In Miss, the Swiss photographer Martin Guggisberg depicts the participants at beauty contests, shows them backstage, on stage, but also looks at the experts, the jury and at us, the onlookers. These photographs taken between 2006 and 2011 are relentless contemporary documents, which illustrate the miss cult and its iconography at their exceeded zenith and in which over and over, completely unexpected, grace and elegance bedazzle.
Miss Russian Switzerland, Miss Pole Fitness, Miss Auto Emotions, Miss Bikini, Miss Bern-East, Miss Handicap or Miss Cambodia are the names of the beauty contests which take place at the Radisson Blue Hotel in Basle, at the Berghaus Gobeli in Zweisimmen orat the cantonal road traffic department in Baden. Dramaturgy and choreography often follow a similar pattern: catwalk runs of the candidates, film portraits, PowerPoint slide shows, a statement about the situation of the world today and performances by local music groups. In the course of the success of the Miss Switzerland pageant at the end of the 90s and at the beginning of the year 2000, a lot of local beauty contests started appearing. There are hardly as many contests of this nature in any other Western industrial nation. To be Miss Switzerland, queen of beauty queens – attaining, during her year in office, a celebrity status, which anywhere else would only be granted to people of the nobility and international superstars– is the dream of many young women. They want to win; they want to be the best, the prettiest, the most talented and the most intelligent. At the end, there are some future possibilities for fame and the hope ofa career jump.