“She used to be a beauty queen” is an expression we hear more often than we used to, partly because of the proliferation of beauty contests, and partly because these days, it’s almost as if for some people, it’s almost the be-all and end-all of their existence – apart from modelling, and singing.
There was a time when the term was used to compliment someone who wore her age well; gradually, the term was also used to mock someone who was down on her luck and perhaps the only contract she would get would be to partner Michelin Man.
There are also those pageant queens who lost their crowns after they were discovered to have been married, or mothers, or involved in underworld activity, risqué modelling shoots, or not adhering to the specifications of the contest requirements.
There was also the ridiculous instance where Olivia O’Neil of New Zealand, Miss Teen Wanganui, was bereft of her crown for a risible offence; she returned to her natural colour (dark brown), having competed, and won, with blond tresses.
Alas, a section of the press was recently alight with the phrase again – and this time it was used in connection with Domonique Ramirez, the 17-year-old who was crowned Miss Antonio last year.
This young lady’s crime was… being too fat. Now we have all read books about how the protégées of sugar daddies who finally get to marry them have to sign pre-nuptials stipulating that they never get above a certain weight.
The same thing happened to Ms Ramirez – without a Hefner in sight. In her case, she had to maintain her weight at 129 pounds for 5’8, which she had been on the day she was crowned. Like O’Neil , albeit for a different reason, she had not maintained the image that had won her the contest.
Her crime was that she ate “too many tacos”. Apparently, she is also one of those women who took modelling jobs that were not endorsed by the organisation that crowned her, and arrived late for activities that she was duty bound to host or simply attend.
All this was good news for Ashley Dixon the first runner-up, who has now been handed the crown on a silver platter, in a manner of speaking. In an obvious put-down to Ramirez, Dixon was touted as a “… talented, mature young woman who will encourage and serve as a positive role model for our youth.”
This intimates that anyone who is not thin makes a bad role model – morals, empathy, dress sense and manners do not matter any more. Or is it that a role model must simply toe the line drawn by superiors, even when it comes to morals and so forth?
Despite slogans like “The Hourglass is the new Zero”, despite the ban on Size Zero Women and Manorexic Men, and the deaths of several high-profile models from anorexia, it seems that matchstick men and women are still in demand when it comes to serving as clothes hangers, perhaps because that’s what they look like.
I would say that designers sometimes go for the prepubescent look, the androgynous look, the bi-sexual, the skeletal look, and even the genderless look, to shock us into noticing their clothes. Then, we notice the models – who all appear to have come out of the same clone mill, where even the term Reduced Fat is a considered a profanity.
Whatever’s next? A thin male model in a wedding gown? Someone who looks like a Klingon, only with make-up slapped on more artistically? Oops! I’d almost forgotten Andrej Pejic and Andre J.