The close link between cosmetic surgery and beauty pageant organizations

January 3, 2019 - 7:30 PM
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Miss Venezuela 2018
Miss Venezuela Sthefany Gutiérrez competes during the final round of the Miss Universe pageant in Bangkok, Thailand, December 17, 2018. (Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha)

Miss Venezuela Sthefany Gutierrez thanked her cosmetic surgeon for enhancing some of her facial features, prompting a recall that their country encourages surgeries among beauty pageant candidates.

Gutierrez, who finished as second runner-up in Miss Universe 2018, replied to a “before” and “after” picture shared by Froilan Paez on Instagram, a doctor who specializes in aesthetic and functional nasal surgery, saying:

“Thank you so much for your professional attention and excellent work. The best!! See you soon.”

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Le dicen el zar @zardelabelleza ___ Pero para mi es una escuela , en sintonía con personas como @estebanmvelasquez , me enseñaron a entender la estética como un todo ___ No es una nariz , no es un tamaño … es una belleza integral que no necesariamente viene ya puesta a punta , precisamente el reto es sacarle su mejor potencial , contando siempre con un equipo de trabajo a la par con su forma de pensar , un enfoque multidisciplinario de belleza ___ Desde el peinado hasta el mínimo detalle en su nariz, todo suma ___ En la foto @sthefanygutierrez1 , un verdadero diamante que supo en quien confiar para sacar su mejor brillo ___ #rinoplastia #rhinoplasty #nosejob #otorrinolaringologia #otolaryngology #cirugiafacial #facialplasticsurgery #svrcf #iffprss #rinoplastiaprimaria #primaryrhinoplasty #rinoplastiasecundaria #revisionrhinoplasty #narizdesviada #deviatednose #ostetomias #osteotomies #mentoplastia #mentoplasty #otoplastia #otoplasty

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Paez in his hashtags included the words “rhinoplasty,” “mentoplasty” and “otoplasty” which suggested that the beauty queen had her nose, chin and ears enhanced.

Rhinoplasty is a surgery that changes the shape of the nose while mentoplasty is done to reshape the chin. Otoplasty, meanwhile, changes the shape of the outer ear.

Paez also shared another picture of Gutierrez on December 17, the day of Miss Universe 2018’s coronation. He included the mentioned hashtags in the post.

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Miss Venezuela y segunda finalista del Miss Universo 2018 es @sthefanygutierrez1 ___ Una carrera increíble desde que llegaste a mi consulta desde el oriente del país de la mano de @estebanmvelasquez ___ Fui testigo de cada paso de tu preparación y esfuerzo , de cómo pasaste de salir en desventaja en la carrera para pasar a ser la protagonista __ Del cuadro final del miss Miranda , te abriste camino donde ganaste un miss Venezuela ___ E imposible dejarlo ahi, el @zardelabelleza , sin saber qué era su último año en la organización, dio el todo como cada uno de sus 40 años y ocho coronas lo hizo para sacarte tu máximo potencial ___ Supiste manejar la transición y al llegar a #thailandia te convertiste en la favorita inmediatamente ___ Hoy , al igual que para todas los venezolanos, eres mi #missuniverso __ Y como contigo, esta es una prueba más de que vale la pena apostarle a este país y a su capital humano en todas sus presentaciones ___ Seguiremos construyendo reinas ___ #rinoplastia #rhinoplasty #nosejob #otorrinolaringologia #otolaryngology #cirugiafacial #facialplasticsurgery #svrcf #iffprss #rinoplastiaprimaria #primaryrhinoplasty #rinoplastiasecundaria #revisionrhinoplasty #narizdesviada #deviatednose #ostetomias #osteotomies #mentoplastia #mentoplasty #otoplastia #otoplasty

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It is unclear whether Gutierrez underwent cosmetic surgery before or after joining Miss Universe 2018. However, there is no rule that prohibits contestants from undergoing certain procedures.

This was confirmed by Paula Shugart before, who heads the Miss Universe Organization.

“We don’t encourage it, but we don’t prohibit it, either,” she said, referring to cosmetic surgery.

“Miss Universe in the 21st century wants to be a reflection of the world we live in, so we really don’t have a problem with contestants that had some kind of procedure done,” Shugart added.

Social media users commented that cosmetic surgery is highly encouraged in Venezuela, the country where Gutierrez came from.

Science as way to ‘perfect’ beauty 

Sthefany Gutierrez is not the first Venezuelan representative in Miss Universe to have her physical features enhanced.

Eva Ekvall, Miss Universe 2001’s third runner-up, revealed in an interview that she had a nose job and breast enhancement.

There were other Venezuelan beauty queens who were alleged to have gone under the knife but remain unconfirmed like Miss Universe 2003 Dayana Mendoza and Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler.

Venezuela is among the countries with the most number of beauty queens in pageants. It has won 23 crowns, where seven are from Miss Universe, six from Miss World, eight from Miss International and two from Miss Earth.

Most reports credit Osmel Sousa for grooming young women in the country to win international beauty pageants.

Sousa is the former head of the Miss Venezuela Organization for 37 years who has called himself a “beauty tsar.” He believes in cosmetic surgeries as a way to enhance the physical appearances of Venezuelan contestants.

“This isn’t a nature contest. It’s a beauty contest, and science exists to help perfect beauty. There is nothing wrong with that,” Sousa revealed in an interview before.

The Miss Venezuela Organization employs a cosmetic and a dental surgeon who performs enhancements on beauty queen aspirants.

“Nothing is improvised in Miss Venezuela; everything is calculated. The girls are sculpted and rigidly trained,” Miss Universe Japan Former Director Ines Ligron disclosed.

Most beauty camps in Venezuela provide cosmetic surgeries, weight-loss programs and coaching in modeling, runway presentation and dancing.

Arturo Rojas, head of a breast implant supplier in the country, attributed it to Venezuela women being obsessed with physical appearances.

“Venezuelan woman are among the most vain in the world. Beauty is considered a basic necessity,” he said in an interview.