In Venezuela, Beauty Is Born ... and Made

"Umm ... is it that obvious?" she said when asked if she'd gone under the knife. "I guess everybody always asks you that, but I don't think it's a necessity to tell people what you have done. OK, maybe I had a little thing over here, over there, but I'm not going to tell you."

Women's Rights and Femininity

Contestant Adriana Vasini, a.k.a Miss Zulia? Also not telling.

"I think the most beautiful thing of a woman is the things that she never tells," Vasini said.

If the uniform answers from the contestants seem coached, it's for a very good reason: they are. The bootcamp-style training at the Miss Venezuela School is about more than simply looking spectacularly beautiful.

It is up to Jose Rafael Briceno, a former college professor, to teach the women how to carry themselves in public and how to answer questions from nosy reporters. "We've made a profession out of this," Briceno said, "because beauty is very special for the Venezuelan. The feminist revolution here was very particular, because in no way did we ever get to that point that, in order to win women's rights, you had to abandon femininity… which happened in some other countries, where women would consider the fact that they put on too much makeup or spent too much time on their hair, that would mean that they're in some way giving up to the macho side. That was never an issue here -- women won their rights and they kept on being very feminine."

In doing so, they have uncovered a formula for what the world -- or at least the world of beauty pageants -- considers perfect beauty.

So what is it?

"I can't put it into words," said Sousa, "but I have an eye for it, I have it in my mind."

Sousa spotted that perfection in Gibson, and so did the judges at the Miss Venezuela Pageant. Now she will represent her country at the 2010 Miss Universe Pageant. And the world will watch to see if she wins, giving Venezuela a triple crown and reinforcing the claim that this little country has created the most beautiful women in the world.

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