Beauty pageants are either something you will find yourself praising or criticizing - it all depends on what setting your own moral compass is on. There are supporters (and haters) of this tradition which has become a global phenomenon since Miss America in 1921.
These competitions are either seen as a lesson in self-confidence or just superficial nonsense that has yet to update itself with modern day values. The impact of winning a pageant can be life changing with previous winners representing their country worldwide. However, in some cases these competitions have destroyed lives and reputations.
Behind the big smiles, huge hair, high stilettos and poised swimwear poses - there is a world like no other. These are the secrets only beauty pageant competitors know and they don't want them getting out.
14 The Kids Are High On Go-Go Juice
"Go-Go Juice" is a concoction which first came to public attention after TLC'S show Toddlers & Tiaras introduced us to the notorious Honey Boo Boo. Her mother, known as Mama June, would feed her a mixture made up of half Mountain Dew and half Red Bull.
This drink is the equivalent of five cups of coffee and side effects include huge amounts of energy, extreme giddiness, and of course a high heart rate. What should be seen as child abuse as it is essentially drugging, in fact is now a standard pageant-prep technique for many show moms.
13 Many Winners Turn To Drink
Some of the winners don't adapt well to being thrown into a world of a luxury lifestyle and unlimited parties. In 2006, former Miss USA, Tara Connor, became the centre of a very public scandal after testing positive for cocaine, heroin, crystal meth and alcohol all whilst she was underage. She entered a drug rehabilitation program.
Then in 2008, Miss Hispanic America winner, Laura Zuniga, was arrested on drug trafficking charges. She was travelling with seven men, including her own boyfriend, who were allegedly carrying $53,000 cash, AR-15 rifles, handguns, 633 cartridges of different calibers, and 16 cellphones. Zuniga was placed under house arrest for 40 days and she claimed she was accompanying the men on a "shopping trip."
12 They Know How To Shrink Their Waistline Fast
When you have one shot to shine in front of the judges, you can't leave anything to chance and must appear your best. The waistline must be kept super-tight especially when it comes up to the swimsuit round.
Rima Fakih, former Miss USA 2010, shared her secret of how to instantly shed pounds from your waistline. She revealed, "I slather on haemorrhoid ointment, wrap myself up with Saran wrap, and run on a treadmill with an incline for 30 minutes. It’s not permanent, but it tightens you up."
11 Some Winners Get Too Close To The Judges
Miss Britain 2006 winner, model Danielle Lloyd, was stripped of her title as soon as the judges found out that she had enjoyed several romantic moments with one of the judges, footballer Teddy Sheringham, before the competition.
Sheringham had cast the final vote which turned Lloyd from an ordinary girl-next-door to the newly crowned beauty queen. However, weeks later she told a tabloid magazine she had spent nights with Sheringham before he became a judge. She was forced to hand back her title and it was rumoured she was fined $200,000 by the pageant's chairman.
10 Beauty Queens Train Like Athletes
Photographer Tim Gruber followed pageant girls in the run up to Miss America and witnessed how much hard work they put into body conditioning. He revealed, "The amount of work the girls dedicate to competing - I came in a bit cynically, like, 'Oh, okay, pageant girls — this is gonna be pretty lifeless.' Then started to see them as athletes. They were competitors and this was their version of a sporting event."
The girls train for at least four hours a day in the months leading up to the competition. Then during the 19-day pageants, they are allowed an hour long break and spend this time exercising in their own hotel rooms.
9 The Time Schedules Are Gruelling
Contests usually last around three weeks from start to finish. This means a fully-packed 18-hour day filled with promoting, fashion shows, guest appearances at events and constant rehearsals.
Pictured above is the contestants of Miss Universe 2010. They were captured by photographer Tim Gruber as they raced back to their hotel rooms with only 30 minutes to get changed and appear back on stage.
8 There Is Also Little Time To Sleep
It's not unusual to find a beauty queen taking a ten-minute nap in a corridor as this might be the only time they have. There is next to no time to sleep thanks to not only the competition schedule but also the preparation of their routine for the next day.
