Siberian prison’s beauty pageant

By Maria Yatskova
This World, BBC Two

Women inmates in a Siberian prison take part in an annual beauty contest which offers inmates a chance to demonstrate good behaviour and win early parole.

Natalya Khapova, 26

Natalya Khapova, 26, wears a ball gown for the Miss Spring contest

In the middle of a small room, with dirty-white walls decorated with pictures of Jesus and an array of plastic plants, a young woman stands on a stool.

She wears a candy-pink, cotton ball gown. At her feet, three other women sew tiny flowers along the hem of her giant hoop skirt.

Her lips are painted bright red and light brown curls frame her face.

“A woman should always be beautiful,” says Natalya Khapova, 26, as she poses on her pedestal.

“Not just outside the fence. Even if she’s in here, she should show her beauty. A woman is everything gentle and wonderful – or she should be.”

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