Brazil prison holds beauty pageant

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Female inmates pose in evening gowns during their jail's annual beauty contest at the Talavera Bruce penitentiary in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, early Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Women serving time at a prison in Rio de Janeiro have swapped their uniforms for gowns to take part in a beauty pageant.

After having their hair and makeup done, 10 inmates from the Talavera Bruce detention facility walked down a catwalk in heels and were judged on their beauty, appeal and attitude as the prison's other 440 inmates and relatives applauded.

Wednesday's event aims to improve the women's self-esteem and is an opportunity to unite with family members they seldom see.

"During this moment, I don't feel like I am in jail," said 28-year-old Michelle Rangel who is serving time for drug trafficking and was elected last year's pageant winner. "My soul is freed."