Miss Mexico Contestants Honor Their Culture And Indigenous Roots In Spectacular Traditional Dress
October 16, 2020
Miss Mexico is conducting their competition virtually this year, and the result is a collection of stunning photos depicting the contestants in magnificent traditional costumes that pay homage to the nation's diversity, rich cultural heritage, and pride in its indigenous ancestry.
MISS ESTADO DE MÉXICO
Photographer Jonathan Villafranca (@shaogear), MUA Jessica Adalí
Miss Estado de México, Perla Franco, is dressed as nantli yohualli, "mother yohualli," which means feather transported by the wind in Náhuatl.
According history and legend, nantli yohualli is invoked to attract stability and peace. She represents liberty, strength, determination, and equilibrium.
Náhuatl is an Uto-Aztecan language, varieties of which continue to be spoken by about 1.7 million Nahua peoples, most of whom live in Central Mexico.
The costume was envisioned and designed by Kristopher Noriega and Mario Rico, with the help of Professor Gustavo Diego Guzmán.
Photograph and styling by Evolet Studio @studio_evolet
Miss Guanajuato, Georgina Villanueva, represents the dual Mexican traditions of the catrina and las muñecas marías.
La Catrina, the ornately dressed "dapper skeleton" first originated by illustrator José Guadalupe Posada in the early 1900s, has become an iconic figure in Dia de Muertos celebrations.
Dia de Muertos, or Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, is a holiday celebrated by many people of Mexican and other Latin American heritage. Altars are set up to honor loved ones who have passed on to the next world, with pictures, flowers, food and other offerings to call their spirits home to visit.
The holiday, which is celebrated at the end of October and first days of November, was originally celebrated by the Aztecs throughout the entire month of August. The festivities were dedicated to Mictēcacihuātl, the "Lady of the Dead."
The piece was designed by Mike Juarez and the material for the corset and skirt was made by hand in Guanajuato.
Photographer Uri Hamed, MUA Aldo Montoya
Miss Nayarit, afromexicana Blessing Chukwu, wears a piece titled "Wirikuta."
Wirikuta is a desert high in the mountains of central Mexico, between the Sierra Madre and the Zacatecas ranges. It is sacred to the Wixárika, or Huichol, the indigenous people of Nayarit, Jalisco, Durango, and Zacatecas, who believe the world was created in Wirikuta.
Members of the Wixárika community make a yearly pilgrimage to Wirikuta, led by maraka'ames, shamans. Although the it is protected by UNESCO as a "Natural Sacred Area," it is at risk for exploitation and environmental damage by the foreign mining company First Majestic Silver.
Blessing's traje, with it's white cloth and colorful, intricate beading and patterns, is inspired by the traditional dress of the Wixárika.
Designed by Dayna Yoliceth Vega.
Photographer Julio Ortiz, MUA Victor Cabb
Miss Campeche, Jennifer Álvarez, is dressed as "La Reina de la Guaranducha," the queen of the Carnaval de Campeche, a 400-year-old celebration with afrocarribean roots.
Designed by Victor and Jesse.
Photogropher Eder Ochoa, MUA Carlos Meza
Miss Chiapas, Rocío Carrillo, portrays una “Guerrera Protectora Maya”, a Mayan warrior and protector. Her headdress is in the shape of a guacamaya, a macaw, which symbolizes greatness and strength.
"This stylized dress represents a cry from the deepest jungles of Chiapas, a cry for life and protection of a species that is in danger of extinction."
Designed by Luis Mendoza.
Photographer @tresesentafotografia/MUA @makeupramsescampos
Miss Jalisco, Mariana Macías, is wearing "Herencia y tradición mexicana." "From head to toe, this work of art shows us the beauty of our country through two elements: Heritage and Tradition."
Mariana is draped in a zarape and carries an embroidered charro sombrero, both iconic elements of the Mexican wardrobe, made by hand by artisans from the highlands of Jalisco.
Charrería, competitive rodeo showcasing the equestrian and animal husbandry skills developed from the early days of Mexico's haciendas, is the official sport of Mexico. It has been described as "living history."
Photography by YadaniMtz/MUA Arely Ramos
Miss Oaxaca, Sabrina Góngora, wears the traditional dress of la mujer Tehuana, Zapotec women from the region of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca.
