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BUDAPEST (Reuters Life!) - Most beauty queens would go pale when asked about cosmetic surgery. But face lifts, breast implants or other "body work" are the requirements for contestants of the Miss Plastic Hungary pageant.
"Ever had plastic surgery to become beautiful? Are you proud of your body? Would you like to put yourself to the test?," says the website www.missplastichungary.hu which advertises the pageant, planned for October 9.
A Hungarian company is planning to stage the beauty contest, which it says is the first of its kind, for women who have had cosmetic surgery in a bid to do away with the stereotypes still attached to beauty operations in Hungary.
The contest is open to women aged 18-30 or above 30 in the "dame" category. More than 100 entrants have already signed up.
But a plain botox injection will not suffice.
"The entry requirement is a surgical procedure done under general or local anesthesia," said Reka Bodis, press director of the pageant.
"Unfortunately, people in Hungary are still rather negative about ladies who have had (cosmetic) surgery and there are also a lot of stereotypes going about," Bodis said. "We are not seeking to promote extremely large breasts and the like."
She said the idea first came up about 10 years ago, but back then the pageant could not take place for lack of what she called "sufficient material."
"In those days, there weren't that many beautiful girls who have had plastic surgery, but now we can almost say (the idea to have such a contest) is quite natural," Bodis said.
Affordable prices and the quality of service available at private clinics have recently made Hungary a popular destination for cosmetic surgery patients.
Medical tourism website Treatment Abroad, which caters to the needs of British clients, touts Hungary as offering "a range of excellent healthcare which visitors can take advantage of at a much lower price than in the UK."
It says a face or neck lift can cost around 5,000 sterling in Britain, whereas in Hungary it costs a mere 2,000 excluding flights and lodging.
While the Miss Plastic pageant is primarily aimed at Hungarian contestants, foreigners with a residence in Hungary may also apply.
"The whole thing is about harmony, that's what the contest seeks to emphasize," Bodis said.
"Let's not forget that there are ladies who have had new perspectives open up for them thanks to plastic surgery, who could get rid of their complexes with an operation and can now have a more complete life."
Reporting by Gergely Szakacs, editing by Paul Casciato