It’s more than just getting dolled up! Get all the facts about beauty pageants here.

“If you're comfortable with yourself, then you'll look beautiful. If you're not feeling comfortable with yourself, then that kind of shows. I think that as cheesy as the pageant industry can be seen at times, it actually does help women — boosting their confidence and growing into their own. I have to give it credit for that.” – Olivia Culpo. Sometimes the beauty pageant world can get a bad rep for themselves. From crazy hit shows to women giving up their crowns, there’s even more to the industry than meets the eye. To give you a taste of the pageant world, check out these 8 little-known facts about beauty pageants.

Get all your pageant facts below!

The beginning of beauty pageants

The greatest showman, P.T. Barnum, launched the first official beauty pageant in 1854. Interestingly enough, it was deemed too risqué. Therefore, instead of having a live show, all contestants sent in photographs for judging.

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The number of females who participate in America per year

2.5 million American women compete in beauty pageants per year. From young girl competitions to Miss America, women of all ages and colors compete to win the crown.

The United States has the most Miss Universe titles

Olivia Culpo of Rhode Island became the 8th American winner of Miss Universe in 2012, making the U.S. the country with the most wins! Venezuela is in a close second with seven wins.

The tradition of tourism started with Miss America

Did you know Miss America began as a ploy to keep tourists in Atlantic City? In 1920, after Labor Day, the city held a parade of beautiful women in hopes to keep tourists intrigued and extend their visits. After its first year, they renamed the parade to Miss America and crowned a 16-year-old as the first winner.

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Backstage is not all it’s cracked up to be

While you may believe that the backstage of a pageant is chalked full of beautiful women and crew quietly waiting for their cue, you would be surprisingly mistaken. Instead, many past contestants and crew members describe backstage as being chaotic and full of bad odors.

Bikinis banned, mandatory, and optional

One of the most controversial sections of a beauty pageant is the swimsuit portion. In 1947, contestants were required to wear a bikini, but by the next year, they were banned. In 1997, two pieces were brought back. Throughout the years, they’ve been banned, mandatory, and optional. But in 2018, Miss America ditched the swimsuit portion altogether.

Marriage and children are forbidden

If you want to compete in Miss America, you cannot be married, divorced, engaged, or have children. As of 2000, all contestants must take an oath stating, "I am unmarried," and "I am not pregnant, and I am not the natural or adoptive parent of any child."

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Young age cosmetic surgery

While you may have seen spray tans and tooth flippers from hit shows like Toddlers and Tiaras, improving a child’s looks for pageants goes even farther. In many countries, like Venezuela, young girls are taught how to compete from the moment they start walking. Many finishing schools where young girls learn how to walk, talk, and present themselves for the crown, are surrounded by cosmetic surgeries encouraging body enhancements to girls as young as 12 years old.

After reading these facts about beauty pageants, we hope you gained a new perspective on the industry. If you’re in the pageant world and you need help with your hair and makeup, look no further than one of our PRO cosmetologists in your area. Download the MOBILESTYLES App today to find the perfect stylist.