American Salon 0512 : Page 34
American: The Beautiful ageants not only set benchmarks for beauty, they can also provide a glimpse into society’s notions about the feminine ideal. In the 1950s, when women’s roles were more narrowly defi ned, pageant hairstyles resembled glammed-up versions of what we saw in the movies: women as wives and mothers. Pin-curl sets and permanent waves kept hair, fi rst and foremost, under control. The 1970s saw longer, fl owing locks with a more natural fi nish, as girl next door types like Ali MacGraw and Cybill Shepherd graced the pages of fashion magazines. In the 1980s, pageant hair took a sharp turn into big hair country, and there it stayed until just recently. “Over the last nine years, we’ve seen a shift to more wearable styles as opposed to the bigger hair of yesteryear,” says Farouk Shami, whose company Farouk Systems partners with the Miss Universe Organization, which also stages the Miss USA contest. “Pageant hair has given rise to some of the most iconic hairstyles of the industry,” he adds, making the case for pageants not just as refl ections of the present ideal, but as the vanguards of what’s to come. P Miss America 1946 Marilyn Buferd Miss USA 1987 Michelle Royer PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY OF FAROUK SYSTEMS (1961, 1978, 1987, KENYA MOORE 1993); THE MISS AMERICA ORGANIZATION (1937, 1946, 1957, 1974, LEANZA CORNETT 1993); CORBIS (1921) Miss USA 1978 Judi Anderson Miss America 1974 Rebecca King DID YOU KNOW? Miss USA 1961 Sharon Brown Circus showman P.T. Barnum is credited with organizing America’s fi rst beauty pageant in 1854. The event so scandalized the public that Barnum took the idea to newspapers, creating photographic beauty contests that covered a range of subjects, from bathing beauties to babies.
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