Toddlers and tiaras pageants

“Toddlers and Tiaras” Beauty Pageants: Are They Good For Our Children?

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IT might have become one of the most notorious documentaries in the annals of cable TV even if JonBenet Ramsey had not been murdered coincidentally five days after the film’s US TV premiere.

But the shocking one-hour film, “Painted Babies,” became inextricably linked with the JonBenet story when videotape surfaced of 5-year-old JonBenet cavorting in kid beauty pageants, which happened to be the very same subject covered in the documentary.

The JonBenet video aired thousands of times in the years since her unsolved murder; the documentary has also aired countless times, its eerie similarity to JonBenet’s pageant experience underscored by the close resemblance of one of the children in “Painted Babies” to the murdered child.

And now, the story of the original painted babies – Brooke Breedwell (the then-5-year-old who looked so much like JonBenet) and Asia Mansur – has been updated in a new documentary called “Painted Babies at 17.”

The new one premieres Sunday night at 9 on TLC, the same channel (then called The Learning Channel) where the original premiered on Dec. 21, 1996. JonBenet Ramsey’s lifeless body was discovered in the basement of her home in Boulder, Colo., just days later on Christmas, though no one has ever discovered a link between the airing of the show and the tragic girl’s murder.

In “Painted Babies at 17,” Brooke says she gave up pageants at age 7, but that information might be out of date since she reports on her personal Web site,, that she competed in Chattanooga, Tenn.’s Outstanding Teen Pageant, a stepping-stone to the Miss Tennessee Pageant, in 2006.

On the other hand, Asia, of Athens, Ga., never stopped competing. In the new “Painted Babies,” she’s seen participating in the Darling Dolls Beauty Pageant in 2007 in Dallas (in this particular pageant, like many others, girls in several age groups are eligible to compete).

The new, updated documentary revives all the imagery that made the original so shocking – the tiny tots made up like dolls dancing and singing in provocative costumes, while their fanatical parents and grandparents mercilessly rehearse the kids and spend thousands of dollars on wardrobes, travel and pageant lessons.

As if “Painted Babies at 17” isn’t shocking enough, TLC is pairing it with another documentary, “Toddlers & Tiaras” (10 p.m. Sunday). When you see two 5-year-olds getting spray-on tans before a competition, you’ll know you’re being taken to a place you’ve never been before.

Simply ‘Darling’ Dolls at Disney Parks

It was just a couple of months ago that Precious Moments doll maker Linda Rick was spotted at World of Disney Store in the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort. It was there that she debuted a new collection of dolls celebrating Cinderella, who appeared in a variety of fashions – as she transitioned from her humble beginnings, to her dramatic ball gown with the help of her fairy godmother, to a dream-come-true bridal gown for her own magical wedding to none other than Prince Charming.

So what else does Linda have up her sleeve to dazzle us with? What if I told you that this collection is considered simply ‘darling,’ that it’s no flash in the ‘pan’ or that you’ll be ‘hooked’ the minute you see it? Or what if I told you that it sparkles with pixie dust? If Peter Pan was among your guesses, then you’re right! Here’s a look at the new collection set to debut in just a few short weeks.

Linda is currently scheduled to appear at the Disneyana Shop in Disneyland park, April 6 – 8. For those of you hoping to catch up with Linda when she is at Heritage Manor in Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort, I have good news for you. You’ll have two chances to see her: Mar. 31 – Apr. 1 and again Apr. 13 – 15. Be sure to visit for details on appearance times, locations and, of course, to see some of the other dolls available in the Disney Precious Moments Doll Collection!

