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Pattaya
By Biel Calderon
07 Mar 2019

Van from Japan does her makeup backstage as she prepares to compete with 20 other transgender women at the Miss International Queen 2019, an annual transgender beauty pageant celebrated in Pattaya on March 8, 2019.

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Pattaya
By Biel Calderon
07 Mar 2019

Contestants wait for their turn to talk with the Jury during the Miss International Queen 2019, an annual transgender beauty pageant celebrated in Pattaya on March 8, 2019.

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Pattaya
By Biel Calderon
07 Mar 2019

Adriana Jya of Peru after talking with the Jury during the Miss International Queen 2019, an annual transgender beauty pageant celebrated in Pattaya on March 8, 2019.

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Pattaya
By Biel Calderon
07 Mar 2019

A traditional costume from Peru during the national costume round at the Miss International Queen 2019, an annual transgender beauty pageant celebrated in Pattaya on March 8, 2019.

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Pattaya
By Biel Calderon
07 Mar 2019

Contestants wear traditional costumes with an innovative touch for the national costume round at Miss International Queen 2019, an annual transgender beauty pageant celebrated in Pattaya on March 8, 2019.

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Pattaya
By Biel Calderon
07 Mar 2019

Contestants backstage during the Miss International Queen 2019, an annual transgender beauty pageant celebrated in Pattaya on March 8, 2019.

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Pattaya
By Biel Calderon
07 Mar 2019

A contestant gets ready backstage as she prepares for the final round of Miss International Queen 2019, an annual transgender beauty pageant celebrated in Pattaya on March 8, 2019.

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Pattaya
By Biel Calderon
07 Mar 2019

Contestants wait for their turn to talk with the Jury during the Miss International Queen 2019, an annual transgender beauty pageant celebrated in Pattaya on March 8, 2019.

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Pattaya
By Biel Calderon
07 Mar 2019

A contestant gets ready backstage during the Miss International Queen 2019, an annual transgender beauty pageant celebrated in Pattaya on March 8, 2019.

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Pattaya
By Biel Calderon
07 Mar 2019

A contestant gets ready backstage during the Miss International Queen 2019, an annual transgender beauty pageant celebrated in Pattaya on March 8, 2019.

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Pattaya
By Biel Calderon
07 Mar 2019

Rafaela Manfrini of Brazil adds the finishing touches to her makeup backstage during the celebration of Miss International Queen 2019, an annual transgender beauty pageant celebrated in Pattaya on March 8, 2019

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Pattaya
By Biel Calderon
07 Mar 2019

Jazell Barbie Royale of USA poses for the cameras after getting her makeup done. Jazell was crowned 'Miss International Queen 2019'.

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Pattaya
By Biel Calderon
07 Mar 2019

Contestants backstage during the Miss International Queen 2019, an annual transgender beauty pageant celebrated in Pattaya on March 8, 2019.

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Pattaya
By Biel Calderon
07 Mar 2019

Jazell Barbie Royale from the USA was crowned 'Miss International Queen 2019' in Pattaya, Thailand, on March 8. This yearly event is considered as one of the world's biggest and most popular beauty pageant for transgender women. 20 contestants from around the world competed for the crown this year taking part in various rounds, including the national costume performance. Thailand's contestant Kanwara Kaewjin and Yaya of China were named first and second runner-up, respectively. This well-known pageant was launched in 2014 as a platform for trans women to display their talent and to raise understanding and acceptance of transgender people. While they all fiercely compete to win the title of Miss International Queen, the event also brings trans women together and offers them an opportunity to speak out for transgender equality. The contestants come from different backgrounds, but they all share similar stories of both discrimination and achievement over their identities.

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Pattaya
By Biel Calderon
07 Mar 2019

Do Nhat Ha from Vietnam during the national costume round at Miss International Queen 2019, an annual transgender beauty pageant celebrated in Pattaya on March 8, 2019.

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Venezuela's Beauty Factory
Caracas, Venezuela
By Patrick
08 Jan 2015

There is a saying among Venezuelans: “Venezuela’s main exports are petrol and beautiful women.” Known primarily for its natural wonders, its ex-president Hugo Chavez and its crime rates, Venezuela is a country where beauty is taken to the next level. Miss Venezuela transcends any other national beauty contest and over the decades it has become a trademark for the country, transforming a TV show into a national pride seen by millions of people.

Families around the country gather in front of the screen to watch the show. In a place where people have found in satellite TV a way to avoid state-controlled media, this beauty pageants is the most seen show of the year with an audience’s share never below 60%. The day after the pageant, the new ‘queen’ is all over the newspapers, and the results creates a debate worthy of a presidential campaign. Venezuelans elect their queen, which symbolizes more than a woman. She becomes an icon, a symbol of beauty and nationhood.

For many women, modeling offers a chance to leave one of most dangerous countries in the world - where unemployment and a strict currency control make it difficult to look for opportunities abroad. According to the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence, 24.980 people were killed in 2014 – ex-Miss Venezuela Monica Spear was among those victims. With constant class tension and when and bloody confrontation is part of daily life, the election of a Venezuelan “goddess” is a rare source of common ground in the society.

"I've been modeling since I was 5," said Josbey Arcia. "I believe this industry pushes you to your limits. You need to have personality. Being a model is fantastic, being on a catwalk while people look at you, knowing that some girls hope to be you some day. It's incredible."

