23 Creepy Photos From History’s Most Bizarre Beauty Pageants

Published August 21, 2017
Updated July 7, 2021

Discover why the contests for Miss Fabulous Frankfurter and Miss National Catfish Queen are even stranger than they sound.

Miss Lovely Eyes
Ankle Contest
Miss Frankfurter
Weird Vintage Beauty Contests
23 Creepy Photos From History’s Most Bizarre Beauty Pageants
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Let's be honest — many of us think that beauty pageants are a bit ridiculous. There is something slightly off-putting about the idea of being judged solely on your physical assets and not on your talents or your personality.

However, beauty contests have been around for centuries and are, by now, deeply-rooted traditions in most societies. Still, it is interesting to note that, back in the day, many beauty pageants were slightly more bizarre and, dare we say, more fun?

For example, "Miss Lovely Eyes" contests were extremely popular in 1930s America. During these bizarre contests, most of the participants' physical features, except for the eyes, were hidden so as to not distract the judges.

The British must have been deeply impressed with this American contest for they imitated it a couple of decades later. The contestants' bodies were hidden in numbered stalls and their faces were covered with yashmaks. The whole affair was filmed, and the announcer excitedly predicted that in the future, "we might well have competitions for beautiful ears, or even noses!"

"Miss Beautiful Legs" and "Miss Prettiest Ankles" competitions were also popular, especially in Britain and France. During these pageants, the contestants' bodies were usually hidden behind curtains to ensure that they were judged solely on their legs and ankles, and nothing more. The judges took their time in examining the legs and ankles of the participants, sometimes even touching and measuring them.

"Miss Perfect Posture" competitions, held in the 1950s and 1960s, were different from regular beauty contests in that those competing had to possess good posture — clinically good posture. The judges were made up entirely out of chiropractors who checked the contestants' posture using a variety of methods, including X-rays, weighing scales, and plumb bobs (used for determining how straight the back was).

As with most bizarre vintage beauty contests, "Miss Perfect Posture" was nothing more than a publicity stunt, in this case meant to enhance chiropractors' reputation. It is worth noting that "Mr. Perfect Posture" contests were also a fad (albeit a short-lived one). They were far less popular however because the men apparently always slouched.

Then there was the "Miss Frankfurter Queen" contest, the "Miss Donut Queen" competition, and the "Miss NASA Queen" pageant, among many, many others.

And if you were a man, you could have tried your luck at the "Knobbly Knees" competition. We are not exactly sure what the requirements for any of these contests were, but you have to admit that these bizarre vintage pageants do sound rather fun.

Next, take a behind-the-scenes look at the Miss World Muslimah beauty pageant for young Muslim women. Then, read up on the first albino beauty pageant that took place in Nairobi.

Laura Martisiute
Laura Martisiute is a freelance writer based in Tramore, Ireland. In her spare time, she likes to explore secret beaches, pet cats, and read.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Martisiute, Laura. "23 Creepy Photos From History’s Most Bizarre Beauty Pageants." AllThatsInteresting.com, August 21, 2017, https://allthatsinteresting.com/weird-vintage-beauty-pageants. Accessed May 21, 2024.