Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 29th 2015 Contents B8
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"Is Germany a protest vote?" my sister asked,
struggling to contain her cynicism as she trawled
through the photographs of Miss Universe contest-
ants dressed in what was described as their "national
costumes" last weekend. It certainly looked like
some kind of political protest.
"How is this representative of Germany?" I asked
a friend, staring at the smiling, Teutonic blonde
wrapped in a kind of Jean-Michel Basquiat-esque
dystopian technicolour dream coat which covered
her entire body (including her arms---which begged
the question: how was she holding the bunch of
white balloons which floated above her head?)
"Graffiti and overcast skies?" he replied, sardon-
In hindsight, it may have been a figurative rep-
resentation of the fall of the Berlin Wall. But I guess
we ll never really know.
Fair play, though, to the brainchild behind Ger-
many s creation. Let s face it, there s only so many
ways you can re-jig the milkmaid in Lederhosen look
without it looking like porn.
It s easy to stereotype your own country and parody
its most obvious iconography---look at Miss GB
dressed in a sexy Grenadier Guards outfit, or Miss
Canada dressed literally as ice hockey. There were
subtleties in that Canada costume that went unno-
ticed---the Stanley Cup in miniature on her head, the
thigh-length boots laced up like ice-skates with sil-
If I was designing them I d have done away with
subtle ironies. Canada would have been dressed as
a half-Mountie, half-moose hybrid---just as Jevon
King was forced into a 50/50 steelpan/hummingbird
Miss GB would have been fish n chips wrapped in
the News of the World and sprinkled liberally with
salt and vinegar.
Miss Jamaica would have been the fattest spliff
you ve ever seen. Using e-cigarette patented tech-
nology, her head would have billowed ganja-scented
fumes over the audience.
Go big or go home. Like Miss Indonesia, weighed
down by the creativity of her own seamstress, she
refused to buckle under the 44lb outfit and ultimately
triumphed in the costume competition.
Miss Curacao had the right idea coming as a bottle
of actual Curacao. Leave not a hint of doubt in their
minds, Miss Curacao, you are literally Curacao.
Next year, forget about the pan/hummingbird
fiasco and send Miss T&T as a bottle of pepper sauce.
Or better still, a doubles.
Last year I wrote about how the very concept of
Miss Universe and beauty pageantry undermines the
status of women. This year, I m just seeing the whole
thing as a kind of wonderful comedy. If it was satire
it couldn t have been better scripted.
The judges asked unintelligible questions in broken
English. Manny Pacquiao (whose day job is similar
to the Miss Universe s in that he parades half-naked
in front of millions but different in that he punches
people in the face until they re concussed) asked
what Miss USA would do in the face of a terrorist.
She literally had no clue. Neither would I. She s not
James Bond, Manny!
Miss Ukraine was asked if she would replace the
bikini round with something else. "I m comfortable
wearing every things!" came her response. Of course
you are, love, except a woman s suffrage sash, I ll
When Miss Jamaica was asked by Gloria Estefan s
husband what she would do to reduce the statistic
that one in three women in the world "experiences
violence in her lifetime," she said, "Crime is a global
phenomenon. It does not affect just one nation,"
before flouncing off with her interestingly short hair
as the crowd screamed her name.
Miss Colombia was asked by a creepy professional
skateboarder what women could learn from men and
she answered, "I believe there are still men who
believe in equality and I believe that that is what
women should learn from men."
One wonders if the one-third of women
who experience violence in their lifetimes
will be on the receiving end of this valuable
lesson, or the two-thirds of women who
don t experience violence in their lifetimes.
The final question of the night came from
a Facebook user who wanted to know what
each country s greatest contribution to the
world was. As Miss USA made her way to
the microphone I imagined her saying, "The
atomic bomb. Specifically, to Japan." As
Miss Jamaica came up I imagined her saying,
"Duh, did you see my ganja outfit?" When
Miss Colombia, the eventual winner,
declared her nation "world leaders," I blurted
out, "Yeah! In coffee and cocaine exporta-
And then it was all done, and short-
haired Miss Jamaica was left heartbroken
and Jevon King tore her pan/hummingbird
costume to shreds and burnt it and I went
back to deciphering the national costumes.
Miss Venezuela came as a tree. Kenya
came as Lupita Nyong o, Dominican Repub-
lic came as the Virgin Mary with the baby
Jesus in her womb, Korea came as the whole
world, Israel came in a dress she d picked
out in the sales, Hungary brought a pet rab-
bit, Gabon wore the bark of a tree, Nether-
lands came as a Van Gogh painting but
forgot the hacked off ear, and Miss Guam,
well...it s hard to say with any degree of
A night of Miss-shapes and Miss-stakes
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