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Beauty Contests Before The ‘90s Look More Horrifying Than Anything Else

By Christopher Paul, 18 July 2019


It was in 1854 when showman P.T. Barnum held the first beauty pageant. Unfortunately, for him, the public protested and closed his pageant down. There have been traces of beauty pageants being held way before that time.

In 1839 a beauty pageant was held during the Eglinton Tournament and was organized by Archibald Montgomerie. The winner was Georgiana Seymour, Duchess of Somerset and was then proclaimed as the "Queen of Beauty". Now we have countless beauty contests each year but there was something about the beauty contests that were held before that is missing today, something scary.

1Miss War Worker Beauty Contest


During the Second World War, every country had its ways of keeping the troops and war workers motivated. From female celebrities performing on stage or arranging pageants like this, the purpose was to keep spirits up and let everyone have fun. This picture was taken in 1942 and these ladies helped the war effort.

Miss War Worker Beauty Contest

Image Source: wikimedia.org

2Miss American Vampire


Yes, you heard that right! Somewhere around the 1970s, there was a pageant in America that required women to dress up like vampires! Looks like the obsession with vampires started way before ‘Twilight’ created the craze. As the picture shows, the women are dressed in dark colors and look quite gothic.

Miss American Vampire

Image Source: klankosova.tv

3Miss Lobsters?


Yes, those are women dressed as lobsters. These are the women who won the prize in Atlantic City’s famous Beauty Pageant Parade held on Atlantic City Boardwalk. As the caption below says, these women are posing with ‘Lobster King’ Harry Hockney. They are probably waitresses at his restaurants. This is like a lobster-themed version of ‘Hooters’.

Miss Lobsters?

Image Source: gaycondo.com

4Miss Subways


Have you ever thought that there could be a beauty pageant held for women, but related to public transport? Well around the 1960s, there was something called the ‘Miss Subways’ pageant. We don’t know what role the subways had to play but as the picture shows, the pageant is advertised on the subway! People back then sure had a lot of pageants!

Miss Subways

Image Source: atlasobscura.com

5Ankle Pageant


This picture captures the essence of this competition. This was from the 1930s. This pageant was arranged for women’s ankles! No other body part was exposed and the winner was declared only on the basis of the ankle. Participants sat behind this covering and only their ankles were exposed.

Ankle Pageant

Image Source: violity.com


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