June 19, 2008

Age of beauty pageant contestants

As long as the dataset involves age and girls, I'll crunch the numbers. Before, I showed that the average porn star is 23, supporting my contention that looks tend to peak during the 22 to 24 range. Beauty pageant contestants are also judged mostly on their looks, and maybe a bit on personality traits -- namely, being girly -- so they're worth looking at.

Importantly, they do not have any sort of ladder to climb: if she's an "it girl," she will be recognized right away. This is unlike Hollywood actresses (and perhaps porn stars to a lesser extent) who require years of work to become famous. There are artificial floors, though, as Miss Universe contestants must be 18, and Miss World I believe must be 17.

Below are statistics from four recent international beauty pageants, chosen based on being able to get age data easily. Means are rounded.

Miss World 2006

Range: 17 - 25
Mean: 20

Miss World 2007

Range: 17 - 25
Mean: 21

Miss Universe 2004

Range: 18 - 26
Mean: 21

Miss Universe 2008

Range: 18 - 26
Mean: 21
Skewness: +2.6 Standard Errors of Skewness

In each case, extrapolating to the younger-than-allowed ages predicts that somewhere between 1-5% of contestants would show up in the below-legal ages. That jibes with personal experience: 16 is the age when a typical girl starts getting noticed by all males, not just by her peers. After their mid-20s, females apparently cannot make it into beauty pageants, although they can be successful in porn. In all four cases, the data are skewed so that the below-average ages have more representatives than the above-average ages, but this is only statistically significant in one case.

I attribute the lower age here, compared to porn stars, to personality differences and certain aspects of a girl's shape. Girliness declines during the 20s, so it makes sense that feminine beauty pageant contestants would be younger than aggressive porn stars. As for looks, porn stars have to have somewhat ample bottoms, as these are the most sexual part of their bodies. Judging from the involuntary analysis I am always doing in real life, I'd say it takes until a girl's mid-20s for her butt to reach full size, unlike the breasts. Since beauty pageant contestants are supposed to project an image of goodness and chastity, they cannot have J-Lo booties, and this favors younger girls. Skin condition may also play a role, it being more tight, smooth, and flawless at younger ages.

Really, though, this is all just splitting hairs: girls are hottest sometime during their early 20s.


  1. Interesting post Agnostic:
    It happens a lot that 16 and 17 year old girls win beauty contests, only to be later disqualified when their real age is found out. I suspect the real reason why 16-17 year old girls aren't allowed is because they don't want them to win, showing male preference for young girls.
    Normal male sexual preference includes girls as young as 13 and as old as 30. But most men are usualy the most attracted to the 16-24 crowd. My personal preference is for girls aged 15-17.
    I think the main male sexual preference is actually for girls aged 18, and not 22. At 18,most women are fully developed and still very girly. A perfect combination. Obviously you have to distinguish between early bloomer and late bloomer. Also, dating a teen has the advantage that you will enjoy her teen years and her early twenties anyway, whereas when dating a 22 year old girl you only get to enjoy her early twenties. That's why it is such a bad deal for a (young) man to marry a woman in her late twenties: sure, she still can be attractive but in five years you end up with something you don't really want, whereas dating and marrying a 16 year old will give you 2 decades of an atractive sexual partner.

  2. Agnostic -- you strike me as someone it'd be really fun to mess with, see how far you'd take your women-as-stats attitude. Let me know if you're up for a good spirited brawl with an intellectually atypical feminist.

  3. see how far you'd take your women-as-stats attitude.

    Men are stats too, but not being gay, I don't think too much about when precisely their looks or guyish personalities peak. I'll leave that to all those female quants out there.

    I suspect the real reason why 16-17 year old girls aren't allowed is because they don't want them to win

    Teenagers have their own contest, Miss Teen International or something.

    My personal preference is for girls aged 15-17.

    Yeah, while physical attractiveness may peak during the early 20s, 15 - 17 year-olds have so much girly charm that you can overlook the fact that they're not as physically attractive as 22 - 24 year-olds.

    Y pues por que no comenzamos el finde gozando de un homenaje a los encantos de la alumna argentina?




  4. Just tangent to what you wrote, I was in the Miss Universe pageant in 1999, held at Trinidad and Tobago. Let's just say I was one of the OLDER contestants, almost pushing the 26 age limit *haha!* So that gave me a little distance from the average 18 year olds there and I was able to stand back alot and simply observe the happenings whilst participating at the same time.

    About 10 years on, I'm still blown away when I think of how young the girls generally were.

    I remember Miss Venezuela that year, Carolina, was just 17 or 18 then, and she was not the youngest there. She was strikingly beautiful and very elegant in heels, well poised for the cameras etc. But just sometimes, I caught her unawares, backstage, just sitting down in a fluff of material, in a little girl pose, absolutely vulnerable.

    Perhaps it's the vulnerability, innocence and the promise of a great future, in what is young that attracts?

    I'm still in touch with some of these girls and many of them are mothers these days. In my view, I think most of them look better today than when they were at the pageant. They would be ca. 26 to 28?

    Personally, I find women most beautiful when there's a balance between girly and mature, with a touch of sophistication.

    Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

  5. hi my name is charlie and i am 15 next month. i have always wanted to become a beauty queen or a model. i have searched the internet for hours but cant seem to find anything about becoming a model or a beauty queen at my age. have you got any contacts that i could get in touch with because it would be a dream come true. please write back to me my emial is charlierichards39@yahoo.com or chaz-55@live.com. thank you.

  6. charlie, for gods sake. beauty is not everythinga and any person could come along, e-mail u pretending to b someone they're not... u get my point. people seem to forget that no matter how may pimples u hav, or how little ure chest is, make-up or cosmetic surgery WILL NEVER FIX HOW U SEE YOURSELF. This is the same with beauty pageants.
    And Gannon, women are not statistics, the way u sed half that stuff makes you sound like a phedophile.


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