This is an actual quote from Toddlers & Tiaras of a mother regarding her daughter’s participation in a child beauty pageant, also known as “glitz pageants” in the world of Little Miss Sunshine lingo. Last year on TLC a documentary of the same name featured mothers, and sometimes the fathers, of little girls who were preparing for yet another long line of pageants they must endure for their mother’s fantasies or broken dreams of never winning the Miss America crown. As a result of the highly popular documentary TLC decided to turn it into a regular reality TV series. It airs on Tuesday nights at 10/9c and there is a rebroadcast on Saturdays at 6/5c. I have viewed a few episodes, and based on that alone, it tends to follow the same ol’, same ol’ routine week in and week out. Only the people and places are different.
Each episode focuses on several girls from different ages, socio-economic backgrounds, and attitudes regarding the pageant that is forthcoming. What I have immediately noticed while watching this sometimes hideous display of kiddie pageants run amok of a TV show are the two very distinct camps of mothers that seem to dominate every pageant spectacle they attend. These are as follows: 1.) Mothers who are very attractive, slim, with immaculate appearances, and obviously live in upscale neighborhoods. They are oftentimes former beauty contestants or finalists themselves in either the local, state, or national beauty pageant levels. A good case in point would be the late Jon Benet Ramsey whose mother was Miss West Virginia in the Miss America pageant.
2.) This next group tends to be focused a little bit more and are truly the saddest ones to watch of all. These are the mothers who are extremely overweight, unattractive, have very low self-esteem themselves, and tend to come from the middle to lower income stratum. Not all but some are single mothers who have no other income source. More than likely they never had a chance with any kind of pageants from their past for a number of reasons: money, looks, talent, academic achievements, or parental support. They see their child as living out dreams they couldn’t fulfill themselves.
Out of these types of mothers comes their particular pageant strategy on what they need to do to win. This is where it gets interesting as well as sometimes shocking. Again, there are two categories that are key to winning Little Miss Shining Brightly, or whatever name is chosen, natural and glitz. Natural is rather self-explanatory in that make-up is little to non-existent; no wigs, hairpieces, extensions, etc. are used, and its their inner beauty that counts. A prime example of this was the character of Olive in the film “Little Miss Sunshine”. She represented what a natural contestant is truly all about. On the other extreme are the notorious “glitz” girls, who were showcased with an “in your face” slap to Olive in “Little Miss Sunshine”. Their mothers literally go out and do whatever it takes. It is not uncommon for gowns to range in price in the thousands of dollars. Sadly, but truthfully, these girls wear wigs, hairpieces, and hair extensions. Also, the ones who still have baby teeth or are missing teeth wear “flippers”, false teeth for kids. I kid you not.
The make-up they must endure would look hideous on an adult much less a child. There are even false eyelashes, French tip manicures and pedicures, hair dyes, and the big ta-da…….spray tanning. Some of the mothers hire coaches for their daughters to practice walking the runway or doing necessary turns and poses for the judges. Stylists are part of an entourage too for the ones who can afford their services. All this work goes into a measly pageant where they may win the coveted tiara or walk away with a trophy or complimentary sash that proves they were in a pageant but didn’t place or win. It’s what I call the obligatory prize. If cash is involved it more than likely pays back their exorbitant entry fee if they are so lucky.
Earlier I mentioned the mother of a contestant who was quoted as saying she would never spray tan her child. I thought “good for her” I greatly admired and respected the mothers who wanted their daughters to be natural. As it turned out this mother then confessed shortly afterwards she ended up spray tanning her child for pageants after all. Well……so much for sticking to your principles.