and another traded her car for a facelift.

Leoncio Barrios, a social psychologist at the Central University of Venezuela, said such stories are the exception. "The majority of middle and lower-income women do not have property to sell or the capacity to save," he said. "What is clear is that in the subway you can see ads for clinics that offer credit for this type of surgery, and that women who work use their vacation bonuses and borrow from their work savings accounts," he added. The industry will make sure that cosmetic work remains within reach to ensure a steady flow of income, Barrios said.


Despite the hefty price tag, the choice to get cosmetic surgery is not considered a luxury for some Venezuelans.
"We need to be beautiful," said Patino.
Competition among women, by far the biggest consumers of plastic surgery in Venezuela, to look their best is fierce, and social pressure to get work done is high.
"Socially, there is a lot of demand, especially from men, to have a good body," said Prem Pratita, a 27-year-old who had a breast augmentation a few weeks ago.

In this image-conscious country, famous for beauty queens who win record numbers of international pageant titles, the idea of getting cosmetic surgery is instilled at a young age.

Patino recalls how, as a child, her mother and aunt dreamt of surgery to get rid of wrinkles. Now, with a child of her own, the subject is already on the table. "I told my husband, 'Look honey, if she has your nose, she's going to get surgery,'" said Patino.

Plastic Surgeon Angel Pena, 
compares  his surgery to body decoration 
practiced for centuries. 
"By nature, human beings have 
the desire to look better ... 
this desire is timeless and 
it's a desire that doesn't depend 
on your economic situation ... 
it's not that frivolous."

What more can be said 
except to salute 
the magnificent beauty obsession  
of the beautiful women of Venezuela 
and wishing them 
 a hat trick 
at the 2010 Miss World contest !

      With such a 
magnificent obsession  
for being beautiful and 
beating the other contestants hollow, 
spending their hard-earned money and 
undergoing pain and hardships,
one can not but salute them and 
wish a third successive victory 
at the 2010 contest !