Has the “Most Beautiful Woman in the World” gotten too fat? Aishwary Rai went from Former Miss World title holder to Bollywood Actress, L’Oreal Cosmetics model, and possible global representative for the UN’s girl child campaign. She’s also a new mother to a baby girl, and at 38, hasn’t yet shed the “baby weight”. In a country where starvation is still common, she was one of the first Bollywood stars whose proportions were closer to supermodel thin than to curvier tradition. The backlash is especially interesting in that there are many Indians who expect her to keep up with Western icons such as Victoria Beckham or Angeline Jolie. Also, Bollywood actresses are generally not welcomed back on screen after motherhood, and while that attitude is changing, it remains to be seen whether the change will come “Hollywood style” with an expectation that these women return to their pre-baby bodies, or if Indian audiences can accept that women do often mature into different forms as they age. The Sydney Morning Herald.
- Fiji’s Miss World pageant has even more problems: first, Miss World Fiji 2012 winner Torika Watters come under scrutiny first for her age (she’s 16) and then her ethnic background (she’s half European). And then she was deemed too young for the international pageant, even though there had supposedly been pre-approval. Now, one of the judges, Fijian fashion designer Hupfeld Hoerder, says the pageant was a sham, and that the judges were not given criteria to judge on, and that they were pressured to name Watters as the winner. A new winner has been announced, 24-year-old Koini Vakaloloma, who will represent the country in China. San Francisco Chronicle.
- The Miss Universe Canada pageant is underway with the first transgender contestant taking the spotlight. Jenna Talackova, who received gender reassignment surgery four years ago, fought hard to be included, and is not only sharing the stage with the other contestants, but bringing in lots of extra publicity. CBC News.
- Also from the Pageant world: Miss England hopeful Kirsty Heslewood says that modelling and beauty pageants helped her overcome extreme shyness ans selective mutism. Know in her school as “the girl who wouldn’t speak”, Kirsty did not speak at all outside her home until she was seven years old. The Daily Mail.
- Morgan Spurlock, of “Supersize Me” fame, takes on the rapid rise of the men’s grooming industry, and men’s image issues. Featuring bodybuilders, competitive beard growers, and actors Jason Bateman and Will Arnett, it pruports that men are more vain in 2012 than in any point in history. The Boston Globe takes them seriously, while The New York Times does not. The Boston Globe. The New York Times.
If Spurlock and company really think 2012 is the most vain time ever for men, maybe they should visit a museum and check out some portraits from the eighteenth century. These guys didn’t have to wax their backs, but the wigs, silks, stockings and face powder were over the top. Here’s a link to a gallery of some very pretty rogues: The Portrait Project.