I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all

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I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, sewer, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all, blogging, Costumed Beagle enthusiast. I am not always pleasant, although through intensive cupcake therapy I have learned not to throw knives at people anymore.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Last night was the Miss Universe pageant, the pageant of all pageants and my favorite pageant.  My favorite way to watch it is with bestest friends with yummy treats and snarky comments.
Listen, there are lots of things to hate and mock about beauty pageants.  I get it.  I was never a beauty queen; never wanted to be. The swimsuit competition?  A horrifying display of just how far we have not come.
But most of of that can be set aside for two things: The Parade of Nations costumes and the evening gowns.  There was so much sparkle on that stage I could see the reflection on the horizon all the way from Vegas.

So...the National Costume.  This used to be a chance for the gals to display actual bits from an actual cultural that they come from. Honestly, there is very little of that anymore, and increasingly the girls all look pretty much alike.  About the same height, about the same build, pretty much that same hairdo and makeup, no matter where you hail from.  And although the new costume tradition doesn't always speak much to heritage, it almost always shows us a little about the country.  And it almost never disappoints.

So lets get to it.
The best and worst National Costume.  I'm going to divide this up into categories for Clarity.

Classy with a nod to tradition:

Miss China.  Lovely.  Representative of a
particular dynasty of China (like the plate).
No surprise, she wins this category with me  AND
with the judges, with whom I seldom ever agree.

Miss Spain.  Modern with a hint of the Flamenco dancer.
Plus you never really go wrong with hot pink
Miss Philippines.  Very Classy.  She makes it to the top 5.
Plus notice how she's wearing a crown already...
sort of a subliminal suggestion "You know I look
good in one and so you should give me the big one..."

Next Category: Islanders.  These people think outside the box.  Not always in a good way, but they're not afraid to try stuff.

Miss Aruba.  There is a LOT of reference to the sea this year.
But this one definitely wins for best Sea Witch.

Miss Bahamas.  I think their tourism department
is going to love the capitalizing on the whole pirate thing.
Sexy She-Pirate.

Miss Cayman Islands.  Her costume reflects the Cayman,
a type of crocodilian creature...and she also sort of crept
around the stage--performance style, I think trying to look fierce...
but not quite looking beauty queen like.

Miss Trinidad & Tobago.  I always love their costumes because they are so
colorful.  And she totally pulls it off.  

Next we have South America.  They get a category unto themselves because they take this competition VERY seriously.  These women will go on to be some of the most powerful people in their country.  Plus, I think because of Mardi Gras in some of the bigger SA countries, they know how to do big and bright and feathered...which never goes wrong.

Miss Panama.  This is what I'm talking about.  They can fill the whole stage
while still managing to wear almost nothing.  That is a skill.  Plus, you can
at least isolate this costume to a continent, so culturally speaking
it hits the mark too.

Miss Peru.  This is what happens when She-Ra visits Machu-Pichu.
Awesome happens.  I wish you could really see her shoes too because
they are probably 7 inches high.

Miss Chili.  Very few things say This is my Culture like
a sexy representation of the Culture that colonized you.
Or maybe they just like the circus a lot.

Next is the Invasion of the Unitards.  I don't care how much beglitz you put on these things, they are still a unitard and have no place in the civilized world of beauty pageants.

Miss England.  I think maybe her country was so busy with  the Olympics and
the Diamond jubilee they forgot to hire a designer for her.  So she made her own.
There are few things more flattering to a figure than the Union Jack
stretched out in Lycra.

Miss Netherlands.  Those are supposed to be
representations of windmills coming off her shoulders.
I think there are some aging Glam rockers who are salivating right now.

Miss Romania.  There are really few words for a NUDE unitard.
When she turns around and saunters away, she just looks naked.
Which was perhaps the point. 

Then there is the Fierce category.  Perhaps a nod to all the superhero stuff going on in the last few years?  Beauty Queens--superheros...you could draw all sorts of conclusions.

South Africa.  Like some Roman Goddess emerging from anything...but
still managing to look benevolent.
Miss Curacao.  Ready to fly Miss South Africa to
where ever she wants to go...
Miss Tanzania.
No words.
Miss Ireland.  Ok, maybe she isn't fierce, but she
is the loyal sidekick that gets the terrible costume that
no one remembers.  

And lastly, the Confused Category.

Miss Australia.  Her costume was inspired by the Sydney Opera House.
I guess they didn't catch that episode of Project Runway with
all the architectural stuff THAT SUCKED.

Miss Canada.  Because (much like the US) Canada has no real
cultural identity, they chose to represent everyone else.  In a quilt cape
Aunty Unice made.

Miss Denmark.  In perhaps the worst costume of the night...poor Miss
Denmark tried to save  herself by adding in a little humor to the moment.

Miss Switzerland.  Her cultural Identity is...a sexy bellboy?

Miss Venezuela. She is a box of chocolates.  This
one, more than any other surprised me.  I mean, Denmark
is not exactly know for its dedication to the sport of beauty queens,
but Venezuelans live and breath and die by this stuff.

And Lastly our very own Miss USA.  Now to be fair...we usually have the WORST costume.  This is partly due to the fact that we also have no solid culture to unify us (not a bad thing) but also because we lack a certain finesse to the whole thing. I've spoken about this here. But I was surprised.  This was almost good.  And it certainly wasn't the worst thing on stage (although I think we had a fair amount of help this year...).
AND *spoiler alert* in case you Tivo-ed it and were going to watch it later...

MISS USA wins.  True story.  First time since 1997.
I actually really like the fireworks.
And thus ends 2012 for beauty pageants.  I'm thinking I really need to GO to these things.  In person.  That would be fantastic.  What do you say MSJ?  Wanna go?

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