LAS VEGAS - Photos of Miss Universe candidates posing with body paint on different parts of their bodies are all over the Web. Some news agencies criticized the photos since some of the candidates posed topless.
But candidates say none of them were forced to go topless, and that they only had body paint on whatever body part they were comfortable with. "May option ka naman kasi, whether gusto mo or ayaw mo. Iyong hindi naman ako tinanong noong photographer kung gusto ko or ayaw ko, basta sinabi lang niya doon sa nagpa-paint: 'Okay lagyan siya ng gold, lagyan siya ng ganito...' Hindi naman niya sinabing o tanggalin mo iyang top mo," said Miss Philippines Venus Raj.
Reigning Miss Universe Stefania Fernandez says the photos were beautiful and shot professionally. "I think this is the best….our photographer, he's the best. He knows what he knows and he's great," she said. Miss Venezuela enjoyed the body art session and hopes she could do it again. "The girls I asked said they were very comfortable with it. It was great shooting. And I saw the pictures... They were amazing pictures. I wish I could have the opportunity to pose again," said Marelisa Gibson, Miss Venezuela.
The Miss Universe organization says nudity is part of many cultures, and the pictures were cutting edge . Some mediamen covering the pageant said the photos displayed a different kind of beauty and should not be made an issue.
"I think it's art. That's how I would put it," said Jessica Carrillo of Telemundo.
Meanwhile, the Miss Universe fever is now being felt all over Las Vegas as the city awaits the coronation night on August 24. Posters of the reigning Miss Universe are everywhere. A video wall plays the images of candidates.
The Mandalay Bay Hotel, where the pageant will be held, is fully booked.
Rental cars are difficult to get, and because it is the summer season, visitors are trooping to enjoy the cool pools around the strip. The Miss Universe pageant moves to different locations around the world.
Las Vegas, of course, is very proud to host what is called "the most beautiful day in the universe."
This year, 83 candidates will vie for the coveted title of Miss Universe 2010.
Reposted From ABS-CBN News