History 2017In the media

Beauty pageant sparks major row as controversial round shocks the country

Tenzin Paldon, a 21-year-old air hostess, was crowned Miss Tibet 2017 in McLeod Ganj, India, on 4 June 2017. Pintoram

By Sabrina Dougall

Miss Tibet has caused fury after hopefuls stripped down to their bikinis.

Highly conservative Tibetan culture frowns upon women flashing the flesh.

But in this year’s grand final, the nine contestants bared all in skimpy swimwear.

Stunning Tenzin Paldon, 21, was crowned the winner of the contest which aims to “bring Tibetan culture forward in time”.

Ms Paldon — who also won Miss Photogenic — has a degree in aviation management and works as an air hostess.

But organisers faced a huge backlash after hosting a bikini parade as part of their aim for young Tibetan women to be seen “beyond their culture.”

Over 3,000 admirers watched the final on June 4.

Both the winner and first runner up were gifted a two-week trip to Vietnam – despite China forbidding Tibetan winners from taking part in any international events.

Pageant organisers claim the show promotes women’s education and shows “the full range of their capabilities and interests.”

The website states: “Young Tibetan women deserve the chance to be seen as part of their traditional culture and also beyond their culture, as contemporary, modern young women.”

Miss Tibet fan Zhaxi Tsomo believes the show promotes a positive image of the nation’s women.

She posted: “Just be yourself and promote the Tibetan culture, which is very special.”

But not everyone was happy.

Another comment on Miss Tibet’s site slammed the show for being “too western”.

The user, known as Dave, said: “We have to represent us not other [nations].”

Contestants usually range from age 18 to 25, with all except school-age women holding at least one degree.

The competition is held annually in Dharamshala, India.

Copyright © 2017 Express Newspapers Published in dailystar.com

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