The traditional dress of la mujer Tehuana, with its floral embroidery and large white huipil, has been immortalized in the paintings of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
Kahlo was inspired by the independent spirit of the Tehuanas, whose culture is matriarchical. Tehuana women historically and contemporarily play a important role in their society as public figures, organizers, and breadwinners, as vendors at women-only markets.
According to priest Gaspar Cabrera, the Isthmus of Tehuantepec is "far ahead" of wider Mexican society. “We men do not feel oppressed. This is simply a more egalitarian reality. In this aspect, Zapotec culture is more advanced, and European culture is catching up.”
Photographer Christian Navarro/MUA Jessel Sandova
Miss Michoacán, Karolina Vidales, wears a piece inspired by la danza de los viejitos, the dance of the old men, a traditional folk dance that originated with the Purepecha.
The dance features four "old men," who represent not only elders of the community, but the elements of fire, water, earth, and air, as well as the four colors of corn: red, yellow, white, and blue. The dancers ask for good harvest, though the dance may also be used to communicate with spirits and learn about the past or predict the future.
Other elements of Karolina's costume reflect the work of the state's coastal fishermen and the monarch butterflies which take sanctuary there.
Designed by Charlie Zambrano.
Miss Chihuahua, Isela Serrano, wears a piece titled "Paquime." But, Paquime is not only the name of the piece, it is where Isela was photographed.
Paquime, also known as Casas Grandes, is a prehistoric archaeological site, one of the largest ever built by the ancient Mogollon civilization, whose reach extended all the way to Arizona and New Mexico.
The shapes and patterns in her dress were inspired by designs painted on the Mogollan pottery discovered at the site. They symbolize good and evil, life and death, as well as fertility.
Photographer Omar Chavira/MUA Mike Vargas
Miss Colima, Daniela Ramírez, wears "Huarachería Mexicana," a piece inspired by Mexico's traditional footwear, el huarache.
Daniela's epaulettes feature the fabric of the Michoacan huarache, with a fringe that is meant to represents la danza de los viejitos. Her pants showcase the crosswoven pattern of hauraches from Costa Grande, while the corset and headdress pay homage to the art of the petatillo or armadillo huarache.
The entire piece pays homage to the "the ingenuity of Colima huaracheria."
Designed by José Fortunato González.
Miss Aguascalientes, Ximena Hita, wears the costume of a princesa Matlachina.
La Danza de los Matlachines, a traditional dance with indigenous roots, traces its heritage back to the nomadic days of the early chichimeca, and is part of the culture of Mexico's central states, like San Luis Potosí, Querétaro, Coahuila, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Zacatecas - and Aguascalientes.
Designed by Jorge Campos Espino
MISS CIUDAD DE MÉXICO
Miss Mexico City, Jessica Farjat, represents the feathered serpent, lord of the wind, Quetzalcóatl, the diety of wisdom, knowledge, and intelligence.
The costume is designed specifically for danza Azteca and consist of three main pieces: the loincloth, the pectoral piece or quexquemeletl, and the headdress or copilli quetzalli, which is adorned with pheasant, macaw, parrot and rooster feathers.
Miss Querétaro, Valeria Ruíz, wears traditional Otomí dress of indigo dyed wool and silk ribbons woven on a backstrap loom, as well as a quechquémitl and silk girdle made with the Ikat technique.
The Otomí are one of the earliest prehispanic civilizations, thought by some historians to be the very first people to inhabit the Valley of Mexico.
The Mezquital Otomí of Queretaro self-identy as Hñähñu.
Miss Coahuila, Georgina Vargas, personifies Xochiquétzal, meaning precious flower, the goddess of beauty, love, and art.
Her costume, made up of mutiple pieces all constructed by hand, took two months to put together and features seeds from Coahuila, precious gems, volcanic stones, and wooden beads, as well as the five skulls and plumes which traditionally characterize the Xochiquétzal's rainment.
Designed by Ruben Hernandez.
Photography: Suyu Producciones
Miss Durango, Carolina Thomas, is wearing a piece titled “Durango, Más allá del agua," "Durango, Beyond The Water."
Her top features Aztec figures and her loincloth is adorned with a maguey, while her train depicts a basket full of corn to honor the state's main economic activity: agriculture. The costume also features images of clay vases to represent the skill of the state's artisans, cotton buds to represent its fertile lands, and even a roll of film, as Durango is considered "the land of cinema."
Designed by Sergio Vargas Mata.
