SANTIAGO DE CHILE – When the Miss Universe beauty contest will take place in a few weeks, Chile will represent a thin brunette woman with a demolition smile and a clear Venezuelan accent.
Andrea Diaz was born and raised in Valencia, Venezuela, where from the age of 12 she learned to move her hips and gracefully walk to the joy square at the local modeling academy. After 19 years she won her town baseball competition and became her ambassador of goodwill.
However, Diaz's career changed in his twenties when he first moved to Panama, and then to Mexico to work as a model, a kind of work that is now lacking in a crisis-led Venezuela. Three years ago he settled in Chile, where most of his family moved.
At age 26, Dias says he represents the "new Chile", an inclusive country where migrants are looking for new opportunities in preparation for the Santiago gym.
Thousands of people fleeing Venezuela every day, getting out of food shortages and inflation, which is expected to exceed one million percent, dozens of ambitious beauty queens go to work as models or in the media abroad.
Some even show off with their adoptive countries in international beauty contests.
Next month, Portugal will be represented at Mis World Competition in China by a former Miss Venezuela player. And in the recent Miss Tierra Philippines, two Venezuelans competed with Peru and Spanish bandits.
Jessica Russo, representing her motherland, Peru, came to her new country a year ago that her dream of becoming a queen of beauty is not over. He failed to qualify for the final, but said he was on the train for several races, where he hopes to win the crown.
Beauty contests in Venezuela are almost as great as the baseball prospect, which for years has been obsessed with glamor and good physical appearance. The nation has a leading role in international beauty contests: it won seven Mis Universe crowns and six Miss World titles.
While critics consider these misogynistic and outdated contests, many in Venezuela defend them, pointing out that they have helped hundreds of women from all walks of life start their careers as models, actresses and television or news program managers. An old Miss Venezuela became mayor of the Caracas area and, although unsuccessfully, introduced the Presidency.
But, as the Venezuelan economy lacks, many national competitions no longer offer a direct path to employment. Lifestyle fashion shows have stopped, television releases have slowed down, and companies like fashion brands are increasingly avoiding investing in ads.
Giselle Reyes runs four modeling schools for young people in the country, which she calls "beauty university." She estimates that about 70% of those who graduated from their centers have left the country over the last ten years to work as models of Mexico, Colombia or the United States, among other countries.
In his studio in Caracas, decorated with celebrity photos that won beauty contests, Reyes admits that now he has problems even finding instructors who leave the country as soon as they have the opportunity.
It seems that even the most competitive competition in Venezuela does not provide graduates with the work of the nation.
Each year, Miss Venezuela, broadcast on television throughout the country, employs 24 participants who spend six months in the demanding academy, which includes routine training, modeling classes and briefing conversations that sometimes limit their pupils' activities. cosmetic surgery.
But at least 17 of the 2015 edition members seem to work in Mexico, Colombia, Turkey, and even in India, according to their profiles on social networks. The data is similar between the participants in 2014.
Many of the queen of Venezuela's beauty who went abroad say their rigorous preparations in their country helped them succeed. But they also feel relieved that they are free from strict standards that are set by the organizers of the event.
Dias said that when she was living in Venezuela, her skin was cleansed, which was wrong, and left small scars and red spots on both cheeks. Venezuelan modeling agencies began to reject it.
In Chile, Diaz gained a Miss Band, despite points that are easily covered with a window dressing. He was able to compete because his father is a Chilean.
Now that she is preparing for the next Miss Universe contest in Thailand, the model hopes that the jury will not focus on her physical characteristics, but will see him as a cosmopolitan woman who has moved around the world to achieve her goal. . She says she dreams of becoming a motivating speaker and working with young people on self-esteem issues.