A Country Running Out of Make-Up
Venezuela’s famed models and aspiring beauty queens are struggling to doll themselves up as shortages turn eye shadow and breast implants into coveted luxuries.
In a country that glorifies voluptuous women and opulent beauty pageants, even basics like deodorant are now at times tricky to find as strict currency controls have led to a scarcity of dollars for imported goods.
Determined models and pageant competitors are doing their utmost to keep the show on the road.
“I exhaust myself visiting pharmacies, I look everywhere for makeup,” said Ileanne Davila, a 19 year-old civil engineering student and model.
“Once I couldn’t find red eye shadow… so I used lipstick,” she said as she took a break from a photo shoot. “I can’t find powder for my skin color. So sometimes I mix two hues.”
Her long dark hair straightened and her lips and eyes covered in black makeup for a rock n’ roll inspired shoot, Davila said she aspires to break into commercials or television because, she explained with a sigh, she’s not tall enough to compete in Miss Venezuela.
Davila is one of dozens of girls aged 3 and up who attend a modeling academy run by Gisselle Reyes, a former Miss Venezuela candidate who now prepares girls for the pageant, to learn how to strut down a runway and perfect pageant etiquette in the hopes of one day being crowned queen.