Sixty-five-year-old Brazilian woman is named this year's Most Beautiful in elderly beauty contest.
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL (MAY 9, 2013) (REUTERS) - Sixty-five year old Brazilian Irenilda de Oliveira Meneses proved it's never too late to be a beauty queen as she was crowned Sao Paulo's most beautiful elderly woman on Thursday (May 9).
The finalists-- all residents of Sao Paulo over the age of 60-- competed in the annual beauty contest organized by Sao Paulo's state health department to coincide with Mother's Day, celebrated this coming Sunday (May 12).
This year's youngest contestant was 60, the oldest 87.
Organizer Anilton Guedes, from Paulista Institute of Geriatrics and Gerontology, spoke about the event as a way for the ladies to keep their irons in the fire.
"The most important thing is to for the ladies to feel like they are taking part in life. Life hasn't stopped for them. They are still in the game. If they don't have a boyfriend, they are looking for one. They are still on the path, strong and firm," said Guedes.
Over 200 candidates signed up for the competition, but only 25 were selected to compete on Thursday.
The event, in its 10th edition, appears to be growing in popularity as enrolee numbers were up 67 percent from two years previous in 2011.
At 87, Maria Helena Fernandes was this year's oldest contestant but she said the competition makes her feel youthful.
"I think like this. We have to to take advantage of life as much as we can, with our health, happiness. Today I am way too happy to be here. I feel like a twenty year old girl," said Fernandes.
Contestants dressed up twice in their finest gowns, modelling before the judges and a supportive and joyful crowd.
Organizers gave out awards for best smile, congeniality, elegance, beauty, and even shyest.
This year's victor, 65-year-old Irenilda de Oliveira, was thoroughly surprised by the honour.
"We came out here to dance, to have fun, to parade around, and we succeeded. [Winning] it's a really emotional. Very emotional. I am so swept away I am without words. I am still without words," said Meneses.
Nicknamed "Barbie" by her friends, Meneses is a married mother of two who also has two grandsons.