Photographer Carlos Arturo Catalán Guzmán/MUA Rosalinda Sahín
Miss Guerrero, Isabel Ruíz, wears a piece based on the Olinalá song "Guerrero es una cajita," "Guerrero is a little box."
According to the piece's description, "when that box is opened, the celebrations, customs, traditions, history, and cultural roots of Guerrero burst forth." The colorful embroidery represents the "cultural richness of Acatlán, our state of Guerrero."
Designed by Sol Peralta.
Photography Luis Gamboa/MUA Luis Enrique
Miss Yucatan, Ana Paulina Rivero, portrays Chac Chel, the Mayan goddess of birth, creation, and the birth of the world.
Each of the stylized costume's six pieces represent a different element of the Mayan culture.
The headdress symbolizes the Mayan people's closeness to the sky, the stars, and nature. The bustier represents the power and material wealth of the Mayan culture, while the neck piece symbolizes their wealth of knowledge, writing, and wisdom.
Designed by Gener Pereira.
Photography Armeck/MUA Freddy Ramirez
MISS VERACRUZ, Andrea Munguía, wears a piece title simply, "artisan woman."
Described as a "modern take" on the typical all white Jarocho dress of the region, the costume was inspired by the artisan women who manufacture Mexican embroidery and textile finishes.
The skirt is painted with representations of "the culture, traditions, and natural wealth" of Mexico and Veracruz.
Designed by José Román.
Photographer @grachiisalazar/MUA Elza Meza
Miss Sinaloa, Elizabeth Vidaña, wears a magnificent piece representing the desert deer, a creature whose "intelligence, beauty and magesty" have inspired countless legends.
The desert deer, whose natural habitat is the Sonoran desert, is the official animal of state - and is currently in danger of extinction.
Elizabeth's costume pays homage to the magestic animal while drawing attention to its endangered status.
Designed Esteban Ortiz. No deer were harmed in the construction of the costume.
Photographer Dave Tenorio/MUA Erich Lawrenz
Miss Sonora, Ayram Ortíz, wears "Sonoran Alebrije."
Her costume is a mashup of the fantastical alebrije creatures originated by Pedro Linares in the early 1900s and the prehispanic danza del venado, the dance of the deer.
La danza del venado is a ritual dance of the Maya and Yaqui. The dance portrays the hunting and killing of the white-tailed deer, which is considrered a deity in Maya and Yaqui culture, representing the qualities of harmony, truth, and beauty. In the past, those chosen to dance the part of the deer were prepared for the role since childhood, raised to be the ideal Yaqui or Mayan.
The dance continues to be performed with movements and music largely unchanged to this day. he dance of the deer is a hunting dance of the white-tailed deer, which is seen as a deity in the culture of these peoples, by the paskolas (hunters)
Designed by Fernando Caballero.
MISS BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR
Miss Baja California Sur, Diana Ramírez, wears a skirt emblazoned with la flor de pitahaya, the cactus flower native to the deserts of Baja California Sur.
According to the piece's description, the flower "blooms like hope" in the hot desert, "promising a juicy and refreshing fruit," the prickly pear.
Designed by Oswaldo Amsa.
Photographer Alejandro Rodriguéz/MUA LM Studio
Miss Hidalgo, Jaqueline Gómez, is wearing a piece also inspired by Quetzalcóatl, the Aztec feathered serpent.
The name Quetzalcóatl derives from quetzal, which in Nahuatl means bird with beautiful plummage, and coatl, meaning snake.
The vibrant, jewel-toned colors and reflective material of the bodice are remniscent of precious gems.
Designed by Juan Carlos Plant.
Photographer Carlos Rojas and Daniel Casco/MUA Andrea Galeazzi
Miss Puebla, Valerie Bartsch, wears a very stylized costume purportedly respresenting la "mixteca poblana."
According to the description, the costume was "inspired" by the typical dress of the Tecuanes of Acatlán de Osorio, the indigenous Mixtec people of Puebla.
The Mixtec are the third largest group of indigenous Mexican peoples. They call themselves the Ñuu Savi, "People of the Rain" and their homeland is la Mixteca, a region which occupies the western half of the Mexican state of Oaxaca parts of Guerrero and Puelba.
Many Mixtec people continue to be skilled artisans, producing beautifully woven textiles, pottery, baskets, hats, and other palm products. They are perhaps most famous for their heavily embroidered huipiles.
The hat for this piece was made by Chino Marquez. The piece was designed Valerie Bartsch, embroidered by Karla Aburto, and painted by Juan M. Caltenco.
