A beauty pageant or beauty contest is a competition that has traditionally focused on judging and ranking the physical attributes of the contestants, although most contests have evolved to also incorporate personality traits, intelligence, talent, and a contestant's ability to answer judges' questions on various subjects as judged criteria. The most prestigious beauty pageants are referred to as the "Big Four" : Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss International, and Miss Earth.
The organizers of each pageant may determine the rules of the competition, including the age range of contestants. The rules may also require the contestants to be unmarried, and be "virtuous", "amateur", and available for promotions, besides other criteria. It may also set the clothing standards in which contestants will be judged, including the type of swimsuit.
Beauty pageants are generally multi-tiered, with local competitions feeding into the larger competitions. A winner of a beauty contest is often called a beauty queen and prizes include titles, tiaras, crowns, sashes, scepters, savings bonds, scholarships, and prize money. Some pageants award college scholarships, to the winner or multiple runners-up.