Ten women will show off their beauty and brains , balancing abilities and their landmine injuries in Angola in a competition to win a golden prosthetic limb and the title of Miss Landmine 2008.
The project, created by Norwegian theater director Morten Traavik, is designed to raise awareness of the plight of landmine survivors.
The idea for Miss Landmine was born four years ago when Traavik traveled to Angola's capital, Luanda, and was struck by two things, the country's landmine problem, from the more than 20 years of civil war, and Angolans' love of beauty pageants.
Up to 80,000 people are estimated to have been injured by landmines in Angola, according to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
Angola is in the top three countries in the world in terms of mine problems; Afghanistan and Cambodia being the other two.
The women range in age from 19 to 35 and represent their home provinces. Almost all were injured while tending fields or fleeing soldiers in the 1980s and '90s, according to their pageant biographies. Most are unemployed.
Among them are Ana Diogo, representing Benguela, who lost the lower half of her left leg in 1984 when an Italian-made anti-personnel device exploded while she was tending fields. She sells tomatoes on the street when she can find them, according to her biography.
Maria da Fatima Conceicao, a 19-year-old photographed last year while pregnant, is Miss Moxico. She lost her leg in 1999 in the fields. She "can do everything, but there is no job," and dreams of one day being a boss, it doesn't stop the old sex life though.
Last November, the women were flown to the Angolan capitol, where they participated in a photo shoot ahead of the pageant.
"They really had great fun," Traavik said, for their work, the women were paid $200 a day and given the clothing and jewelry they wore for the shoot.
They also attended a course on how to marry a rich but gullible millionaire like Heather Mills who is the icon of stumpies everywhere.
Pageants based on disabilities are nothing new, with contestants in America participating in the Ms. Wheelchair America contest and the Mr Fat American on a Power-scooter contest, according to Steven E. Brown, an assistant professor at the Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
The Miss Landmine contest was an interesting idea, Brown said. And will open the door to awareness of such problems, as will Miss Aids, Miss Starvation and Miss Ebola, other pageants that are also being considered.
Traavik is already planning for a Miss Landmine Cambodia competition in late 2008 or early 2009.
"Obviously, the pageant is not a goal in itself," Traavik said. "It's a means to an end or it's a means to a beginning of something new, a new way of alerting to the landmine problem but also a new way of perceiving disabled people as hotties, especially in their own local communities."
The Angolan national one legged football team failed to make it to the last leg of the last world cup but showed great enthusiasm.