The Queens of Tenerife

Fri, April 3rd, 2015 - By Andrea Montgomery

We often talk about how the Canary Islands feel as if they still belong to a different era, somewhere around the 1960s before the micro chip and social values revolutionised lifestyles in the UK. One example of what that retro lifestyle looks like is the emphasis the islands still place on old fashioned glamour. The Miss World competition may have fallen from grace in the UK in the 1970s and 1980s but that’s not the case in much of the rest of the world, and here in Tenerife, the beauty contest is alive and well.

 

Fiesta Queens, La Orotava

 

Like the rest of Spain, Tenerife and the Canary Islands participate in the Miss World and the Miss Universe pageants, and not without a good measure of success. Miss Tenerife 2007, Patricia Yurena Rodríguez from Granadilla, went on to win the title of Miss Spain in 2008 and finished in the top 15 in the Miss World 2008 competition. Patricia won Miss Spain again in 2013 and is the only candidate to have won the competition twice. That year she went on to win first runner up in the Miss Universe contest. Since its inauguration in 1929, Miss Tenerife has gone on to win the Miss Spain title seven times.

 

Former carnaval Queen, Santa Cruz

 

Apart from the fact that there are endless beauty contests in one form or another across the island which, to someone coming from the UK, feels like such a throwback, the style adopted by participants during a contest is also very old fashioned. There’s no attempt here to make two hours spent in front of a mirror look like you just stepped off the beach, hair is BIG and so lacquered that even a weather alert for high winds would struggle to move it; eye make up is the heavy side of the Amy Winehouse look; and dresses are over-the-top glamorous, evening gown affairs. It isn’t until the the crown has been won and official duties begin that you can see the natural beauty of contestants.

 

Carnaval Queen, Puerto de la Cruz

 

On the positive side, contestants come in all shapes and sizes instead of conforming to the fashion and beauty world’s blueprint for how women should aspire to look. There was once a near revolution when a famous choreographer was brought in from the Spanish mainland to organise the Miss Carnaval Gala Election in Santa Cruz and he tried to select only the tallest, slenderest and most attractive dancers for the chorus line. Beneath the weight of a barrage of complaints that he was stealing the competition from the people, he soon adjusted his strategy.

 

Carnaval Queen Election, Santa Cruz

 

Being chosen to appear in the Miss Carnaval election is a huge deal in the islands and every year hundreds of hopefuls apply to take part in the casting process where sponsors decide which girl is going to wear the amazing Carnaval Queen costumes their money funds. Once chosen, the girls have to go into weight training for six weeks before they can ‘wear’ the creations.

 

Gay Pride, Puerto de la Cruz

 

And it isn’t just the women on Tenerife who still value glamour and beauty, the Mr World competition is alive and well here too with men happy to pose in the skimpiest of swim wear. Best of all, blurring the lines between Miss and Mr beauty contests and his and hers fashion catwalks, Gay Pride adds a bucket load of razzle-dazzle to the proceedings and puts the seal on the all-inclusive nature of beauty in Tenerife.

Posted : Friday, April 3rd, 2015 at 10:29 am
Category : about tenerife
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