Sixteen Cuban men and women, who are between 16 and 25, will attend the Belleza y Cubanía beauty pageant contest, to be held on December 28 and 29 at Havana’s America Theatre.
Belleza y Cubanía, a competition that understands beauty also as ¨manner exquisiteness¨, will take place for the first in Havana, with the support of the Cultural Houses Provincial Council, its organizers told OnCuba.
¨We are not interested in the measurements 90-60-90 in women; neither muscles of men. We are looking for well-prepared for life men and women¨, Jorge Landa, creator and director of the contest noted.
Landa, who lives both in Spain and Cuba, confessed having studied every beauty event in the world. ¨I wanted to make something taking the good things and avoiding the bad ones of those shows¨, he said.
To reach his objective, Landa assured he has worked for a year in training for the event the chosen boys and girls, who are mostly pre-university and university students and even self-employed.
The participants in this edition are from the provinces of Havana, Sancti Spíritus Ciego de Ávila and Camagüey.
Landa only advanced that while on the runway ¨they will introduce themselves with name and surname and will also give a brief story about the dress they will be wearing and the information they have collected for a year, which will last 45 seconds¨.
The allowed getups go from those used by Cuban original peoples, passing by Spanish colony era and limited by those used during the 70s of last century.
The main awards granted by the official jury are Miss and Mister Belleza, accompanied by 2 ladies and first and second gentlemen, respectively.
In addition, a jury formed by the event sponsors such as Red Bull, Bucanero, Adidas and private restaurants, collaterally will reward sympathy, elegance, smile, naturalness, photogene and integral image, among others aspects.
Belleza y Cubanía was first held in 2012 almost by stealth, in the Havana’s Riviera Hotel Copa Rum hall.
“I knew about it by some friends when going to buy bread,” the young Raúl Pérez, 2012 Mr. Sympathy award winner and also a competitor in this edition, said.
From there to here, its organizers have had to overcome “many disadvantages”, Landa added.
“We had support from José Martí Cultural Society, but they walked away after Miami television showed images of last year’s Gala, “he stated.
On the background of the contest, Lanza commented that “Cuban people always liked that. I remember the excitement when choosing the Carnival Queen. It was banned because it was said that it made use of women as objects. “
“But beauty is there in nature. You can not deny it. We tell young people not to get obsessed with the brand; Armani and Dolce & Gabana are just the same. You must get obsessed with your personal brand; you must build yourself as a person, as a current young Cuban with many values , “he said.
In this regard, Perez said that the project could help Cuban youth to have “another point of view.” He added that “something like this was needed because we have lost civility, education, that of thinking first in yourself, only to then be better with the community.”
At 24, the young Cuban ice cream vendor in Alamar, on the outskirts of Havana, confessed that he learned to “dress and behave me” and “to speak correctly.”
“Now I even read books, which I did not like before,” he proudly noted.
For Perez , it is important to “win this year and take the title of Mr. Sympathy.” But he admitted that “I would never want to lose my friends, whom I prefer over the awards.”
Despite the popularity of events such as the election of the Carnival Queen, which began with the twentieth century, those competitions were banned in the mid 70’s for violating the image of Cuban women, according to scholars.
However, the historiographical study of journalist Antonio de la Maza indicates that many of the winners, selected by juries composed of figures like painter René Portocarrero, sculptor Rita Longa and photographer Alberto Díaz (Korda), had successful careers later in professions linked to Cuban revolutionary art and culture.
De la Maza quotes the late television presenter Dinorah del Real, Queen of Havana Carnival in 1955 , actress Ana Viñas, Lady of Carnival in 1958, actress Daysi Granados, lady in a beauty contest in 1961, and the actress and theater director Flora Lauten.
Lauten was “the last Miss Cuba who competed in Miami Beach contest in 1960, where she was attacked by Cuban exiles, who in an attitude exempt of courtesy and chivalry, wanted to snatch her the national flag that she defended with courage and civility” , Maza added.
Even with the prohibitions, during the 90’s, beauty contests conducted in Vladimir Ilich Lenin Exact Science Vocational Pre-University Institute gained popularity, a place where the alleged scientific vanguard of the Cuban capital and its surroundings studied.
And, since 2005, Miss Cuba in Europe awards the beauty of Cuban women residents in the European Continent, on the initiative of Italian businessman Vincenzo Tocccaceli and his Cuban partner Dafne González.