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Does Tralee produce the Loveliest Girls?

Here’s a pick of alternative beauty contests to help you pick. Don’t they all have lovely bottoms?

London's Charmaine Kenny won the Rose of Tralee last year, in its 50th year.
Image: Julien Behal/PA Wire

THE ROSE OF TRALEE is a strange beast – not quite a beauty pageant, but not quite anything else either.

As a competition to judge who is most “lovely and fair” – just as the song goes – doesn’t include a swimsuit contest, the annual competition in Tralee is a strange one amongst its peers.

Indeed, it seems its most appropriate that the contest was lampooned by Father Ted as the Lovely Girls contest – as it appears the ideal Rose of Tralee is simply the loveliest girl taking part.

Here, though, is a pick of some of the other strange beauty pageants we found, that make our own Rose look a little more traditional.

Miss Jumbo Queen
A Thai contest for the more weighty woman. Enough said?


Miss Senior Sweetheart
A quite sweet competition really, the Miss Senior Sweetheart is open to women aged 59 and over, and ranks them based on… well, we’re not quite sure what. It’s probably not how good their cooking is, we can guess that much.

Miss Pregnant
It does exactly what it says on the tin. In this case, we imagine, you can probably only really enter once.

Miss Landmine
Now here’s a genuinely nice contest. This Angolan contest rewards those who have overcome the loss of a limb through landlines, and intends to challenge the traditional notion of beauty.

Taking some of the nice sheen off it, however, the winner gets a high-tech prosthetic limb – suggesting that the loss of a limb isn’t really something to be embraced.


Miss HIV Stigma Free
On a similar theme, this competition judges based on the dignity with which AIDS victims have coped with their conditions. This winner, Cynthia Leshomo, who won the contest in 2005, died three months after her victory.

Miss Tiffany
Finally, the contest of the Loveliest Girls who weren’t born girls at all. This Thai contest (what is it about Thailand?) rewards those who embody the more traditional values of a beauty contest – the obligatory talent show, the swimsuit rounds, etc etc.

The only thing is that all the contestants aren’t, in fact, Lovely Girls at all: they’re ladyboys.

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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