Brazil is known for producing beautiful women. The buxom beauties are one of the major draws of Brazil’s Carnival festivities, held every year. Earlier this month, the nation held its “Miss BumBum” for the Brazilian woman with the finest posterior. When Michelle Neri Rangel, 27, was locked up at Talavera Bruce penitentiary in Rio De Janeiro for prostitution and a string of stick ups, she probably didn’t feel as though she would be ranked among the gorgeous women of her motherland. However, Rangel was given a reason to smile and feel beautiful when she won “Miss Talavera Bruce,” an annual beauty competition held at the maximum security prison. “(This competition) is a question of honor. I’m feeling like a woman, I’ve learned how to feel like a woman in prison,” said the winner.
The beauty pageant is put on by community and church groups looking to boost the self-esteem of the women locked away in Brazil’s toughest female prison. Ten prisoners strutted their stuff in evening gowns and swimwear this year in front of family and friends. Each contestant had their hair and makeup done by volunteers. The judge panel consisted of a judge along with prison officials and Brazilian model and actress Carol Nakamura acted as host, according to the Huffington Post. Ana Carolina Rosa de Souza, 22, last year’s winner who is serving time for drug trafficking said that the pageant has been a means to “open doors” for inmates. She expressed, “The competition is not just about beauty. The judges are looking for the ability to express sympathy.”
At the end of the day, though, prison is prison. Like many other Latin American nations, Brazil’s prisons are experiencing severe overcrowding. HuffPo reports:
The Talavera Bruce prison is inside the Bangu penitentiary complex, which is composed of 17 penal units, according to Metro.
The number of imprisoned females in Brazil rose 567 percent from 2000 to 2014, its Ministry of Justice revealed recently.
Overall, the country’s overcrowded prison population is now the world’s fourth largest, with more than 600,000 inmates being held in facilities designed for 377,000, according to Human Rights Watch.
View pictures from the Miss Talavera Bruce beauty pageant below.