The word trans these days connote something that most ardent, traditional/conservative fans of beauty pageants scorn upon. And yes it is worth to mention that it refers to the transsexual Jenna Talackova making inroads to the world of pageantry originally conceived for natural-born women. For some, this is the death of Miss Universe as we know it.
The prefix trans is basically Latin in origin, meaning "across", "beyond" or "on the opposite side". And while we may be watching another trans in our diet as in trans fat or the next in series of the movie Transformers, many beauty watchers are watching another trans. Transformation.
Delegates prior competing to the four major international crowns undergo a series of trainings that include wardrobe shopping, makeup, hairdressing, posture, walking, posing etc. etc. and we the pageant fans are eagerly awaiting for what might be a new look - a whole new different woman after months and months of training. Some transformations had been so dramatic it is pretty obvious that plastic surgery and a whole range of scalpel-related activity was carried out.
Consider Miss Universe Korea 2007 Honey Lee a.k.a. Lee Ha-nui. When she was crowned as Miss Korea, she was considered as plain and typical Korean beauty but when she landed in the soils of Mexico for Miss Universe, she became a goddess - vibrant and Latinized. Some may owe it to make-ups and proper coaching but the transformation was too drastic some claim that breast augmentation, rhinoplasty and "eye slit" were involved. This year, another Miss Korea seems to be in the process of transformation. Lee Sung-hye seems to be groomed and stylized to become a candidate with a pizazz. That is why she is ranked so high with the latest Hot Picks.
When it comes to transformation however, nothing can compare to Venezuela. The spotlight was unjustly focused to Venezuela when it comes to nips and tucks largely because it is a very successful country when it comes to beauty pageants. Well in fact even its latest beauty queen, Ivian Sarcos, was transformed dramatically from a beauty with strong facial features into a much softer, Miss World-style beauty.
For pageant fans however, the most dramatic transformation for a Venezuelan was that of Honey Lee's batchmate Ly Jonaitis. Ly's beauty underwent an upgrade and her body was totally transformed from being ill-formed into a vavavoom type.
Beauty enhancements like plastic surgery, breast augmentation, rhinoplasty etc are still being scorned upon by the many. Miss Universe Brazil 2001 Juliana Borges suffered a public backlash for openly admitting that she underwent 19 surgeries! At one point during the Miss Universe 2011 contest, plastic surgery was the hot topic where Miss Argentina Natalia Rodriguez and Miss Venezuela Vanessa Goncalves both admitted that they underwent breast enhancement. Meanwhile Miss Australia Scherri Lee Biggs and Miss France Laury Thilleman said they are all 100% natural. Laury even said further that in Miss France, plastic surgeries and beauty enhancements are not allowed.
But with countries like Venezuela embracing scalpel-induced enhancements (and reaping generous results in the process), the word transformation seems to be without limits in the world of pageantry. And here lies the dilemma. If we accept these unnatural, scalpel-induced transformations no matter how drastic, what line of reasoning to we have against transsexuals like Jenna Talackova? After all, the transformation that Jenna underwent, to some extent, is no different from undergoing plastic surgery to make oneself beautiful, right? Perhaps the only difference is that Jenna's "scalpel-induced enhancements" are largely concentrated below the belt.