25 August 2010
“Set against a backdrop of poverty, crime, and the hemisphere’s longest running civil war, nowhere are the contests more ubiquitous and revered than in Colombia. In these carefully scripted shows of fantasy, beauty as a concept, commodity and singular goal is stripped to its raw elements. There is no ambiguity or pretense that anything else matters.
The queens are celebrities. Many of the roughly 400 contests a year can shut down a small town for days as thousands jam plazas and parade routes for a glimpse of them. Icons of a rigidly defined ideal, the contestants highlight the conflated relationship between beauty and attraction. Many of them seem familiar, stirring recollections of the same perfect features seen elsewhere, along with the identical flirtatious laughter, mock surprise and relentless optimism. In their quest for adoration, they erase all traces of individuality.”
Carl Bower’s website.