Film Review: Miss Tibet

Article by Monica (Yimeng) Geng

Documentary “Miss Tibet” uses the story of a young Tibetan American girl’s “Miss Tibet” pageant journey to reflect social and political controversies of Tibetans who are scattered all around the world. The main character, Tezin Khecheo, is a Tibetan girl who was born in India and raised in Minnesota. Thus she embodies both Tibetan and American culture in her background. As a young Tibetan, Tezin aspires to be the voice of her people, and contribute to the preservation of their culture.

Tezin courageously entered the “Miss Tibet” American pageant and won herself a valuable spot in the “Miss Tibet 2011” world pageant competition, which is located in India. Six Tibetan girls from India, Switzerland, Australia, and America were entered in this competition and were required to go through a full week of pageant training. This training incorporated posture correction, catwalking, public speaking, and most importantly, Tibetan culture studying. Through participating this event, these young girls were able to acquire a deeper insight of their own culture, and truly understand the suffering that their ancestors had to endure. The whole point of this pageant is to create a platform for the world to see a different kind of beauty of Tibetan culture.

Being such an innovative concept, “Miss Tibet” Pageant has also caused many controversies. Many conservative Tibetans believe that girls should not reveal their bodies and wearing bikinis in front of thousands of people is definitely a taboo. However, these girls were brave enough to stand up for their own values and together with the amazing production team, they put on a spectacular show for the audience of “Miss Tibet 2011”.

Despite a huge overall success, the ultimate result of “Miss Tibet 2011” remained controversial. Many people suspected the show being a fraud and that the wining results weren’t fair. At the end of the documentary, the main producer of “Miss Tibet’ refused to answer any questions about their secret selecting system and thus the film ended on an ambiguous note. This ending represents the tragic truth that cultural events as such can also be manipulated by political conspiracies.

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