SANTIAGO DE CHILE – When Miss Universe beauty contest is held in a few weeks, Chile will represent a thin woman brunette with a rueful smile and an unmistakable Venezuelan accent.
Andrea Diaz was born and raised in Valencia, Venezuela, where she learned to shift her hips from 12 years and went elegantly to the catwalk at a local modeling academy. At age 19, she won the competition organized by the baseball team of her city and became her ambassador of goodwill.
But Dijas' career changed course in his twenties, when he first moved to Panama and then to Mexico to work as a model, a type of work that is now scarce in Venezuela with a crisis. Three years ago, he moved to Chile, where most families moved.
At the age of 26, Diaz says it represents "the new Chile", an inclusive country where migrants seek new opportunities while preparing for a gym event in Santiago.
As thousands of people flee daily from Venezuela, fleeing food shortages and inflation that is expected to exceed a million percent, dozens of ambitious beauty queens leave to work as models or in the media abroad.
Some even paraded with countries of adoption at international beauty competitions.
Next month, Portugal will be presented at the Miss World competition in China by the former Miss Venezuela. And in the recent Miss Tierra, celebrated in the Philippines, the two Venezuelans competed with the bands of Peru and Spain.
Jessica Russo, who represented Peru, her mother's relatives, said her dream of becoming a queen of beauty did not end when she arrived in her new country a year ago. He failed to qualify for the finals, but said he would be training for more competitions, where he hoped to win the crown.
The beauty contest is driven by almost as many expectations as the baseball in Venezuela, a nation that has been obsessed with glamuroses and a good physical appearance for years. The nation is a leader in international beauty competitions: it won seven Miss Universe crowns and six Miss World titles.
Although critics believe that these are more misogious and obsolete competitions, many in Venezuela have defended them by pointing out that they have helped hundreds of women from all walks of life to embark on a career as models, actors and conductors of television or news programs. Old Ms. Venezuela became the mayor of the district of Caracas and presented, although unsuccessful, to the country's presidency.
But as the Venezuelan economy attracts, many national competitions no longer provide a direct path to employment. Live fashion magazines are suspended, television productions have slowed down and companies like fashion brands are increasingly avoiding investing in advertising.
Giselle Reies has four models of a youth school in the country, which she calls "the University of Beauty". She estimates that about 70% of those who have completed their centers have left the country in the last few decades to work as models in Mexico, Colombia or the United States, among other countries.
In his studio in Caracas, decorated with photos of celebrities who have won beauty prizes, Reyes admits that he now has problems even finding instructors who leave the country as soon as they have the opportunity.
Even the most competitive competition in Venezuela does not guarantee its graduates a job in the country.
Each year, Miss Venezuela, broadcast on television across the country, selects 24 participants who spend six months at a demanding academy that includes daily training, modeling lessons and instructor talks that sometimes limit their students to operations. cosmetic surgery.
However, at least 17 participants in the 2015 edition seem to be working in Mexico, Colombia, Turkey, and even in India, according to their profiles on social networks. Data among participants in 2014 are similar.
Many Venetian beauty queens that went abroad say that their strict preparation in their country has helped them succeed. But they also feel free to be free from the strict standards imposed by event organizers.
Diaz said that when she lived in Venezuela, she was cleaning the skin that made her mistake and left small scars and reddish spots on both faces. Venezuelan modeling agencies have begun to reject it.
In Chile, Diaz won the band regardless of the points that are easily covered with makeup. He was able to participate in the competition as his father was Chilean.
Now, when preparing for the Miss Universe competition in Thailand next month, the model hopes that the jury will not focus on her physical qualities, but she will look like a cosmopolitan who moved around the world to achieve her goal. . She says she dreams of becoming a motivational speaker and working with young people on self-esteem.