A Pageant With a Purpose

CHRIS KIRCHHOFF FOR TIME

WINNER: Leshomo, right, in the traditional dress event

It's not easy being a beauty queen. Neo Chitombo, 29, has spent the day before her second-ever pageant honing a dance routine with other contestants, talking to pesky reporters, trying on her evening dress and shoes, and worrying about what jewelry will best accessorize the outfit. And now, just over 24 hours before she is to appear on stage, she and her fellow contestants learn that the promised rehearsal room is not available. Worse still, the pageant organizer admits that the official hair stylist may not be able to fit everyone in. Chitombo rolls her eyes and makes a snap decision:...

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