Venezuela is the hands-down champion of international beauty pageants, boasting six Miss Universe and six Miss World titles. Not coincidentally, it’s also a leader in television, cosmetics, plastic and dental surgery, and other related activities.
Pageants are Venezuela’s second largest industry after oil, in effect making women in the beauty business the country’s second most valuable natural resource. Any potential Miss Venezuela lives under a microscope and women spend a fortune on looking their best despite the country’s 80% poverty rate.
Orlando Arriagada’s disturbing documentary follows two young girls as they train to become perfect Miss material – even showing how the multi-billion dollar pageant industry coexisted with the Hugo Chavez government. Will the lure of climbing the social ladder – and a fairy-tale life full of fringe benefits – tempt these women beyond the bounds of reason? How do we judge the true cost of beauty?