Venezuela holds the record for the most “Miss Universe” titles in the world (7) and is Guinness World Record holder for winning two years in a row (2008, 2009). Gabriela Isler, Miss Venezuela 2013 and current Miss Universe, will pass the crown next January 25th in Miami.

Migbelis Lynette, a 19-year-old from Cabimas will represent Venezuela in the most important beauty pageant of the year. However, Venezuelans do not choose the most natural girl. The country is a paradise for plastic surgery in terms of price and quality. 35,000 to 40,000 breast enlargements take place every year, and Miss Venezuela contestants are no exception.

Advertisements can be found everywhere, acting as a reminder that you can always look better. Women are aware of the influence of commercial media, but that does not diminish a perpetual competition of the prettiest. The definition of beauty gets lost between scalpel and silicone, and perfection is the ultimate goal.

These beauty queens have set a standard that many young girls hope to achieve one day. Modeling school becomes another extracurricular activity, just like ballet or theatre, making experience crucial to success in the business.

Five-year-old girls learn how to walk with heeled shoes and learn basic modeling movements and photo-shoot skills, so that when they reach fifteen they are ready for the big catwalks.

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Queen of Controversy: Miss Lebanon 2014
Koura
By Pamela Nabhan
28 Dec 2014

Photo gallery of Sally Greige, Miss Lebanon 2014, who was at the center of an international controversy after allegedly being 'photo-bombed' by Miss Israel at the Miss Universe beuaty pageant in Miami. Lebanon and Israel are technically in a state of war and Lebanese citizens are banned from having contact with Israelis. 

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ELLE Fashion Week_013
Bangkok
By Biel Calderon
12 Oct 2014

A Thai man looks for a seat before a show during 'Elle Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2014'.

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ELLE Fashion Week_012
Bangkok
By Biel Calderon
12 Oct 2014

A Thai man looks for a seat before a show during 'Elle Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2014'.

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ELLE Fashion Week_011
Bangkok
By Biel Calderon
12 Oct 2014

A Thai woman looks for a seat before a show during 'Elle Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2014'.

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ELLE Fashion Week_010
Bangkok
By Biel Calderon
12 Oct 2014

Papers with star shape have been thrown to the catwalk during a show.

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ELLE Fashion Week_001
Bangkok
By Biel Calderon
12 Oct 2014

A Thai woman plays with her phone during a break between runways.

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ELLE Fashion Week_002
Bangkok
By Biel Calderon
12 Oct 2014

A Thai man waits for the next show during 'Elle Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2014'. The biggest fashion show in Thailand is also an opportunity for Thai high-society to show their finest.

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ELLE Fashion Week_003
Bangkok
By Biel Calderon
12 Oct 2014

Thai young take a break between shows during 'Elle Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2014'.

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ELLE Fashion Week_004
Bangkok
By Biel Calderon
12 Oct 2014

Thai young relax after a show. 'Elle Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2014' is the biggest fashion show in Thailand.

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ELLE Fashion Week_005
Bangkok
By Biel Calderon
12 Oct 2014

A Thai woman poses for a picture during during 'Elle Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2014'. Cameras will keep rolling after every runway to show the style of the attendants to the event.

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ELLE Fashion Week_006
Bangkok
By Biel Calderon
12 Oct 2014

Dozens of roses are been thrown to the catwalk after a runway to show gratitude to the designer.

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ELLE Fashion Week_007
Bangkok
By Biel Calderon
12 Oct 2014

A Thai man leaves catwalk area after a show.

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ELLE Fashion Week_008
Bangkok
By Biel Calderon
12 Oct 2014

A Thai man leaves catwalk area after a show during 'Elle Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2014'.

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ELLE Fashion Week_009
Bangkok
By Biel Calderon
12 Oct 2014

Attendants to 'Elle Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2014' leave catwalk area after a runway.

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Ge'gyai, Ngari, Tibet, China
By Biel Calderon
12 Oct 2014

People check their smartphones as they wait the start of the 'Curated by Ek Thongprasert's' show during the 'Elle Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2014' in central Bangkok.

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ELLE Fashion Week_022
Bangkok
By Biel Calderon
12 Oct 2014

An attendant to 'Elle Fashion Week Autumn/Winter, 2014' poses for cameras. Snapshots of the attendants will flood social network sites specialised in fashion industry.

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ELLE Fashion Week_021
Bangkok
By Biel Calderon
12 Oct 2014

An attendant to 'Elle Fashion Week Autumn/Winter, 2014' poses for cameras. Snapshots of the attendants will flood social network sites specialised in fashion industry.

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ELLE Fashion Week_020
Bangkok
By Biel Calderon
12 Oct 2014

Public relax between shows at 'Elle Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2014'.

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ELLE Fashion Week_018
Bangkok
By Biel Calderon
12 Oct 2014

A model marches during a show under the watchful eye of the staff.

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ELLE Fashion Week_017
Bangkok
By Biel Calderon
12 Oct 2014

Thai designer Ek Thongprasert is seen backstage during his show.

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ELLE Fashion Week_019
Bangkok
By Biel Calderon
12 Oct 2014

A Thai designer waves to the public after her show.

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ELLE Fashion Week_014
Bangkok
By Biel Calderon
12 Oct 2014

Thai designer Ek Thongprasert makes a reverence to the audience after his show.

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ELLE Fashion Week_016
Bangkok
By Biel Calderon
12 Oct 2014

'Elle Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2014' staff prepare the next show.

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ELLE Fashion Week_015
Bangkok
By Biel Calderon
12 Oct 2014

'Elle Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2014' staff is seen at the catwalk area before a show.