CHINA Pageant showcases the beauty in surgery



More than 30 contestants have entered the pageant.
LOS ANGELES TIMES
BEIJING -- Love your liposuction. Tout that tummy tuck. Flout the fake nose.
Organizers of a new beauty pageant here believe artificial breasts and medically sculpted butts not only shouldn't be hidden away, they're something to brag about. Welcome to the brave new China, which is making history with what it claims is the world's first Miss Plastic Surgery contest.
"Naturals," with their God-given, pain-free looks, have no place here. This stage belongs to people who have suffered for their beauty and now live beyond the cutting edge. All nationalities are welcome, but contestants must show a doctor's certificate at the door.
At a news conference this month announcing the contest, to be held in early November, a host of beauty and cosmetic industry luminaries were trotted out, in a nation where plastic surgery is a runaway hit.
"To us doctors, altering beauty is a very natural thing," Zhao Xiaozhong, a medical professor and industry expert, told journalists. "When you do sports, you alter your muscles. We do the same thing through surgery."
First peek
Then came the moment everyone was waiting for: a peek at a genuine artificial beauty. "Down in front!" yelled one cameraman as the lithe Lu Xiaoyu, 23, took the stage to the oohs and ahhs, applause and neck-craning of several dozen reporters.
"I hope this contest helps people learn about plastic surgery," the former farm girl from Hebei province said. "I hope to see a day when it's so commonly done we'll no longer use the term 'artificial beauty.'"
"Do you have scars, and will you show them at the pageant?" one inquiring mind wanted to know.
"I'd be willing to," Lu responded as several cameras flashed.
Since the contest was announced, Lu has been joined by more than 30 Miss Plastic Surgery hopefuls from as far away as New York, Malaysia, South Korea and the vast reaches of China, all keen to nab the title and the $1,200 prize money.
Another prize
Although that's hardly enough for a tummy tuck, the real lure is publicity -- the pageant will be televised and the winner is promised a role in a planned Chinese TV drama in which every actor or actress boasts man-made charms.
"We'll draw a line, though," said Zhao Chaofeng, a planner with Beijing Culture & amp; Media, a pageant and beauty products company that is sponsoring the contest. "The director won't need cosmetic surgery."
The November pageant will judge contestants in several categories, including swimsuit and evening gown, talent and personality. Entrants must show a certificate from a recognized plastic surgery hospital to enter, but promoters say no job is too small as long as you're even a little bit artificial.
Organizers also plan a seminar on the problem of unlicensed, unauthorized and fake plastic surgeries, as well as a debate between natural and artificial beauties on which is better.

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