AP PHOTOS: Female prisoners in Rio compete in beauty contest

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — After hours of putting on makeup and getting their dresses just right, female prisoners paraded in front of group of judges Tuesday.

At stake? The crown of Miss Talavera Bruce, an annual beauty pageant named after the women's prison in western Rio.

For the prisoners, the contest is a time to enjoy dressing up, temporarily forget life behind bars and enjoy visiting family, who are allowed to come.

Raquel Rodrigues, a 28-year-old convicted of drug trafficking and robbery, said she was thrilled to see her 5-year-old daughter.

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Female prisoners in Rio compete in beauty contest
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Female prisoners in Rio compete in beauty contest
Gowns and shoes are laid out for female inmates who are competing in the 13th annual Miss Talavera Bruce beauty pageant, the namesake of the female prison in western Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. For a day, about a dozen women serving time at the penitentiary swap their uniforms for gowns. The clothes the contestants compete in are on loan from a local business. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
An inmate has her hair washed as she prepares to compete in the 13th annual Miss Talavera Bruce beauty pageant at the penitentiary the pageant is named for, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. Hairdressers and makeup artists volunteer their time to ready the contestants who are judged on their beauty, appeal and attitude. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
Miss Talavera Bruce 2017 Mayana Rosa Alves waits to participate in the 13th annual beauty contest at the Talavera Bruce penitentiary in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. Jail authorities say they organize the contests to encourage self-esteem, fight idleness and promote integration among women prisoners. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
An inmate holds her daughter during the 13th annual Miss Talavera Bruce beauty pageant at the penitentiary the pageant is named for, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. The event aims to improve the women’s self-esteem and is an opportunity to unite with family members they seldom see. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
An inmate, with a tattoo that reads in Portuguese, "I embrace you, to embrace what I lack," waits to compete in the 13th annual Miss Talavera Bruce beauty pageant at the penitentiary the pageant is named for, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. A group of women serving time at a prison in Rio de Janeiro swapped their uniforms for gowns on Tuesday to compete in the beauty pageant. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
Inmates walk past prison guards as they head for the stage to compete in the 13th annual Miss Talavera Bruce beauty pageant at the penitentiary the pageant is named for, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. For the prisoners, the annual contest is a time to enjoy dressing up, temporarily forget life behind bars and enjoy visiting family, who are allowed to come. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
An inmate sits with her tattooed fingers crossed resting on her knee as she waits to have her hair styled, before the start of the 13th annual Miss Talavera Bruce beauty pageant at the penitentiary the pageant is named for, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. Hairdressers and makeup artists volunteer their time to ready the contestants who are judged on their beauty, appeal and attitude. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
An inmate with a scorpion tattooed on her thigh waits to have her hair styled, before the start of the 13th annual Miss Talavera Bruce beauty pageant at the penitentiary the pageant is named for, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. Hairdressers and makeup artists volunteer their time to ready the contestants who are judged on their beauty, appeal and attitude. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
Inmates compete in the 13th annual Miss Talavera Bruce beauty pageant at the penitentiary the pageant is named for, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. For the prisoners, the annual contest is a time to enjoy dressing up, temporarily forget life behind bars and enjoy visiting family, who are allowed to come. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
Inmate Mariana Santos da Silva embraces her sisters during the annual beauty contest at the Talavera Bruce penitentiary in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. For the prisoners, the contest is a time to enjoy dressing up, temporarily forget life behind bars and enjoy visiting family, who are allowed to come. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
Inmate Veronica Verone, 25, left, smiles after she was crowned Miss Talavera Bruce 2018, at the penitentiary the beauty pageant is named for, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. Authorities say they organize the pageant, which attracts a lot of local media attention, to help the prisoners with their self-esteem and promote integration between them. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
Inmates wait to have their hair styled and make up done to compete in the 13th annual Miss Talavera Bruce beauty pageant at the penitentiary the pageant is named for, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. Hairdressers and makeup artists volunteer their time to ready the contestants who are judged on their beauty, appeal and attitude. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
Miss Talavera Bruce 2017, Mayana Rosa Alves, right, takes a cigarette break with two contestants before the start of the 13th annual Miss Talavera Bruce beauty pageant at the penitentiary the pageant is named for, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. Prison authorities say they organize the annual beauty contest to encourage self-esteem, fight idleness and promote integration among the female inmates. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
A hairstylist blow drys the hair of an inmate in preparation for the 13th annual Miss Talavera Bruce beauty pageant at the penitentiary the pageant is named for, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. Hairdressers and makeup artists volunteer their time to ready the contestants who are judged on their beauty, appeal and attitude. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
An inmate has her hair styled to compete in the 13th annual Miss Talavera Bruce beauty pageant at the penitentiary the pageant is named for, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. Hairdressers and makeup artists volunteer their time to ready the contestants who are judged on their beauty, appeal and attitude. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
Miss Talavera Bruce 2017, Mayana Rosa Alves lifts her strapless gown as she waits to take part in the 13th annual Miss Talavera Bruce beauty pageant at the penitentiary the pageant is named for, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. Female prisoners paraded in front of a group of judges and their relatives on Tuesday, competing for bragging rights to be crowned the next Miss Talavera Bruce. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
Inmate Veronica Verone, 25, sports a floppy hat as prepares to compete in the 13th annual Miss Talavera Bruce beauty pageant at the penitentiary the pageant is named for, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. Prison authorities say they organize the annual beauty contest to encourage self-esteem, fight idleness and promote integration among the female inmates. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
An inmate looks into a mirror as she prepares to compete in the 13th annual Miss Talavera Bruce beauty pageant at the penitentiary the pageant is named for, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. The event aims to improve the women’s self-esteem and is an opportunity to unite with family members they seldom see. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
Inmate Mariana Santos da Silva, 23, who is serving time prepares to compete at the annual beauty contest at Talavera Bruce penitentiary in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. The clothes the contestants compete in are on loan from a local business. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
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"When I was imprisoned, my daughter was only 9 months old," she said.

Prisons in Latin America's largest nation are notoriously overcrowded and often lack basic sanitation. On Tuesday, a strong sewage smell was present.

Authorities say they organize the pageant, which attracts a lot of local media attention, to help the prisoners with their self-esteem and promote integration between them.

"Bringing activities here is a way to re-socialize (the women), to make them think about change," said Ana Cristina Faulharber, coordinator of female and LGBT prisons in Rio de Janeiro.

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