Documentary aims to show why beauty is so important in Venezuela

By 31 December, 2010

A new documentary is hoping to shed light on Venezuela’s beauty industry. This is a country where bank loans can be used to pay for breast implants, where beauty contests are run for children as young as 5 and where all the women dream of being Miss Venezuela (before later becoming Miss Universe!) Film-makers Edward Ellis and Flor Salcedo are currently trying to raise some money to begin this production via Kickstarter, so please read on to find out more about the social and cultural impact of the beauty industry as well as what the Kickstarter campaign is hoping to achieve.

This film attempts to do something taboo in Venezuela – analyze from a social and cultural point of view the affects that the country’s multi-billion dollar beauty industry has on the lives of ordinary women.

Indeed, the beauty “phenomenon” in Venezuela is so big that just about every young girl at one point in her life dreams of being a “Miss”. Beauty pageants begin for girls as young as 5 and are celebrated events in grammar schools, poor shantytowns, wealthy resorts, rural farming communities and just about anywhere people get together. It is not uncommon for proud, wealthy fathers to buy their 15 year-old daughters breast implants as birthday presents and local banks provide loans for plastic surgery with the understanding that women will be more economically successful if they subject themselves to breast augmentation.

The goal of the film is to understand what the driving forces behind this industry are and what type of consequences have been borne of this beauty obsession. The film-makers, Edward Ellis and Flor Salcedo, intend to do this by following and observing the lives of young girls and women who actively participate in this world in order to understand their motivations, fears, and desires. The commodification of the female form will be compared with the high indexes of domestic violence that also plague the country coupled by the lack of attention and support given to women who have been victims of abuse. The case of Jennifer Viera, the 24 year old wife of boxing star Edwin Valero, will be a central character in the telling of this other side of Venezuela’s legendary beauty.

Jennifer Viera with Edwin Valero and family

The film-makers have started a Kickstarter campaign to try and raise initial funds for the documentary. Any donation will help them get the project off the ground by allowing for the purchase of necessary equipment, funding important research, and giving them the resources they need to get rolling. In reality, they’re looking for more than 5 thousand to get it going, but have intentionally set their goal low due to the fact that Kickstarter only provides funding for projects that meet their stated goal.

If you would like to find out more about this campaign or donate funds please click HERE.

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