Vocabulary: beauty 词汇：美貌
As the old saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But Venezuela, whose beauty queens have won Miss Universe and Miss World over six times, doesn't leave it to chance and girls as young as four can be found attending beauty schools.
There they can learn a range of skills from how to strut down the catwalk, to the correct way to hold a wine glass.
"Hair must always be completely clean, make-up should look natural, and you should always, always wear high-heels," advises Andrea Reyes, a teacher in a school in the suburbs of Caracas with 160 students.
Beauty pageants are treated in Venezuela much as sporting competitions are elsewhere. Many young Venezuelan girls are groomed to compete as parents believe that if they can succeed and get the beauty crown, their future as celebrities and public figures is assured.
Among former beauty queens are Irene Saez, who went on to compete for the country's presidency, and Eva Ekvall, whose battle with breast cancer helped to raise public consciousness about the illness in Venezuela.
But the apparent obsession with beauty has faced some opposition. On one occasion, a feminist group protest interrupted the Miss Venezuela broadcast and President Hugo Chavez has spoken out against the culture of plastic surgery in Venezuela, calling breast enlargements a "monstrous thing".
The BBC reporter Sarah Grainger says that acceptance of the contests is partly a result of the country's 'machista' (meaning macho) view of rigid traditional gender roles, ''where men are supposed to be strong and brave and women to be gentle and delicate''.
Miss Universe 1996, Alicia Machado, knows the price to be paid when you're no longer seen as attractive. After winning the beauty contest, she said all she wanted to do was "eat, eat and eat". Her subsequent weight gain and threat by the organizers of the pageant to replace her as queen with the runner-up was the subject of intense media scrutiny, particularly in Latin America.
- How old are the youngest students at Venezuela's beauty schools?
The girls can be as young as four years old.
- What's the advice given by a teacher in Caracas to her students?
Teacher Andrea Reyes advises that students' hair must be clean, their make-up should look natural and they should always wear high-heels.
- Is the following statement true, false or not given? Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has spoken out against beauty contests.
Not given. The article only tells us that he has criticised the culture of plastic surgery in the country.
- Look at the article. What word is used to refer to the contestant who comes in second place?
- What expressions are used in the article to refer to people who are well known in their country?
Celebrities and public figures.
Glossary 词汇表 （点击单词收听发音）
- beauty is in the eye of the beholder情人眼里出西施
- beauty queen选美冠军
- to leave (something) to chance听天由命
- to strut down the catwalk走时装秀
- beauty pageant选美比赛
- public figure公众人物