Miss America: Immigrant Beauty Pageants in the US

Photographs by Benjamin Rasmussen

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For this project, Benjamin Rasmussen photographed the winners of more than two dozen beauty pageants for women from immigrant communities around the United States, from Miss India Florida to Miss Liberia US, to Miss Arab USA and Miss Texas Czech-Slovak.

“I avoided people who had spent their lives in pageants,” Rasmussen says. “A lot of the participants I photographed were in law school or pre-med, first or second generation Americans, and this was the first time most of them were involved in a contest like this.”

For the participants, “it wasn’t about mainstream pageant culture,” Rasmussen says. “It was learning about and honoring the countries their parents came from, while making an American life for themselves.”

“It’s such an American way to celebrate your country of origin.”

See more images from this series on the Getty Images website.