Thursday, September 16, 2010

Measuring Up

Everyone keeps making Drop Dead Gorgeous references. But really, I think my life right now is more akin to Best in Show.

Apart from appealing to my ironic sense of humour, the whole point of applying to Miss Universe was to defy the system. I'm not, by any means, a beauty queen. I am the former co-Editor-in-Chief of a campus feminist magazine and have spent the last two years working for a charity that, among other programs, implements gender equity programming in developing countries. As I filled out my paper application, complete with some fictitious measurements, I visualized going through the process and breaking down traditional beauty standards with my flab, my sometimes hairy legs and my tattoos. I would actively embrace my "real woman-ness" until I eventually got disqualified.

But the feminist in me is having her hair pulled by the competitor in me. I've never excelled at sports, or mathematics, or even eating competitions (although I am unusually good at hula-hooping). This seems to be my one true opportunity to compete. So instead of defying the system, I'm playing neatly into its requirements--or in this case, its measurements.

I only have three weeks to become the measurements I claimed I was on my application. (None of which are unrealistic. I'm even sure that with the help of a Bumpit, my height could probably be recorded as 5'6".) Although I've never gone on a diet, over the last three years I have spent multiple six-week periods preparing for all-inclusive tropical beach vacations. The only difference is that when you go on vacation, you can rest assured in the knowledge that no one is judging you--there will always be someone else on the beach who has more stretch marks than you do. But in this case, the sole purpose is to be judged, without the added benefits of a tan and oceanside mojitos.

And then, there's the tattoos. (Sadly, this is not Miss Tattoo. And if it was, I'd just be trying to fit myself neatly into a different set of beauty standards.) I can easily hide my stretched earlobes, but I have a sizeable tattoo on my lower back. As far as I can discern, I don't think tattoos are against the rules, but much like cellulite, they won't win me any points.

I have three weeks to try to figure out how to cover up my tattoo. And I have three weeks to develop washboard abs. It should be a piece of cake--except without the cake.


  1. Michelle Hardy12:29 PM

    Good luck, Jess!! :)

  2. I think you're in for a tough fight, but I think you've got a good shot. And don't cover up the tattoo, its solid. Be you and kick ass.