Miss Earth hits the catwalk with a beauty contest from a different planet
'Passionate eco-warring young women' are being invited to compete in Miss Earth Girls 2010
Miss Earth 2009 contestants in Manila. Photograph: Reuters
This is wrong on so many levels it's really hard to know where to start. News has reached us that the UK regional heats are now open for theMiss Earth Girls 2010 beauty pageant. I kid you not. Try not to retch as you read through this press release :
Applications are now invited from beautiful, passionate eco-warring young women across the UK to enter the 2010 Miss Earth Girls contest. Between January and April as many girls aged between 18-26 who combine a love for the planet withbeauty, poise and grace, are encouraged to enter their regional heats online... Modernising the traditional focus of the "beauty pageant" and bringing beauty contests firmly into the 21st century, the main focus of the event is to empower the entrants to focus on and promote environmental awareness. During their participation, the girls plant trees, raise funds for their own chosen charities, attend environmental activities, act as spokeswomen for environmental thoughts and educate people on green issues, in particular the three Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle).
There's more to this, but I'm thinking of your health. The regional grand finalists – who will be "intelligent, forward-thinking women proud to 'Be The Change' Gandhi spoke about" - will be announced on June 5, World Environment Day, and four Miss Earth winners representing England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be revealed in August. All four will then go on to compete in the international final in the Philippines at an "ecovillage beach resort" in November to have the chance to be crowned the "ultimate Miss Earth 2010".
If you have taken leave of your senses and are, in fact, tempted to apply, then you must first consider the rather demanding "eligibility requirements".
First, you must have "NEVER BEEN MARRIED". (The organiser Carousel Productions's block capitals, not mine.) You must also be single, have been "born female" and must have "NEVER" given birth before.
But wait, that's not all. You must also be "between the ages of 18 and 26" - although there is a separate "teen contest" for 13-17 year olds. There is a minimum height of 5 feet 5 inches. Finally, you must possess a "good character". Congratulations, if you tick all those boxes. But please do be aware of the stiff competition. Last year, Kayleigh O'Reilly, our representative from Northern Ireland, made it to the final 16, but the ultimate crown went to Larissa Ramos, 20-year-old biology student from Brazil.
There are some special prizes, though, for those that don't manage to win the title. Here's a short selection: Best in National Costume, Best in Swimsuit, Best in Long Gown, Best in Eco-Bag Design Wear, and Best in Use of Indigenous Products Wear. There's also the rather mysterious "Placenta Award", but it's probably best if we leave it at that.
So, how exactly does a beauty pageant help to protect the environment? The organisers say that by "setting a legacy of beauty and responsibility, the candidates and the reigning beauty queen of Miss Earth uphold the preservation of our environment and continue to campaign for the protection of Mother Earth". Hmmmm.
I'm not aware of a rival Mr Earth contest, but doubt I would be eligible anyway given the exacting criteria demanded of the "girls". For a start, I have always found it a challenge "combining a love for the planet with beauty, poise and grace". Alas, that probably rules me out straight away.
Seriously, though, they may well be staging Miss Earth, but are the organisers of this "eco beauty pageant" really of this planet?