Pageant Fatigue

Nov 01 2016. views 1014

Are we suffering from pageant fatigue? 

Sri Lanka seems to be in the clutch of an epidemic of beauty pageants. Our little island with its 20 million or so population seem intent on staging a beauty pageant at such regular intervals, that some wonder if we will be sending planeloads of winners to pageants across the world. In the days of yore there was Miss Sri Lanka for Miss World and Miss Universe. With the passage of time we saw the addition of Miss Asia and recently there have been so many other titles ranging from Miss Tourism to even a Miss Virtual Beauty Queen conducted online. Despite producing a number of Miss This, That and The Other we still have not been able to produce any major winners since Maureen Hingert became a runner up in the Miss Universe competition in 1955 and more recently prolific beauty pageant title holder Rosy Senanayake when she won the first ever Mrs. World in 1985 after winning the Miss Asia Pacific International in 1981. Rosy is also in the Guinness Book of World Records for winning the most number of beauty pageants.

Many of these competitions have set requirements, height being one of them and more often than not our winners who attend these competitions do not meet the required height criteria, disqualifying them before their plane lands. Pageants are a big business for many people. It is questionable if these many pageant organisers do so in the genuine hope that they will produce a knock 'em down contestant or to line their own pockets with lucrative endorsement. What ever the reason, Sri Lanka is inundated with beauty pageants. Most recently we saw the staging of a Miss Earth, will Wind and Fire follow suit? Here's what our readers think of these varied beauty pageants. 

These are events to promote fashion and make up. Why are we obsessed with looks and beauty and not their intelligence, their love, their ability to be bread winner, mother and wife? Pageants are just another form of entertainment so we should not take them too seriously. - Jean Marc Flambert 

Our contestants only concentrate on their physical appearance and about their wardrobe. Personality and the educational background should also be considered when producing a contestant to represent the country at an international competition. Also the social welfare side of our contestants are at zero. - Tharuka Thathsarani Vithanage 

A few years ago, we had a Grandma contest, if I remember correctly. - Anver Ahamed 

These are rigged contests conducted by C-grade TV channels that will do anything to get ratings. Apparently such programming is popular in this country. - Anonymous 

Have you noticed that most of these pageants are won by 'known' people in the industry? When I see certain people winning these Miss and Mrs titles I can see it's all about whom you know and what you do for a living that matters the most. Some are aspiring actresses who want to gain fame through such pageants. If I'm not mistaken the most recent pageant for a competition of this nature had beauticians and choreographers among the judges. Isn't that being biased? I feel these pageants select their winner always by a simple yard stick ...only how well you are known and you are connected to known names in the industry. - Dilmini NW 

The calibre of so called contestants that we are putting out there falls short in many ways. The contestants in other countries including India prep these contestants from when they are quite young. They learn to walk, talk, answer questions, wave, etiquette, hair, makeup, etc. The type of people that I've seen coming from Sri Lanka cannot be compared to these people who have been eating, sleeping, and living the pageant life. The contestants should be well versed in global affairs, not just beauty. They should be able to articulate themselves and capture the judges. I cannot recall that many contestants produced by Sri Lanka that matches this bill. I don't think the person needs be able to speak English. They can communicate via an interpreter. - Samamali Perera 

Perhaps it's all a Miss Take and we are still searching for Miss Fortunate! - Milinda Premachandra 

I have nothing to do with beauty contests at this point of time in my life, yet I do follow a few and personally know professional trainers who groom contestants and do their bit to bring them up in all relevant spheres to compete successfully on an international platform. I know many personally and it's unfair by them when preconceived and biased opinions are stated about them. - Sandri Nugara Jayawardene 

We are sucking the glamour and prestige out of the title "Miss Sri Lanka" and killing it slowly with each and every additional pageant we bring in. We have to understand and appreciate that value is created only through scarcity. - Chrishantha Jayasinghe 

Far too many and methinks they have definitely "missed" the plot - such a waste of time and money when there are far more important issues in life to be dealt with. - Ayne Marie Leitch 

Paradise lacks quality entertainment, no? We only have theatre in parliament and ballets in the streets but we are surrounded by drama queens! - Dushy Ranatunga 

Don't forget the Mr. This and Mr. That too! And half these are held in obscure bars and nightclubs most often in Eastern Europe with about 5 participants! Heck - we should be winning many more international crowns at this rate - don't you think? - Savithri Rodrigo 

These competitions are good for people to watch and relieve their stress. - Chamani Dias 

The really pretty girls with beauty and brains are out there persuing amazing things academic related. Someone needs to scout them out and bring them back. Plus most aren't interested in the pageants held these days as they aren't held in a fair manner. - Yusra Aziz Eliyas 

Miss/ Mrs / Ms / Mr / Missed.. we are drowned with too many contests titles and winners we do not remember. Sadly these winners do nothing to honor their on stage pledges or much to be remembered by. We are urgently in need of an academy to groom our wannabe beauties on the finer points of winning. - Angela Seneviratne, Former Miss Sri Lanka to Miss World 

It's every girl's dream to be a beauty queen. Therefore it's beneficial to have a variety of pageants as it gives more women the chance to be crowned and experience a once in a life time privilege. Although in a large country like India or Thailand it's practical to have many pageants that cover the demography but since Sri Lanka is a relatively small country it will dilute the exclusivity of the title if there are many. In my opinion it is better for the various franchise holders to consolidate and award the opportunity for the runners-up of the major pageants to represent Sri Lanka at international level. - Faith Landers, Miss Sri Lanka 2008 

It's another money making tactic. The winners are sent to some obscure unheard of contests and who knows what these poor girls have to face. Why can't we emulate India and have one big contest and up to the 4th runner up is sent to international contests of repute. - Philip Mutukisna


Tina Edward Gunawardhana

Tina Edward Gunawardhana is a journalist specialising in travel, fashion, lifestyle, cuisine and personalities. She is also the Features Editor for Hi!! Magazine. An intrepid traveller, she likes to show readers the world through her eyes and experiences. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - tinajourno [email protected]


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