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MISS By Jenn Ackerman and Tim Gruber

Children often dream of playing major league baseball or being an actress, find but for many of these women, it was to be a queen. Praised as a positive role model for young girls, protested as degrading to women and shamed by scandals, beauty pageants have become an American icon. It is a world where artificial enhancements are the norm and a panel of judges decide your fate.

MISS explores these beauty pageants through the lens of fascination, respect, awe, and sadness.

The project brings the viewer behind the scenes at two of the largest pageants in the world – Miss USA and Miss Universe. It reveals the competition, the camaraderie, the heartache and the determination the contestants experience in order to chase after what some have been striving for their whole lives. The pictures depict a world of sashes, thinness, makeup, curlers and high heels – all at the expense of being named Miss for a year.

See the full essay on the photographer’s own  AG Website