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Venezuela's Beauty Factory
Caracas, Venezuela
By Patrick
08 Jan 2015

There is a saying among Venezuelans: “Venezuela’s main exports are petrol and beautiful women.” Known primarily for its natural wonders, its ex-president Hugo Chavez and its crime rates, Venezuela is a country where beauty is taken to the next level. Miss Venezuela transcends any other national beauty contest and over the decades it has become a trademark for the country, transforming a TV show into a national pride seen by millions of people.

Families around the country gather in front of the screen to watch the show. In a place where people have found in satellite TV a way to avoid state-controlled media, this beauty pageants is the most seen show of the year with an audience’s share never below 60%. The day after the pageant, the new ‘queen’ is all over the newspapers, and the results creates a debate worthy of a presidential campaign. Venezuelans elect their queen, which symbolizes more than a woman. She becomes an icon, a symbol of beauty and nationhood.

For many women, modeling offers a chance to leave one of most dangerous countries in the world - where unemployment and a strict currency control make it difficult to look for opportunities abroad. According to the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence, 24.980 people were killed in 2014 – ex-Miss Venezuela Monica Spear was among those victims. With constant class tension and when and bloody confrontation is part of daily life, the election of a Venezuelan “goddess” is a rare source of common ground in the society.

"I've been modeling since I was 5," said Josbey Arcia. "I believe this industry pushes you to your limits. You need to have personality. Being a model is fantastic, being on a catwalk while people look at you, knowing that some girls hope to be you some day. It's incredible."

Venezuela holds the record for the most “Miss Universe” titles in the world (7) and is Guinness World Record holder for winning two years in a row (2008, 2009). Gabriela Isler, Miss Venezuela 2013 and current Miss Universe, will pass the crown next January 25th in Miami.

Migbelis Lynette, a 19-year-old from Cabimas will represent Venezuela in the most important beauty pageant of the year. However, Venezuelans do not choose the most natural girl. The country is a paradise for plastic surgery in terms of price and quality. 35,000 to 40,000 breast enlargements take place every year, and Miss Venezuela contestants are no exception.

Advertisements can be found everywhere, acting as a reminder that you can always look better. Women are aware of the influence of commercial media, but that does not diminish a perpetual competition of the prettiest. The definition of beauty gets lost between scalpel and silicone, and perfection is the ultimate goal.

These beauty queens have set a standard that many young girls hope to achieve one day. Modeling school becomes another extracurricular activity, just like ballet or theatre, making experience crucial to success in the business.

Five-year-old girls learn how to walk with heeled shoes and learn basic modeling movements and photo-shoot skills, so that when they reach fifteen they are ready for the big catwalks.

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Manipulating Faces
Tehran
By Azad Amin
11 Jul 2014

Iran is the world’s leading nation in the number of nose plastic surgeries. Since Iran’s revolution in 1979 and formation of an Islamic government, the youth have had the most difficulty in dealing with and accepting the restrictions placed on them. The laws were especially restrictive on the female population who were required to wear a mandatory hijab and dress traditionally when in public. Ironically these restrictions on appearance have made good looks and physical appearance very important for Iran’s youth and a huge number of them are opting to undergo corrective surgery to “improve” their features. Nose surgery is the most popular despite it costing $5,000. The procedure is painful and can take up to two hours but this has not affected the number of young people who want it. Another factor is that many of the ‘surgeons’ are not medically trained but are jumping on the opportunity to make a great deal of money from this craze of vanity. This story focuses on a few young people before and after their operations.

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Ar beirut plastic surgery 011
Beirut
By alessandro_rota
05 Jun 2014

04.06.2014 - Beirut, Lebanon. A girl texts during a roof-top party. The night-life scene in Beirut is one of the most important in the world, with record-breaking sound systems and growing interests for clubbing among youngsters

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LA Doctors Transforming Children's Li...
Amman, Jordan
By Amy Hybels
04 Jun 2013

A team of surgeons from Los Angeles, California flew to Jordan to perform 45 surgeries in just five days on children and young adults living with physical deformities. The trip was organized by the Children of War Foundation, a non-profit which provides access to donated surgical care to children living with physical deformities or injuries. Board member and celebrity doctor Andrew Ordon, a host of "The Doctors", joined the team which included highly specialized surgeons from Children's Hospital Los Angeles. As Amy Hybels reports, the team wasted no time consulting and operating with the doctors at the King Hussein Medical Center on some of their most difficult cases, transforming lives one operation at a time.

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Manipulating Faces
By Azad Amin
26 May 2013

May, 2013
Tehran, Iran

24 year old Sheyda Oskui, an Iranian girl who had a nose job in Tehran. The picture shows her face before the surgery.

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Manipulating Faces
By Azad Amin
23 May 2013

May, 2013
Tehran, Iran

Sharmin Davoodian and Reza Ghasemi sit in their house and eat ice-cream while Reza talks about his nose surgery experience.

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Manipulating Faces
By Azad Amin
23 May 2013

May, 2013
Tehran

Iran Sharmin Davoodian and Reza Ghasemi sit in their house and eat ice-cream

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Manipulating Faces
By Azad Amin
23 May 2013

May, 2013
Tehran, Iran

Sharmin stares at her nose and face in the mirror for the first time after the surgery, as her parents speak to Dr. Kiarash and complement his work.

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Manipulating Faces
By Azad Amin
21 May 2013

May, 2013 Tehran, Iran Sharmin Davoodian at her house after surgery

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Manipulating Faces
By Azad Amin
21 May 2013

May, 2013
Tehran, Iran

Dr. Kiarash takes the bandages off Sharmin's face to check on her nose after the surgery.

