When and where was the first beauty contest held?
The first BEAUTY CONTEST was the Concours de Beaute’ held at Spa in Belgium on 19 September 1888. The initial judging was done from photographs of the 350 contestants of whom 21 were chosen to appear at the finals. The contest was conducted with the utmost propriety and discretion. The finalists were not allowed to be seen by the people’, said a Scandinavian journal. ‘They lived in a separate wing and were driven in closed carriages to the hall, where their charms were judged’. First prize of 5,000 francs went to an 18-year-old Creole from Guadeloupe called Bertha Soucaret. “It is said”, the same paper continued, that “Miss Soucaret will now go on the stage; of course, beauty opens every door.”
The earliest recorded contest in Britain was a ‘Blonde and Brunette Beauty Show’, the final of which took place on the stage of the Olympia Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne, on Saturday, 23 December 1905. The competition was open to girls of 16 and over and at the end of the `Grand Finale’ the winner, whose name unfortunately is not recorded, was presented with a gold bangle and bracelet.