Kamie Crawford, former Miss Teen USA 2010, surprisingly uses hemorrhoid cream as her go-to beauty fix. She said, "Preparation H—that is the best trick in the book. I put it under my eyes. If you’ve been crying, it will get rid of puffiness. I would go to sleep around 1 or 2AM, and be back up around 4:30 or 5AM. You don’t want to look tired, especially for an interview for the biggest pageant of your life."
7 Contestants Must Never Have Been Pregnant
Not only would you be kicked out of the contest if you were married but also there is a strict rule for pageants which reads: "A contestant must be of good moral character and never have been pregnant and is not now pregnant nor the adoptive parent of any child and has not been involved at any time in any act of moral turpitude."
All contestants for Miss America need to swear that they are unmarried and not pregnant, then if caught lying they face quite a hefty fine and the removal of their title.
6 Makeup Can Take Up To Eight Hours
Makeup has to be done at the very beginning of the day and there is little time throughout the rest of the show for touch ups. Many contestants are up from 3am applying their face and use everything from coconut oil to hairspray to make sure it stays in place.
One technique that takes up a lot of time is a new trend called "baking". Miss South Carolina, Daja Dial, explained the process to Today.com as, "Where you place loose powder under your eyes after applying concealer and allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes. After waiting, sweep the powder away and notice that your concealer is now set and you've highlighted under your eyes."
5 You Are Often Lied To
The bitter truth behind many of these contests is - well, there's not very much truth. There are supervisors who prep and care for the girls during the run up to the finals. Part of their job is to keep the energy of the contestants up so they are all big smiles when floating across the stage.
However, constantly being told that you're a sure winner only to leave the competition early can obviously cause a lot of tears. Miss Maryland, pictured above, broke down after being told she would not make the top 15 in the Miss USA pageant. She weeped to photographer Tim Gruber, "Everyone said I was going to win. I just don't get it."
4 The "Secret Rule Number Seven"
Only since the 1970's have women of different ethnicities been allowed to enter Miss America. Previously there was a controversial "Rule Number Seven" in place, which made it very clear that for women to qualify they must be "of good health and of the white race."
To satisfy this requirement, Miss America finalists would be asked to trace their ancestry right back through the generations to make sure they were absolutely of white race. Unbelievable that this rule was still in place only forty years ago.
3 The Cost Of Competing Can Run Into The Thousands
What many people don't realize is that entering these contests can cost thousands. There's the entry fee ranging from $300-$500, the dresses which can be between $700- $1,000 or as much as $5,000 for a more serious competitor, pageant coaches tend to charge around $100 an hour, professional hair and makeup usually then adds up to $500+.
Many contestants can secure a sponsorship to help cover some of the costs but others aren't so lucky. There is always the chance of leaving the process empty handed and broke.
2 They Are Placed Under Gruelling Judgement
Behind the scenes contestants are placed under intense scrutiny. During the beginning of the process, they are made to pose in front of judges for a long time while the judges grill them on their physiques. As they move along the line critiquing, the girls can hear every compliment or hard-hitting insult about their appearance.
Despite this harsh ridicule pageant bosses still attempt to claim it's all about inner beauty. Which is why this initial process takes place behind closed doors away from the public and press.
1 It Can Be Psychologically Damaging
The physical and emotional toll that young girls go through when competing in beauty competitions can be earth shattering. Nowadays, young Miss Universe-wannabes are starting to compete as young as 3-years-old. By age eight, they know how to apply their own makeup and wearing skimpy swimwear is a norm. Having your appearance judged at such a young age can cause damages to the self-esteem when older.
Child psychologist, Syd Brown, spoke about his worries on Good Morning America. He said, "Not only do children who compete in pageants measure their self-worth by their looks, they are in for a downfall if they don’t stay as pretty when they grow up. Kids could develop acne, or their figures might not develop into what they imagined they would. Many pageant kids who placed all their eggs in their looks basket might be in for emotional problems."