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Hackett, John; Gammon, Roland; Ross, Sayre; Breslow, Sally (ed.) / See
Vol. 10, No. 5 (Sept. 1951)

Patterson, Russell
The truth about beauty contests,   pp. 24-25-27 PDF (2.3 MB)

Page 26

N"-" 13
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Frequent winner in East is Mary Collins of Texas. Mary
won first six contests she entered. Wins now total 37.
California and Three States la
South Produce Prettiest Girls
held on a reasonably high esthetic, ethical and
moral level. Others are not.
Some are downright dishonest. In these, spon-
sors pre-select winners who, they feel, are best
able to sell their products. It may surprise you
to know that, often. sponsors do not favor girls
of extraordinary beauty. Often, to the sponsor,
the ideal is a girl who is pretty in an average way,
a girl with whom the "average" female customer
can identify herself.
The flamboyant ballyhoo attending many
beauty contests has attracted unsavory hangers-on
to some. Teen-age girls with stardust in their eyes
get a fleeting touch of fame and fortune at these
contests and, in their inexperience, may be carried
away by fast talk of fraudulent agents and busi-
ness managers. Persuaded that with proper handl-
ing they can become stars, girls sign contracts
under which they are booked into low dives as
singers and dancers, with the managers pocketing
most of their earnings.
Again, so much is expected of contestants that
when they lose some of them are crushed. They
feel, absurdly, that they have let the home town
down. One girl I know refused to go home to face
family and friends and went to live in New
York instead. There she wrote her friends of her
fabulous success as a model, though in truth she
lived in poverty and finally turned to prostitution.
Judging Not As Easy As It Looks
But, as a rule, the objectionable features are
far less sensational. After all, most of the con-
testants have reasonably good sense and at most
of the big contests they are carefully chaperoned.
Most of my objections are more minor. For one
thing, the win-at-any-price hysteria that now sur-
rounds so many contests makes judging a harrow-
ing chore. Blind partisans have even called me
names and threatened me with violence. Norman
Rettig, a producer and public relations man, was
set upon by toughs after he had acted as judge
in a Brooklyn "Miss Motion Picture Fan" contest.
Again, contest results are apt to be unfair even
when the judges are free to pick as they choose.
The only way to be sure of a competently run
contest is to name artists as judges. Artists have
made it their business to study beauty and are
not swayed by unimportant, irrelevant considera-
tions-a girl's make-up, or the fit of her swimsuit.
I have often been asked where the loveliest girls
in the country come from. New York takes top
honors, but many New York beauties were born
elsewhere. Usually, the prettiest girls come from
Florida, Georgia, Texas and California.
However, if the truth be told, none of the girls
in any of these contests can really qualify as
ranking American beauties. In fact, in the history
of American beauty pageants, there has not been
a single winner who really deserved to be called
a reigning queen of beauty.
The reason is simple: Girls who enter beauty
contests are anywhere from 16 to 25 years old.
But a woman does not achieve her greatest beauty
until she is between 30 and 35. Hedy Lamarr,
Lana Turner, Jinx Falkenburg, Lilli Palmer, Vir-
ginia Mayo, Faye Emerson and Ingrid Bergman,
to name a few, are much lovelier today than they
were ten years ago.
No Miss Beauty Contest Winner achieves her
peak until ten years or more after she receives
her crown. By that time the hullabaloo has died
down and the public has long forgotten her.
v R'0
Frequent winner in West: Hollywood's Pat Hall. Height
5'6"; weight, 115; waist. 24; bust. 351V2; hips, 34.
I to

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