The Top 5 Most Bizarre Beauty Contests

If you think “Toddlers & Tiaras” is a bizarre, perverse spectacle then you are absolutely correct: it is! But the competitions featured on “T&T” are far from the strangest beauty contests out there. What these other unusual pageants lack in confused and exploited underage participants, they make up for in outright oddity. We suppose that with more than seven billion people alive it was only a matter of time before enough diehard goldfish enthusiasts got together to start up a goldfish beauty pageant. And that one is not even the strangest on the list…

5 Most Beautiful Horse of the Year

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This is no livestock auction with animals judged based on strength or size or any practical metrics; no, Turkmenistan’s Most Beautiful Horse of the Year contest is all about equine aesthetics. The contest was established in 2011 by the Turkmen president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to celebrate the famed Ahal-Teke horses of Turkmenistan. The winning horse is presented with a trophy, and all ten finalists receive a car.

4 World Goldfish Queen

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For some people, the gold standard of beauty is the most beautiful goldfish. 2012 saw the world’s first international goldfish beauty contest, which was hosted by the Chinese city Fuzhou. Competitors (AKA fish) from fourteen different nations were entered into the pageant. The goldfish were judged largely on "five criteria: breed, body shape, swimming gesture, color, which is very important and overall impression," said Mr. Ye Qichang, one of the competition’s judges.

3 Best in Skunk

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During the summer of 2013, England saw its first ever beauty pageant for skunks. And while we readily admit that this seems like an odd, relatively ill-conceived undertaking, actually the little critters are incredibly charming. Twenty skunks reached the top tiers of the competition and vied for the title of Best Male [Skunk], Best Female [Skunk] and Best [Skunk] in show. The animals were judged based on tail length, general attitude, “cuteness of nose” and more.

2 The Camel Festival Beauty Contest

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Let’s be clear here: camels are not beautiful animals. They have rather ugly mouths. They have a minimum of one large hump on their backs. They have knobby knees and feet. And they have rather disagreeable dispositions. Nonetheless, the camel has played such an integral role in some cultures that they are honored and celebrated. And in this case, they even have their own festival, the Al-Dhafra Camel Festival held each year in the UAE, to be precise. And at this celebration—which usually sees some 25,000 camels converging on Al-Dhafra—is a beauty pageant. The beasts are judged on “criteria including firmness of ear, straightness of leg and the size of their toe cleft.” And there can be big money involved, too: one winner was bought for almost $2.5 million USD!

1 Miss Klingon Empire Beauty Pageant

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Perhaps the strangest things about a beauty contest for people dressed up like the fictional Klingon race from Star Trek is not the fact that it exists at all, but rather the fact that it has existed for almost a decade and a half now and is still going strong. Contestants assume the role of a female Klingon, wacky costumes, makeup, prosthetics and all. They are judged based on beauty, talent and personality. And the winner receives prizes worth around $600!