WEIRD NEWS

Model Inmates Compete For Title Of Prison Beauty Queen

Convicted robber Michelle Neri Rangel was crowned "Miss Talavera Bruce 2016."
Inmate contestants stand during the annual beauty pageant at the Talavera Bruce women's prison
Inmate contestants stand during the annual beauty pageant at the Talavera Bruce women's prison

A woman serving a 39 year sentence for robbery has been crowned the beauty queen of one of Brazil's toughest prison for females.

Michelle Neri Rangel, 27, beat nine other inmates to the "Miss Talavera Bruce 2016" title at the maximum security lockup of the same name in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Tuesday.

She was ordered detained at the facility in 2010 after being convicted of prostitution and a series of holdups, reports Globo.

Michelle Neri Rangel celebrates after being named the winner
Michelle Neri Rangel celebrates after being named the winner
The pageant aims to humanize and boost the self-esteem of female inmates
The pageant aims to humanize and boost the self-esteem of female inmates

"(This competition) is a question of honor. I'm feeling like a woman, I've learned how to feel like a woman in prison," she told the EFE news agency.

The participants had their hair and make-up styled by local volunteers.

Armed guards, family, friends and ten judges looked on as they first donned swimwear and then evening gowns for the two sections of the competition, according to the Mirror.

Participants received makeup and hair styling from volunteers
Participants received makeup and hair styling from volunteers
Inmate participants rejoice at the annual beauty pageant
Inmate participants rejoice at the annual beauty pageant

Ana Carolina Rosa de Souza, 22, won last year's event, and said it had served to "open doors" and make her a better person. She had been convicted for drug trafficking.

"The competition is not just about beauty. The judges are looking for the ability to express sympathy," El Tiempo reports her as saying.

The annual event is organized by community and church groups who want to boost inmates' self-esteem, and this year was hosted by Brazilian model and actress Carol Nakamura.

The competition is a welcome relief for participant inmates
The competition is a welcome relief for participant inmates
Inmate contestants walk toward the stage from a cellblock area
Inmate contestants walk toward the stage from a cellblock area

The Talavera Bruce prison is inside the Bangu penitentiary complex, which is composed of 17 penal units, according to Metro.

The number of imprisoned females in Brazil rose 567 percent from 2000 to 2014, its Ministry of Justice revealed recently.

Inmate contestants embrace at the beauty pageant
Inmate contestants embrace at the beauty pageant
An inmate contestant has her makeup done for the show
An inmate contestant has her makeup done for the show

Overall, the country's overcrowded prison population is now the world's fourth largest, with more than 600,000 inmates being held in facilities designed for 377,000, according to Human Rights Watch.

The pageant comes a month after Suzy Cortez was voted as having Brazil's most beautiful bottom -- and crowned Miss BumBum 2015.

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