Beauty queens in Chinese-opera styled bikinis

A series of photos depicting beauty queens in Chinese-opera styled bikinis has caused an online frenzy. In contrast to the loud viewer criticism, the event’s organizer maintains the performance was merely intended to promote Chinese culture.

Some Internet users applauded the bikini-styled opera performance as a very innovative move in terms of the cultural exchange between East and West, whereas others blasted the mere idea of putting on such a show, pointing out that this type of presentation degrades China’s national quintessence – and that the bikini-clad models had clearly had no opera training whatsoever.
Li Yulong, the executive chairman of the organizing committee for the Miss Bikini International Pageant and board chairman of Beijing Beauty and Cultural Development Co. Ltd., told Xinhua that the designs were specifically created to support China’s opera culture. The now widely circulated photos were actually taken during a press conference in April this year and all model performers in the show were in fact past winners.

Li said the intensely discussed Peking Opera headdresses had been designed by pageant organizers and were in no way intended to make a mockery out of the Peking Opera culture. He said their fashion was merely a freestyle design which addresses and celebrates traditional Chinese theater culture.

"During the 36th Miss Bikini International Final held in July of last year, we adopted hand-embroidered bikinis and traditional Chinese theater styled headdress, using Kunqu Opera as background music for the contestants’ performances. This April, at the press conference for the 37th Miss Bikini International, several past winners performed wearing a similar design once more," Li explained.

Li thought this kind of opera headdress would give a good representation of Chinese traditional culture. Adding such factors and designs to the pageant would simply make it stand out even more and add to its oriental charm. "This can show Western audiences the true beauty of traditional Chinese culture and promote the oriental aesthetic to the world," Li said, adding, "Our intention is to promote the Chinese culture based on this pageant and we did not set out to deliberately degrade Chinese opera."

Other than opera style, the cheongsam, blue and white porcelain, the Daodejing, Chinese Venice located on the southern Yangtze River, and several other Chinese cultural elements have also made an appearance during the 35th, 36th editions of the pageant. "The bikini is part of the Western culture, how can it then meet and mix with the oriental culture or Chinese culture? That question is a hot topic. How to explore cultural heritage? How to make elements of Chinese culture more intense? These questions all need to be constantly explored and perfected," Li said.

In 2005, the 33rd Miss Bikini International World Final arrived in China for the first time and the 34th session had a substantial proactive impact. The 35th Miss Bikini International was hosted by Beijing Beauty and Cultural Development Co. Ltd. With the International World Final taking place in Sanya, Miss Bikini International achieved great success. Ever since the inception of Miss Bikini International in China, the pageant has received widespread attention on both a local as well as international level, accelerating the development of China’s beauty industry and economy.

Editorial Message
This site contains materials from other clearly stated media sources for the purpose of discussion stimulation and content enrichment among our members only. does not necessarily endorse their views or the accuracy of their content. For copyright infringement issues please contact