Archive: Miss Liberia 2009
During Charles Taylor's chaotic reign in Liberia, the Miss Liberia pageant was his personal sexual buffet. Both the country and the pageant have come a long way since the brutal civil war that ended in 2003, but must travel further still to truly shed their past.
The pageant is now rebranded, "Women of Substance," to match the new progressive female leadership's vocabulary. Beauty queens crammed into a small room back stage applying make up by flashlight when the generator failed, sewed on new hair extensions, and looked each other up and down warily.
UN and police presence were both visible at the pageant. Riots broke out after the show in 2008 when the results were disputed. This time, the Queen was shepherded quickly to safety by police escorts after her crowning.