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What lengths do beauty contestants go to in Venezuela?

5 February 2014 Last updated at 00:03 GMT

Venezuelan teenager Meyer takes desperate measures in a bid to win the country's most vaunted beauty pageant.

As she sits down to dinner she reveals a plastic mesh which has been sewn onto her tongue. It makes it painful to eat solids, forcing her to stick to soup and keeping her weight down.

Meyer's family runs a convenience store in the Santa Cruz barrio in Caracas and raised £7,000 to pay for cosmetic surgery to improve her chances of winning.

In the first episode of a three-part series about beauty, sex and money in South America, Billie JD Porter also hit the gym in a bid to get the "perfect body shape" as required by the Miss Venezuela contest.

Watch Extreme Beauty Queens: Secrets Of South America on BBC Three at 21:00 GMT on Wednesday 5 February or catch it later on the BBC iPlayer.

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