Letter From Jakarta

From ban to boom - Indonesia's beauty pageants lift youth out of poverty

Once considered taboo, these contests have spawned a multimillion-dollar industry and are seen by many as a ticket to bigger opportunities

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JAKARTA - Ms Andina Yulianti found her life transformed virtually overnight after being crowned the winner of Miss Grand Indonesia, a prestigious national pageant, earlier this year.

Growing up, the daughter of rubber tappers from a remote village in Sumatra's Palembang regency earned some pocket money by modelling and singing at cafes.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2022, with the headline From ban to boom - Indonesia's beauty pageants lift youth out of poverty . Subscribe