Belgian Beauty Bust

American beauty pageant organizers and participants, attention please! Time to break out the briefing-books! There is now a trend over on the European side of the big ocean that insists upon seeing from contestants at such events both beauty and brains – at least a bare minimum, please. This is originating from none other than Belgium, as we see from a report from that French-Belgian newspaper La Dernière Heure (A future unpolished Miss Belgium?).

The problem boils down to one Cassandra D’Ermilio, a quite fetching brunette competitor for the Miss Belgium title, to be awarded on 23 December. (There’s a picture of her on the webpage, you can see for yourself.) Nonetheless, Cassandra already put her chances for victory in grave danger when an interview revealed that she is having problems recalling the most elementary facts about her country that she is really supposed to know – like when is the National Day? (That’s like a Miss America contestant not knowing what date Independence Day falls on; in Belgium it’s 21 July, as we have had occasion to note before in this weblog.) Or how many spheres make up the Atomium in Brussels? (That’s like . . . I don’t know, maybe it’s like a Miss America contestant not knowing how many presidents are carved into Mount Rushmore. The Atomium, by the way, is that gigantic monument, shown here, built to depict an iron crystal, that through the years has become the very symbol of the city after it was first erected on the occasion of the world-famous “Expo ’58” World Exposition there.) And speaking of that World Exposition, in fact, Cassandra also fails on that score: When asked “In which year did Expo ’58 occur?” she also could not come up with any answer to that! (That’s like a Miss America contestant not knowing the answer to “Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb?”)

In reaction, Darline Devos, director of the Miss Belgium Committee, said “I find this very much a shame because we already gave the girls courses on Belgium. . . . The questions are not too difficult. . . . this shows that Cassandra has not reviewed [that Belgium material]. I’ve told the other girls to study up quick.” Fair warning, then, American beauties! Let there be no more excruciating Miss Teen South Carolina interviews!

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