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A lesson learned about attractiveness

By Xu Junqian in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2012-09-04 09:51

Pageants provide a life-long benefit to contestants.

While confidence is often said to be an attribute of the most beautiful women in the world, there are other factors.

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In the case of Miss Universe China, the number of teeth shown while smiling is an issue; the angle between the face and neck has to be correct when walking toward the judges; and lipstick has to match the swimsuit or gown.

"There isn't a culture of learning how to be a beauty here in China," says Yue-Sai Kan, the national director of Miss Universe China, who participated in a beauty pageant at the age of 19 in the United States, where the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region native grew up.

"Our girls may learn everything, from mathematics to sports to history, but in countries like Venezuela, the hotbed of beauty queens, teenage girls are taught how to wear make-ups and walk in high-heel shoes."

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"Therefore, we invited a number of fashion and elegance masters to help our girls with their pageantry look," Kan adds.

Lizzette Kattan, a household name in the fashion world, is one of these "masters".

An Italian stylist and fashion director of magazines that include Harper's Bazaar France, and Italian Cosmopolitan, Kattan was in charge of the look of every one of the 21 Chinese Miss Universe beauties, at about 20 events in the past 30 days, excluding the finals contest.

"That means hundreds of dresses and shoes for fittings, and thousands of pieces of jewelry and accessories," Kattan says.

Each fitting session took a minimum of 12 hours and several days of searching for accessories.

"The difference between dressing a model and a beauty queen is that with the former, you can make them look cool, trendy, sexy or whatever the theme calls for; while with the latter, it's elegance, elegance, and elegance, even in bathing suits," she says.

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But for Lu Celania Sierra, a model and pageant coach, the problem Chinese women have competing with their global counterparts is that they are too "quiet".

"Miss Universe must be strong. Wherever she goes, she is to be noticed and remembered - and of course, with a good impression. For Chinese women, it's very difficult not to be humble and quiet," Sierra says.

Other professionals include make-up artists, social etiquette experts, psychology counselors, and TV anchorwomen to help with speaking. In addition, Fadil Berisha, the official photographer of the Miss Universe pageant since 2002, teaches women how to show off their best sides.

"The experience will provide life-long benefits for all of the girls," Kan says. "It will be a lesson in beauty that most Chinese women never get to have."

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