At a 2018 Sydney pageant . . ., travelling entrants were put up at the pageant sponsor’s private accommodation. There were cameras hidden in rooms without women’s consent . . .
Darwin-based photographer Jed Hansen, who was photographing the event and also staying at the accommodation, found the cameras.
He says he noticed “odd” wiring in his own and then other rooms. He traced the wires to locate six “ultra-wide angle” domed cameras hidden “strategically in furniture pieces”, and in locations including a chandelier and a light fixture.
At another 2019 competition in China, May “found out that all the girls that had actually won had gone into private rooms with the sponsors and taken their clothes off and had parties with them”.
She says some of the women shared with her that “things had happened, and that’s why they had won”.
“You’re working crazy hours in ridiculous conditions … you need to present and look like a doll from 5am till 2am and keep that perfect look the entire time,” she says.
“Every single tiny little thing that you do is being judged, watched, pulled apart and criticised.”
May says being referred to on stage by number, not name, “felt dehumanising”. She says she felt that pageant owners “basically own you”.