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The Pandemic and Pageantry

This shutdown of the planet due to the pandemic is not without consequences for the world of pageantry. Indeed, it should not be forgotten that these beauty contests are organized by companies and associations, which need the holding of its activities, but also its finals to live. However, the vast majority cannot program anything taking into account strict sanitary conditions.

Although Miss Universe Organisation managed to plan Miss Teen USA and Miss USA brilliantly and in compliance with sanitary standards last week, most national authorities have decided to abandon precisely because of all its difficult guidelines to put in place. This decision leads to cascading consequences.

If a Board resolves not to organize its final, the work of a whole year, like Miss America, the structures at the lower level are impacted as well. In response to their choice, most of Miss America’s officials abandoned the local elections and brought the first dolphines to replace their laureate when necessary. However, this failure to hold events also leads to a sometimes colossal financial decline for national authorities with the non-collection of licences and television fees, but also for regional associations with the absence of ticketing, bar and merchandising. A dry loss of a few tens of thousands of dollars.

For those who decide to continue their activity, the implementation of health standards makes the bill more heavier. As Miss Universe Organisation has shown us, in Graceland, it is quite possible to organize a national competition with a few rules. At the international level, with the closure of borders, the holding of such an event is practically an impossible mission.

At Miss USA, the organization worked on the advice of Jeff Davidson, MD, a doctor from the Las Vegas emergency department who is also the chief medical officer of the UFC. He works with the local government in Shelby County, Tennessee, where Graceland is located. According to the doctor, safety protocols included pre-test, on-site testing and quarantine, daily health screening, social distancing and stable small groups, reduced hearing capacity, and the use of masks by everyone at all times.

Thus, all candidates were confined 7 days before arriving at the scene of the demonstration. They were subjected to various tests to ensure that they were free of viruses. With a negative test, they were given permission to come on the spot. Upon arrival, all young women, as well as all technicians and stakeholders, obtained a mask in the colors of the competition.

The different reports showed us that they lived permanently masked, even for the slightest repetition or activity. Bottles of hydroalcoholic gel remained available to all crews and each box of equipment was subjected to steam before entering the auditorium. Moreover, Paula Shugart had revealed to our colleagues in an interview that the new crown would be “handled by disinfected hands and gloves”. The young women did not wear masks during the parade in front of the judges, but were masked when they were gathered for parts of the shows that required the 51 competitors.

All this necessarily weighs up the bill of the event. According to our information, according to the organizations between 10% and 25% of the final amount of the festivities, which also causes cancellations of some who cannot honor such increases.
Not only do organizations lose their revenues — fees, ticketing, television fees — but some also see the departure of some of their sponsors, yet essential supports of most of its structures. For some companies, the crisis turned out to be so strong, sudden and brutal that the first thing they had to do to survive was to reduce their sponsorship budgets to naught.

Most organizations have already suffered enormous losses and some do not know if they will be able to continue their activities after the pandemic. Certainly, the shift towards digital technology has helped to limit the damage, but does not provide sufficient revenue to guarantee their continuity.

The pandemic also prevents the winners from having an effective reign, since they are hardly solicited with all the events cancelled. This leads to a financial loss, but also a loss of visibility for the causes they defend. They have to adapt, reinvent themselves on social networks in order to last.

We risk seeing some competitions disappear…

We will continue our investigations to write a more comprehensive report in the first issue of our magazine and we will keep you informed if some directors decide to throw the sponge permanently, like the different transformations of others to survive this pandemic.

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