Here’s a little bit of analysis into Beauty Queens in Colombia. Pageants are still a big thing. Women from all over the country compete tirelessly from a young age to prove that they are the most beautiful, the most talented and even the most eligible.
Question of the year…For what? Are they and their mothers, plus a scad of attendants simply grooming them to be the well-behaved wives of rich/high profile men? Or are they genuinely pursuing their passions in hopes of a better life and to lead other women?
This article is meant to ask critical questions about where we are going as a culture, in Colombia. Definitely not to criticize. I am no beauty queen but even I enjoy a strange and intense attention from Colombian men who see my blue-green eyes as a very exotic feature of beauty. Instead, I bring you this analysis in the name of deep thinking and thoughtful investigation.
Beauty Queens in Colombia
In a country that is a tourism capital for plastic surgery, natural beauty can be rare and even scarce in places like the Coffee Axis. Here, it is even, at times, a part of their own self-identity. Colombian woman have always had a natural flair for looking good. With a thriving fashion scene and a high demand for personal care products, they are also culturally meticulous about their appearances.
Beauty Queens in Colombia, are big business. Every big city, and even many small but famous pueblos have their own special beauty queen pageants. In Spanish they say the word “Reinado” to denote that is is a Beauty Queen Pageant.
One of the most famous reinados of Colombia, is the Reinado Internacional de Cafe, in Manizales, Caldas. Women from over 20 different countries arrive annually, to compete for this title. Even they have noted, often with surprise, the tremendous importance that Colombians – and their media channels, place on these intense competitions.
Is it any surprise, that Beauty Pageants in Colombia are a large part of their culture?
Definitely not, in fact, it is much more publicized and often the headline event of major festivals like the recent Feria de Manizales (Manizales Fair), the biggest and oldest citywide event of its type in South America.
This year was no exception. The women arrived and were carefully escorted from one event to another, by dedicated police escorts who accompany them the entire week.
But, are they so delicate they require constant security? Are they so weak that they rely on personal security to ensure that someone catches them if they wilt?
As a foreign resident, even I am unsure how to answer that question. But here are what some visitors and foreign residents are saying:
I am an actress, I haven’t really been to many pageants. I think that everything that has to do with beauty has to work like that (Marriage or Career). And, people think that and assume that. I don’t think we should care about what others think, but what we do.…Andrea Gavrich – Miss Serbia, International Coffee Queen Pageant
We can promote what we can provide – we can be a spokesperson for a company or initiative. I think that beauty has the power to promote positive culture and even help to solve social problems. They (beauty pageants), must create leadership in women. It can be a platform for women advocates, or to encourage women to pursue their dreams and passions.…Yuka Alaki
I think the beauty pageants of today, are meant to create social leaders. As is the case with the recent Miss Universe competition where the winning candidate actually did a science experiment as part of her talent. For me, a trophy wife is someone that you can go look for (and find easily enough).…Jessica Gerland, author of LaJessica.com
Here’s what some of my Colombian peers are saying, about Beauty Queens in Colombia:
I think it has a lot to do with stereotypes from the drug dealers/narco culture, and also influenced by them and TV shows like “Sin Tetas No Hay Paraiso.” Here in Colombia, many girls ask for plastic surgery for their 15th birthday, and the sad thing is, that many of them get it. Stereotypes are very common – but people also take them very seriously and go after being that trophy wife. (Translated from Spanish)..Laura Tibaquira, Business Woman
Everything that has to do with Beauty Queens in Colombia, has been a bad copy of the exterior. They are leaders – in their own way. Over the last 4 or 5 years they have been trying to elect girls that beyond being pretty, who have a good capacity to lead. They are also trying to find a more complete profile. But if we are speaking of Colombia, even more so the Coffee Axis, it has a prototype of beauty which is very demanding. She must have the perfect size, the perfect smile – it’s a profile that is very worked over. Everything that has to do with the inside, truthfully is nothing. They are very well trained to respond however they need to. Many try to become influencers. It isn’t very well executed. There are exceptions, but in general the pageants aren’t really focused on helping others or create leaders. (Translated from Spanish)..Luisa Fernanda O., Headhunter, Business Woman & Land Owner in Pereira, Colombia
In my personal opinion it is more of an event that corresponds to something traditional and that is exclusively commercial. To bring more public to an event, and that the event creates higher consumption of the sponsors products. And when they are married off as trophy wives, the relationships don’t really succeed...Andres A. Cali, Colombia
Finally, let’s look at a case study that is much closer to home. My cousin. Probably one of the greatest entrepreneurs who has impacted the way I lead in my own life and audience. I can honestly say that I admire the success and hard work she has put into becoming a great businesswoman.
