Veteran head of the Miss Venezuela pageant, Osmel Sousa, who is claiming responsibility for starting his country's obsession with cosmetic surgery, recently dismissed the concept of inner beauty as a concept invented by ugly women to make themselves feel better.
Sousa made the revelation in a recent New York Times report examining a trend among the country's mannequin makers to redesign the display figures to match the look of the growing number of cosmetically enhanced women in Venezuela.
Sousa said he suggested a nose job for Venezuela's first Miss Universe more than three decades ago, which resulted in her nabbing the beauty crown.
"When there is a defect, I correct it," said Sousa. "If it can be easily fixed with surgery, then why not do it?"
"I say that inner beauty doesn't exist. That's something that unpretty women invented to justify themselves," he added.
The report highlighted, however, that women's groups in that country have been pushing against the superficial beauty trend and protested the Miss Venezuela beauty pageant last month.
But due to the cultural weight place of physical beauty in Venezuela, Sousa's trend might be difficult to stem.
"Venezuela is known for its oil, and it's known for its beauty," Lauren Gulbas, a feminist scholar and anthropologist at Dartmouth College, who studied attitudes toward plastic surgery in Venezuela explained. "That ties into why it's perceived as so important to Venezuelans."
Pointing to an enhanced mannequin to reflect the surgically modified assets if the female anatomy, one mannequin shop worker said she had a strong desire to look more like her creations.
"You see a woman like this and you say, 'Wow, I want to look like her,' " said Reina Parada, Even though she cannot afford it, she explained that she would like to get implant surgery one day because it will make her feel better about herself.
"It gives you better self-esteem," she said.