Who needs lingerie and Victoria's Secret wings anyway?

The Miss Universe pageant is bringing sexy back and flirting with controversy, inviting its 2010 contestants to pose for their official photos in nothing but body paint, Playboy Mansion-party style.

Some of the contestants, including bold Miss USA Rima Fakih, stripped off their tops and posed with their backs to the camera in just bikini bottoms and tattoo-style body art.

The pics make the racy lingerie shots that Miss USA contestants posed for earlier this year look tame, which seems to be the point for mogul Donald Trump's Miss Universe organization, which will host this year's pageant live from Las Vegas Aug. 23 on NBC.

A pageant rep claimed the pictures were a form of personal, artistic expression and demonstrate that the 80-plus international contestants are the "full package."

Uh huh.

"I believe you can be sexy, smart, and edgy and don't think that these things are mutually exclusive," Lark-Marie Anton, the pageant's vice president of public relations, told ABC News.

Fakih called the Sin City poses for photographer Fadil Barisha "beauty in the way of art and class." The 24-year-old Michigan stunner and former pole-dancing contest winner told Access Hollywood: "I love it. Oh my God. I've always wanted to do body paint, and the fact that we get to do it with Miss Universe, that just shows you that there's going to be a lot of professional artists."

Other contestants, including Miss Albania, Anxhela Martini, Miss Ireland, Rozanna Purcell, and Miss Trinidad and Tobago, LaToya Woods, joined Fakih in leaving little to the imagination. In fact, Woods posed with her painted chest bared, from the front and side.

Miss Universe officials defended the pics but stressed that the semi-nude poses were optional, which Fakih confirmed. "We were all asked what we feel comfortable with, and I told them I feel comfortable with beauty and being unique," she told Access Hollywood.

Fakih conceded "there might be a lot of controversy" about the pics, explaining that's why she was only comfortable posing with her back exposed.

Meanwhile a Fox News report questioned if the pageant had sunk to a "new low" with the pics and quoted a former pageant professional who objected to the burlesque display.

"It's alarming that this has been turned into a Playboy-esque masquerade," Angie Meyer, who has worked closely with MIss USA contestants and pageant officials in the past, told the network.

"By implementing topless photos as part of the pageant process, they're putting applicants in an extremely compromising position."

Speaking of Miss Universe controversies, check out Miss Australia's national costume.