When you are family to someone who is famous, mid famous or even low level celebrity, you begin to realize how they are actually normal people, with more discipline and motivation than the rest of us. Here’s my interview with her.
Jennifer Murphy | Miss Oregon USA to CEO of Go Girl Worldwide
Open Minded Traveler (OMT): How are you using your beauty to be a leader for women?
Jennifer: I create videos and educational content that teaches positive and empowering messages, and I am self-deprecating in my videos and content as a way to show them that I don’t take myself too seriously or focus on my exterior looks as a major factor. That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy dressing up, looking my best for a special event, doing my makeup or curling my hair.
Jennifer: I think it’s important that we take care of ourselves and our appearances and appreciate the gifts we have been given in life. But again, sometimes beauty is only skin deep. True beauty comes from within. That is the message I try and teach as a leader to other women.
OMT: What are you passionate about?
Jennifer: I am passionate about living my life to the fullest and following my dreams. For me, that means building an organization of women globally who are empowered, who will empower each other and who will help solve some of our world’s problems.
Jennifer: I Founded GoGirl Worldwide in 2008 and I am passionate about creating all of the projects I set out to create, and teaming up with people who or smarter or more business savvy than I am to make it into a reality. I especially love producing funny and inspirational videos and writing / recording songs for music videos that I produce.
OMT: What is your biggest fear?
Jennifer: My biggest fear is not succeeding in my mission of building the vision that I set years ago. I believe it is something that I must do, and sometimes I am afraid that I won’t be able to overcome the challenges thrown my way. But I often remind myself to throw that fear out the window and keep moving forward. If I fall I get back up.
Jennifer: I also fear that I won’t find the man of my dreams, and will end up alone. But I keep faith that I will.
OMT: Do you feel that men appreciate you for your beauty or your intellect?
Jennifer: I feel that initially men appreciate me more for my beauty, but once they get to know me I think they appreciate my intellect and personality as much as my beauty, if not more.
OMT: What is your response to men who try to use conpliments to catch your interest?
Jennifer: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a man using a compliment to catch my interest. But once he’s caught my attention he had better provide some stimulating conversation and seem to be interested in me as a person.
OMT: Do you feel that beauty pageants are to groom trophy wives or create leaders?
Jennifer: I believe most beauty pageants are aimed at helping to empower the woman, and help her with her confidence, poise, fitness and challenge her to be the best version possible. I think every woman is different, and it’s up to them to decide what they will choose to do with the empowered state they are in.
Jennifer: Most of the beauty queens I know, have gone on to become leaders, entrepreneurs and activists. Beauty queens know how to apply themselves and get things done. I’m sure some of them become trophy wives. Many become wives and mothers who also build businesses while running the household too.
Learn more about Jennifer Murphy and her projects at the following links:
To sum it all up…
I think we can conclude that the Latin American version of Beauty Pageants, are sometimes a world unto themselves. Beauty Queens in Colombia, and their own local culture, are often as bright and colorful as the natural landscape.
Curious what it may be like to date in Colombia? We have all the info you need here! > Read Me!
As women, it seems that our goals are always based on finding our own individual version of success, and interpreted by our own experiences. For me, there is always a balance that must be found between image and reality. The main thing is to do what your are passionate about – the rest will follow your discipline and commitment to the project.
Whether it means you don’t apply make-up on Sunday, or you choose to wear your hair down on Monday, or not. You must strive to be the most authentic version of yourself, always.
Feel free to sound off in the comments below! How do you feel about the leadership of women today who are in these pageants?
Stay tuned for more articles, observations and ideas about the Open Minded Traveler in 2020. I am excited to be bringing this site back online to accompany my other projects and I hope you are too! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube as we bring you more great content and adventures.
For additional reading about Beauty Queens in Colombia (Spanish)