Beauty Kings

Inside the blood, sweat and tears of the male beauty pageant industry

Beauty Kings International beauty pageants are well-known for bringing together women from across the world to judge them on their appearance, intelligence, talents and composure. But now, 'Beauty King' competitions are increasing in popularity, extending the same level of scrutiny and spectacle to men. However, like in women's pageants, corruption and abuse persist.
James, from the Phillippines, competes in beauty pageants for the chance to win thousands of dollars in prize money, plus sponsorship and modelling work. But it comes at a cost, and he comes under intense pressure to maintain his body image: "the diet kills me so much, so badly, that I starve myself." Some men go to extremes to change their looks for the contest. One man, Paul, had botched surgery to get a more Western nose because "having a well-defined, straight nose is often considered an advantage in beauty pageants." He claims the doctor took advantage of him – a common problem in the industry. According to Paul, some judges will choose a candidate and "entice them to make them the winner or will find a spot for them so long as they agree with sexual favours." Supporters of the competition hope that with more international recognition of the male pageant industry, more regulation will follow.

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