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Manipulating Faces
By Azad Amin
19 May 2013

May, 2013 Tehran, Iran Sharmin Davoodian in a private party shortly after her nose plastic surgery.

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Manipulating Faces
By Azad Amin
18 May 2013

May, 2013
Tehran, Iran

Sharmin Davoodian rests after her surgery, as her mother stands over her.

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Manipulating Faces
By Azad Amin
18 May 2013

May, 2013
Tehran, Iran

X-Rays of Sharmin's face at a hospital in Tehran's.

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Manipulating Faces
By Azad Amin
18 May 2013

May, 2013
Tehran, Iran

Dr. Kiarash stitches Sharmin's nose in the operating-room in a hospital in Tehran.

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Manipulating Faces
By Azad Amin
18 May 2013

May, 2013
Tehran, Iran

Photos from different angles of Sarmin's face before her surgery, in the operating-room.

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Manipulating Faces
By Azad Amin
18 May 2013

May, 2013
Tehran, Iran

26 year old Sharmin Davoodian, during her nose surgery in the operating-room.

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Manipulating Faces
By Azad Amin
16 May 2013

May, 2013
Tehran, Iran

Sharmin Davoodian, 26, sits in her house with her friend and asks for her opinion about the surgery she is about to undergo.

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Manipulating Faces
By Azad Amin
16 May 2013

May, 2013
Tehran, Iran

Pictures of Dr. Kiarash's patients on the wall of his clinic.

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Manipulating Faces
By Azad Amin
10 May 2013

May, 2013
Tehran, Iran

35 year old Reza Beigi plays PlayStation with his friend, in his house, two days after his surgery .

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Manipulating Faces
By Azad Amin
10 May 2013

May, 2013
Tehran, Iran

35 year old Iranian Reza Beigi, in his house after his recent surgery.

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Manipulating Faces
By Azad Amin
08 May 2013

May, 2013
Tehran, Iran

24 year old Iranian Sheyda Oskui recently had nose surgery. She has to wear a bandage over her nose for the duration of the recovery player.

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Manipulating Faces
By Azad Amin
04 May 2013

May, 2013 Tehran, Iran Sharmin Davoodian in a private party shortly after her nose plastic surgery

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Beauty factory002
Caracas, Venezuela
By Patrick
04 Sep 2012

According to the Venezuelan Observatory of Violence, 24.980 people were killed in 2014 in Venezuela. Ex Miss Venezuela Monica Spear was among those victims. Modeling offers an chance to leave one of most dangerous countries in the world where unemployment and a strict currency control make it difficult to look for opportunities abroad.

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Beauty factory020
Caracas, Venezuela
By Patrick
28 Aug 2012

Modeling events are a key element in the preparation of these young girls. The empowerment of Miss Venezuela and the success that comes with it make girls pursue their dreams at an early age.

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Caracas, Venezuela
By Patrick
26 Aug 2012

Girls practice for the "Miss Girl Venezuela" contest. Venezuela has hundreds of beauty contest that can take place anywhere: neighborhoods; schools; malls and even prisons.

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Caracas, Distrito Capital
By Patrick
25 Aug 2012

Plastic surgery ads are part of Caracas's urban landscape.

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Caracas, Venezuela
By Patrick
25 Aug 2012

A girl practices for the "Miss Girl Venezuela" contest while her teacher supervises her in the back.

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Caracas, Venezuela
By Patrick
25 Aug 2012

Women suffer severe pain in the injected area, reaching a point where they can't sit for more than 30 minutes.

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Caracas, Venezuela
By Patrick
24 Aug 2012

Besides catwalk and photo shoot lessons, students have to learn other skills such as make up, diction, oratory or protocol.

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Beauty factory017
Caracas, Venezuela
By Patrick
24 Aug 2012

Make up class underway for aspiring beauty queens.

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Beauty factory018
Caracas, Venezuela
By Patrick
24 Aug 2012

Venezuelan women are very sophisticated consumers of cosmetics and fashion, spending more on cosmetics that any other Latin American country.

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Caracas, Venezuela
By Patrick
23 Aug 2012

Venezuela's endless pursuit of perfection has brought severe health issues such has side effects of biopolymers, a very popular injected substance aimed at increasing the volume of the gluteus that turned out to cause necrosis among other symptoms.

Beauty factory027
Caracas, Venezuela
By Patrick
20 Aug 2012

A runway show is about to begin in Caracas. For many women, modeling also offers a chance to leave one of most dangerous countries in the world - where unemployment and a strict currency control make it difficult to look for opportunities abroad.

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Caracas, Venezuela
By Patrick
19 Aug 2012

Backstage during a modeling event in Caracas.

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Caracas, Venezuela
By Patrick
19 Aug 2012

These events give an opportunity for the girls to apply what they have learned and to feel what is like to be on a catwalk.

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Caracas, Venezuela
By Patrick
19 Aug 2012

Backstage during a modeling event in Caracas. Modeling school becomes another extracurricular activity, just like ballet or theatre, making experience crucial to success in the business.

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Caracas, Venezuela
By Patrick
19 Aug 2012

A modeling event is underway in Caracas.

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Caracas, Venezuela
By Patrick
18 Aug 2012

Backstage during a modeling event in Caracas.

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Beauty factory023
Caracas, Venezuela
By Patrick
18 Aug 2012

Backstage during a modeling event in Caracas. Modeling school becomes another extracurricular activity, just like ballet or theatre, making experience crucial to success in the business.

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Beauty factory024
Caracas, Venezuela
By Patrick
18 Aug 2012

These events attract not only family and friends but also talent scouts and promoters.