Thumb sm
Miss Mama Kilo 2015 16
Brazzaville
By Patrick
04 Apr 2015

DRC contestants Soudi Fatou (left) and Thethe Ntumba talk backstage between acts.

Thumb sm
Miss Mama Kilo 2015 17
Brazzaville
By Patrick
04 Apr 2015

Stella gets her make up done for the “native” part of the event, where music from all 5 countries is played.

Thumb sm
Miss Mama Kilo 2015 18
Brazzaville
By Patrick
04 Apr 2015

One of the many wardrobe changes that take place during the event.

Thumb sm
Miss Mama Kilo 2015 19
Brazzaville
By Patrick
04 Apr 2015

The view from backstage as participants in Miss Mama Kilo 2015 enter the stage.

Thumb sm
Miss Mama Kilo 2015 20
Brazzaville
By Patrick
04 Apr 2015

The "native" performance is the last act contestants have to perform alone in front judges and a packed crowd.

Thumb sm
Miss Mama Kilo 2015 21
Brazzaville
By Patrick
04 Apr 2015

Soudi Fatou dances during the native performance. This year's jury came from Mali, Ivory Coast and Benin.

Thumb sm
Miss Mama Kilo 2015 22
Brazzaville
By Patrick
04 Apr 2015

Nelly Okombi, from Republic of Congo, won the 7th edition of Miss Mama Kilo. As the new Miss Mama Kilo, she gets a weekend trip to Paris offered by one of the sponsors. This is Congo's third crown in seven years, but all of the contestants received cash prizes regardless of the their result.

Thumb sm
Miss Mama Kilo 2015 10
Brazzaville
By Patrick
03 Apr 2015

Preparations continue until the day of the event at the Olympic Palace Hotel.

Thumb sm
Miss Mama Kilo 2015 11
Brazzaville
By Patrick
03 Apr 2015

The event starts at 19H00, however contestants arrive early in the morning to get their hair and make up done.

Thumb sm
Miss Mama Kilo 2015 12
Brazzaville
By Patrick
03 Apr 2015

Two contestants help each other prepare their hair in the backstage area of Miss Mama Kilo 2015.

Thumb sm
Miss Mama Kilo 2015 13
Brazzaville
By Patrick
03 Apr 2015

Make up artists work all night on the day of Miss Mama Kilo. The event has 6 wardrobe changes, and contestants' makeup has to match each style.

Thumb sm
Miss Mama Kilo 2015 14
Brazzaville
By Patrick
03 Apr 2015

Stella waits with the other contestants in anticipation, just moments before going on stage.

Thumb sm
Miss Mama Kilo 2015 15
Brazzaville
By Patrick
03 Apr 2015

All 18 contestants carry their countries' flags. Republic of Congo was the most represented with five contestants.

Thumb sm
Miss Mama Kilo 2015 23
Brazzaville
By Patrick
03 Apr 2015

Nelly Okombi from Congo took home the title of Miss Mama Kilo 2015.

Thumb sm
Miss Mama Kilo 2015 07
Brazzaville
By Patrick
02 Apr 2015

The last rehearsal takes place at the Olympic Palace Hotel the day before the ceremony.

Thumb sm
Miss Mama Kilo 2015 08
Brazzaville
By Patrick
02 Apr 2015

Magalie Opangot from Republic of Congo (left) and Jenny Elongo from Central African Republic share a moment together during rehearsal. It´s the third time they participate side by side in Miss Mama Kilo.

Thumb sm
Miss Mama Kilo 2015 09
Brazzaville
By Patrick
02 Apr 2015

Rosine surveys the runway during the last rehearsal at the Continental Palace Hotel. She directs contestants with a firm hand at all times.

Thumb sm
Miss Mama Kilo 2015 05
Brazzaville
By Patrick
01 Apr 2015

Stella Amoussou, from Porto Novo, Benin, runs a little cosmetic shop in Brazzaville with her family.

Thumb sm
Miss Mama Kilo 2015 06
Brazzaville
By Patrick
01 Apr 2015

Julie Mangono, a comedian from Kinshasa, and Stella are close. Miss Mama Kilo has a friendly atmosphere where contestants always help each other out.

Thumb sm
Miss Mama Kilo 2015 01
Brazzaville
By Patrick
26 Mar 2015

This year´s edition drew contestants from five countries: Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Benin and the Central African Republic.

Thumb sm
Miss Mama Kilo 2015 04
Brazzaville
By Patrick
26 Mar 2015

Stella Amoussou is from Porto Novo, Benin. She moved to Brazzaville 15 years ago. Rosine approached her in the street and asked her to be part of this year´s Miss Mama Kilo.

Thumb sm
Miss Mama Kilo 2015 02
Brazzaville
By Patrick
25 Mar 2015

Contestants rehearse twice a week at Rosine´s restaurant in Brazzaville.

Thumb sm
Miss Mama Kilo 2015 03
Brazzaville
By Patrick
25 Mar 2015

Rehearsals become an attraction in the neighbourhood.

Thumb sm
Turkey's Camel Wrestling Championship
Selcuk
By Michael Biach
17 Jan 2015

January 16-18, 2015

Selcuk, Turkey

In January each year there is the annual Camel Wrestling Championship held in Selcuk in Turkey. The event puts together two bull (male) camels with a female camel on heat nearby. The camels fight it out for the female, leaning on each other to push the other one down. It is most common in the Aegean region of Turkey, but is also found in the Marmara and Mediterranean regions of that country. There are an estimated 1200 camel wrestlers (or Tulu) in Turkey, bred specially for the competitions.

A camel can win a wrestling match in three ways: By making the other camel retreat, scream, or fall. The owner of a camel may also throw a rope into the field to declare a forfeit if he is concerned for the safety of his animal.

Camels wrestle with others in their same weight class. Camels have different tricks, and contest organizers match camels with different skills. Some camels wrestle from the right and some from the left; some trip the other with foot tricks ("çengelci"), and some trap their opponent's head under their chest and then try to sit ("bağcı"); some push their rivals to make them retreat ("tekçi").

A camel wrestling event involves considerable pomp and ceremony. The camels are decorated, and participate in a march through town followed by musicians on the day before the event. The actual wrestling can be somewhat underwhelming to someone not familiar with the intricacies, although onlookers must often flee from an oncoming camel that is retreating in defeat from his opponent.

In the heat of the tournament, camels spew foamy saliva in their excitement. Additionally, camels are retromingent animals, and so spectators would be advised to beware not only of flying saliva but of flying urine as well.

Popularity of the sport is declining, as the relative costs of caring for such an animal rises, as well as concern for the animals' welfare.

Thumb sm
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.

Thumb sm
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.

Thumb sm
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.

Thumb sm
Beauty factory014
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.

Thumb sm
Beauty factory001
Caracas, Distrito Capital
By Patrick
25 Aug 2012

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

Thumb sm
Beauty factory015
Caracas, Venezuela
By Patrick
25 Aug 2012

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

Beauty factory034
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.

Thumb sm
Beauty factory016
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.

Thumb sm
Beauty factory017
Caracas, Venezuela
By Patrick
24 Aug 2012

Make up class underway for aspiring beauty queens.

Thumb sm
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.

Beauty factory033
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.

Thumb sm
Beauty factory025
Caracas, Venezuela
By Patrick
19 Aug 2012

Backstage during a modeling event in Caracas.

Beauty factory028
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.

Beauty factory029
Caracas, Venezuela
By Patrick
19 Aug 2012

A modeling event is underway in Caracas.

Beauty factory026
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.