QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — There was no bathing suit or modern evening gown competition in this beauty contest.
Instead, the young Ecuadorean women competing in the event for indigenous beauties wore native costumes and headwear. Black high-heeled pumps were the only truly Western clothing on display.
Contestants for the Miss Indigenous Ecuador beauty contest on Friday had to belong to one of the country’s many Indian groups and speak a native language. Eleven women from around the country participated.
The women nervously prepared backstage beforehand. Helen Matugo, a member of the Otavalo people, looked into her compact mirror while Patricia Grefa, representing Pastaza province, arranged her hair. Nancy Maliza, of the Chibuleo indigenous group, stood still while her mother helped her arrange her dress with a safety pin.
The winner was 19-year-old Jenny Guillin of the Puruha people. Organizers say she now gets the right to participate in the Miss Ecuador contest.
Amid cheers and tears, Guillin was crowned with a specially designed tiara that included a “chacana,” or indigenous cross, and an aboriginal symbol for the sun.
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