Beauty pageants are competitions which judge and rank contestants based on their physical appearance. Some competitions also incorporate talent, intelligence and even questions from judges. Pageants can be extremely competitive and sometimes even receive negative criticism.
Kids’ beauty pageants in particular often receive the most criticism. Many people feel that the way kids are dressed and the amount of makeup they wear is inappropriate, while others say that parents even sexually exploit their children in the name of winning beauty pageants. With reality TV shows like Toddlers and Tiaras gaining popularity in popular culture, kids’ beauty pageants are gaining attention and even increasing in size and scope, and the results aren’t pretty.
Here are 10 moments from kids’ beauty pageants that will make you cringe.
1. Paisley Scott Dickey is a 3-year-old girl who competed in a beauty pageant dressed up as Julia Robert’s character in Pretty Woman.
Paisley’s mother dressed her in thigh high boots, a crop top, mini skirt, and a wig. Parents around the world were outraged, but Paisley’s mother defended her use of the outfit, explaining that outfits like swimsuits are much more revealing.
2. Toddlers and Tiaras viewers were shocked when 4-year-old Destiny appeared on stage dressed as Sandy from Grease.
Not only was Destiny fully clad in a black leather outfit, but her costume also included a cigarette which she pretended to smoke. Destiny lost a few points for the inappropriate prop but still won personality supreme in the contest.
3. 4-year-old Maddy Jackson sparked controversy in the pageant world when she appeared on stage as Dolly Parton, complete with a fake chest.
After Maddy’s father Bill Verse accused his ex wife Lindsay Jackson of sexually exploiting Maddy, the little girl was banned from competing in any future pageants. The divorced couple went through a custody battle, and when Lindsay won custody of Maddy the ban was lifted.
4. Mia Grande was only 2 years old when she appeared on stage dressed as Madonna.
She wore the infamous gold cone bra that Madonna wore on her blonde ambition tour in 1990, and many parents were outraged.
5. Alana Thompson, AKA Honey Boo Boo, has received a lot of criticism from people all over the world for her mother’s antics and actions during beauty pageants.
On the show, Alana’s mother would give her “go-go juice,” which is Mountain Dew mixed with Red Bull. In addition to go-go juice, Alana would also eat 15 bags of Pixy Stix candy powder, which her mother said gave her “energy.”
6. As soon as Bobbi Boyden learned how to walk, she started to compete in beauty pageants.
At just 19 months old, Bobbi performed on stage to Beyonce’s Single Ladies, dressed in a leotard and wig. The performance showed Bobbi blowing kisses, tapping her behind and shaking her hips.
7. Believe it or not, some parents even go so far as to wax their children for beauty pageants. That’s what happened to Toddlers and Tiaras star Alexis Jane Todd.
Alexis’ mom had to bribe her daughter with candy to wax her eyebrows after a particularly traumatizing experience that left Alexis crying at the mere thought of a wax.
8. Sami Bushell goes the full nine yards when she prepares her daughter Hallie Mai for her pageants.
Hallie wears blush, foundation, lip gloss, fake nails, a fake tan and a wig when competing. Her outfits are also known to be extremely revealing and over the top.
9. Toddlers and Tiaras mom Lori has her own method of making her kids stand out, and it’s not exactly humane.
Lori applies bleach to her kids’ teeth every week to whiten their smiles. Believe it or not, her children are only five and eight years old.
10. Kerry Campbell made headlines all over the world when she appeared on Good Morning America claiming that she gave her daughter Botox injections for her beauty pageants.
Child protective services were called, and they took Kerry’s daughter away from her. Later, the controversy only grew when the woman revealed that the whole story was a lie, claiming that she had been paid by a newspaper to make up the story and play the role of a woman named Kerry Campbell. Kerry’s real name is Sheena Upton.