MISS BAJA CALIFORNIA
Miss Baja California, Daniela Pedroza, is dressed as la “Diosa de vid”, the goddess of the vine, representing the vineyards and wines for which Baja California is well known. Designed by Leonel González.
Miss Morelos, Maria Fernanda Hutterer, wears a stylized version of the typical costume of the chinelos, traditional carnaval dancers who poke fun at Europeans.
The dance of the "chinelos" developed after the Spanish conquest when indigenous and Christian customs began to blend together. Indigenous people took the European custom of Carnival, with its traditions of masks, anonymity, role reversal, and behaviors that are not normally tolerated, and made it their own, creating a dance that mocked Europeans and their clothing, beards, fair skin and mannerisms.
The word "chinelos" is derived from the Nahuatl word "zineloquie" which means "disguised" and refers to the large masks worn by the dancers.
Costume, makeup, and photography all by Oscar Catañeda.
Miss Tabasco, Gildy Reyes, es una "Guerrera Jaguar," a Jaguar Warrior.
In the Mayan and Olmec cultures that flourished in the state of Tabasco, the jaguar was worshipped as a deity. Because of its ability to see at night, the Mayans believed that jaguars were able to move between worlds, beings of both stars and earth.
Warriors wore the skin of the jaguar in battle, to camouflage themselves and intimidate their attackers. Wearing the skin of the jaguar was a symbol of honor and denoted high status.
Designed by Carlos Alberto Madrigal.
MISS QUINTANA ROO
Miss Quintana Roo, Regina González, wears a piece titled "Káan Báalam, Xbáal Kanáant Lik: Serpiente-jaguar, Mujer protectora de vida," snake-jaguar, female protector of life.
This incredible piece represents the duality of the Mayan deities K'uk'ul Káan and Báalam. Káan, the serpent, represents the spring sun, the wind, the rain, regenerative powers and fertility, while Báalam, the jaguar, represents the night and stars, predators and ferocity. Together they represent creative and protective forces of women.
Designed and constructed by Samuel Castillejos.
Photographer Reginaldo Munoz
Miss Tlaxcala, Fedra Alpés, wears the typical, hand-embroidered costume of the carnaval de Yauhquemehcan, "the maximum expression of Tlaxcalteca traditions and culture, manifested in rhythmic dances representative of the center of the state."
The Tlaxcala were a fierce prehispanic culture who refused to be conquered by the Aztec empire.
Designed and built by H. Ayuntamiento, Yauhquemehcan, Tlaxcala.
MISS SAN LUIS POTOSI
Miss San Luis Potosi, Daniela Sánchez Acosta, is wearing the eagle and serpent of the flag and official seal of Mexico, which was designed by potosino Francisco Helguera.
The eagle represents the sun and Huitzilopochtli, god of war, while the serpent represent the earth and the goddess Coatlique. According to the legend, an eagle devouring a serpent was the sign that showed the Aztec people where to build their great city, Tenochtitlan. Designed by Isabella Rangel.
MISS NUEVO LEON
Miss Nuevo Leon, Evelyn Álvarez, wears an embroidered sombrero and reboso, typical and iconic elements of the Mexican wardrobe.
Titled "México en la Piel," the piece "is inspired by our coutnry; it crosses borders, hearts and imagination, capturing in detail the distinctive features of our nation."
The dress was hand painted by Laura Álvarez and constructed by Fernando Kolbeck.
Photographer Eduardo Lozano/MUA Adrián Muñiz and Miguel Infante
Miss Tamaulipas, Naila Navarro, wears a stylized version of the Cuera Tamaulipeca, the typical leatherwear of the region, adorned with embroidery and fringe, and often featuring the state seal on the back.
Made with calfskin or deer suede, the leatherwear was originally worn by indigenous people and then adopted by vaqueros. Over time, la cuera tamaulipeca has become part of the identity of Tamaulipas.
Designed by Susana Alejandra Alanís Villarreal.
Photographer Ernesto Garcia/MUA Fernando Gamboa
Miss Zacatecas, Karina Ramos, wears a piece titled Zacatecas Vive: “cuerpo de cantera, corazón de plata,” Zacatecas Lives: "body of a quarry, heart of silver."
The design represents Zacatecas' main economic activities, mining, agriculture, and tourism, and features stones and minerals extracted from the state's mines and quarries, as well as dry nopal and wild flowers representing the state's wildlife.