You know about the Miss America and Miss Universe beauty pageants. You are probably also aware of child beauty pageants, bodybuilding contests, transexual pageants, and pageants for married women. Then there are the odd beauty pageants. Last August, an Italian priest proposed an online beauty pageant for nuns. One day later, he rescinded the idea under pressure from local and religious authorities. But there are plenty of other beauty pageants that stray far from what you are used to.
Miss Klingon Empire
The Miss Klingon Empire beauty pageant has been held annually for ten years now at the Dragon*con event in Atlanta. This image of the 2006 winner is from Flickr user elemess. Also see a video report of the most recent pageant.
The Miss Hooker 2008 pageant was what you'd think -a beauty pageant for prostitutes, but there were no real prostitutes in the running, just actresses putting on a show, arraigned by artist Natalia Fabia. But what a show! The eventual winner went by the name Miss One Dolla No Holla. See more pictures here.
Miss Plastic Surgery
A Miss Plastic Surgery pageant was held in China in 2004. It was a one-time-only event, in which all contestants were required to have undergone some type of plastic surgery. The pageant was launched in reaction to an earlier scandal in which a contestant was disqualified from another beauty contest because she had used cosmetic surgery.
You don't have to let a little thing like pregnancy stop you from entering a beauty pageant. The Ms. Pregnant pageant celebrates beauty with a bump. And yes, they parade in bikinis!
A New York advertising agency held a pageant from 1941 to 1976 called Miss Subways. The winner was featured in ads on trains and stations. The tradition was revived in 2004, when Caroline Sanchez-Bernat was crowned Miss Subways.
A Zombie Beauty Contest is held annually at the Phoenix ComiCon. This year's pageant was just a couple of weeks ago. Heather, the winner, is pictured here. See pictures from last year's zombie pageant at Flickr.
Most Beautiful Bottom
The Most Beautiful Bottom in the World contest was launched in 2007 by the underwear manufacturer sloggi. It is open to both men and women, and the winner for each category gets a modeling contract. See a video of the 2008 competition in Paris. This photo is from the 2007 contest in Munich.
Miss Landmine is a beauty pageant for women disabled by landmines and other war-related injuries held in Angola. The pageant, created by Norwegian artist Morten Traavik, celebrates pride and empowerment over physical perfection.
In the Miss Spring beauty pageant held in a Siberian prison near Novosibirsk, participation can mean freedom, as the parole board takes community activity into account when deciding who to release. A 2006 film, Miss Gulag is a documentary about the Miss Spring pageant. Other prison beauty pageants include Miss Captivity, held in a Lithuanian prison, Miss Prisoner held in Bogota, Colombia, and Miss Prisoner in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (image credit: Fabio Cuttica)
Miss Jumbo Queen
Thailand hosts the Miss Jumbo Queen pageant for big beautiful women. The pageant grew out of an elephant conservation project.
The aim of the contest is to select the contestant who best exhibits the characteristics of an elephant, by virtue of her grace, elegance and size, to help promote elephant conservation causes in Thailand.
However, it appears that the last Jumbo Queen was crowned in 2005.
Harvest Festival Queens
Local harvest festivals have the funniest names for ordinary beauty pageants. Who could resist putting such gems as Miss Meat Pie, Miss Hell Hole Swamp, or Miss Worm Gruntin' Queen on their resume? Pictured is the Gilroy Garlic Festival queen.