Venezuela Beauty Queens: Behind the Nose Jobs, Implants and Extreme Dieting

New BBC series follows hopeful contestants as they prep for a shot at the tiara - and a better life for their families

Working out with a trainer who puts you through a series of squats, ab moves and butt lifts? Sure. That sounds like something a beauty contestant would go through to earn that tiara and sash.

But allow a plastic patch to be sewn onto her tongue to keep her from eating solid foods? “Extreme” just reached a whole new level. In Extreme Beauty Queens: Secrets of South America, a new three part series premiering today on the BBC, a reporter follows contestants during a six-month boot camp for Miss Venezuela, meeting women like Meyer, the 18-year-old who had a mesh patch attached to her tongue, making it too painful to chew.

“It makes me lose weight quicker,” she tells the BBC in a clip. (The first episode will soon be available on the BBC iPlayer.) “You eat the same but liquefied.” Meyer also has had breast implants, teeth correction and a nose job to prep for the contest, hoping to find her way out of the slums.

Extreme plastic surgery is totally fine for this pageant, though. Miss Venezuela has nothing to do with natural good looks, the BBC discovers – in fact, during castings, women strut in front of male judges in tiny bikinis with nose job bandages on display, freely admitting to having their front teeth filed down.

Seriously, beauty, at times, may be pain, but does it have to be so blatantly brutal?

Lesley Kennedy writes for Follow ShopAtHome on Twitter @shopathome and Lesley on Google+.

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