Is your little girl going to participate in one of the Pageant contests?!.. If so, have you known that the judges of this sort of contests are so picky concerning anything related to your little girl’s look!! So, your daughter has to look great from head to toe! So, let’s make a deal.. I’ll show you all the suitable and fancy hairstyles for the pageant contests and you’ll be responsible for the rest of your little girl’s look, okay?! First, allow me to clarify some things and then I’ll show you those hairstyles. The first thing that you should keep on your mind is that your little girl’s pageant hairstyle has to be glamorous, eye-catching, attractive and the most important thing is that it should be age-appropriate! The second thing is that whatever your little girl’s hair color or texture is, you’ll always find the suitable pageant hairstyle for her. Besides that, you don’t have to worry about the haircut, since there are various pageant hairstyles for all the haircuts from long to short. Now, let’s spin the work wheel and start!! One of the most suitable hairstyles for pageant contests is the Flowing hairstyles.. Flowing hairstyles are one of the classic and traditional hairstyles for pageant competitions. These hairstyles can be on the straight, curly or wavy form. All of them have very elegant and glamorous looks. Besides those flowing hairstyles, there’re also the side swept ponytail hairstyles. The side swept ponytails are one of the classic, glamorous and spectacular pageant hairstyles. Besides that, the side swept ponytail hairstyles are very simple and easy to maintain! Most of the times, those side swept ponytails are worn on the straight look, but you can curl or wave your little girl’s hair to add more glamour. Besides the swept side ponytail hairstyles, our little lady can wear any other style of the ponytail hairstyles. Besides the ponytails, your little girl can wear any style of the braids especially the French braid, Dutch braid and Fishtail braid hairstyles. Other elegant and glamorous pageant hairstyles for the little girls are the classic Updo hairstyles like; the buns, French twist, or double French twist hairstyles or even the Chignons! All of those last mentioned hairstyles are suitable for your little girl only if she has long, medium or quite short haircuts. What if she has a very short haircut?! It has a solution too, in that case your little lady can wear any of the following; the finger wavy, pin curls or slicked back hairstyles.. All of those hairstyles have very elegant and spectacular looks.. You can add more shine and glamour to your little girl’s pageant hairstyle by adding bangs and any of the hair accessories like; tiaras, jeweled headbands or any other suitable accessory.. I think by that way, I’ve made my part of the deal and the rest is left to you!.. Wish your little girl a nice and glamorous look on her Pageant contest! She may become the Queen of the party, who knows?!!

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Aug. 11, 2009— — The Texas State Beauty Pageant in Austin, Texas, is home to pint-size beauty queens with big attitudes and high style.

In Texas, “we like all the glamour, we like the rhinestones, we like the sequins, we like the big beautiful hair,” said Annette Hill, the owner of Universal Royalty, which runs the pageant.

“Everything’s gone to high fashion,” concurred pageant judge Kathy Petty. “The gaudier the better.”

At this year’s pageant, 50 girls and boys — even babies as young as 2 weeks old — were competing for a shot at the tiara and $2,000 in cash.

Winning is “very important,” said 9-year-old Brooke McClung, who added that when she doesn’t win she feels sad.

“I should have done better, I should have done better. I should have nailed it!”

Four-year-old Eden Wood, who is featured on TLC’s reality show “Toddler’s & Tiaras,” was considered the beauty to beat at this pageant. She’s been on the circuit most of her short life.

“I like the makeup, and I like hair spray,” she said. “Makeup makes me happy. I like being pretty on stage with my makeup on.”

Watch the story tonight on “Nightline” at 11:35 p.m. ET and Thursday on “Good Morning America” at 7 a.m. and to see more of Eden Wood’s pageant photos.

When ABC News visited Eden last month in her small Arkansas town, it was obvious she’d found her calling. The Wood’s home is full of hundreds of trophies and crowns.

When asked which one is her favorite, Eden pointed to one crown and said, “This one, because it’s so big.”

For Eden’s mother, Mickie Wood, a former beauty queen herself, pageants have become a full-time job. She said she’s committed to giving her child the best possible chance to shine.

But being the best doesn’t come cheap. It’s estimated that 250,000 children compete in more than 5,000 pageants in the United States each year, and pageant officials admit some families have gone into debt, even paying entry fees before paying the rent.

Wood said she can afford the $70,000 she’s spent on necessities for Eden, such as professional photos, spray tanning, coaching and $3,000 dresses.

“Is that excessive?” Wood said. “It probably is. But there’s no telling how much we have invested in my child’s future in every aspect, in all the lessons of the different things she’s involved in. We work and we have our money in the bank. … Why can’t I spend it on my child if that’s what I want to do?”

Before the pageant started, Hill said the two were “running neck and neck.”

“It’s a very hard competition, very stressful, and I think both contestants have their game faces on, but it’s going to be tough,” she said. “You’re looking at a beautiful baby doll, which is Eden, and you’re looking at Tarylin, which is a top-notch bubbly professional.”

That’s a lot of pressure for a 4-year-old like Eden, whom Mickie Wood calls her “little diva,” but she has a secret weapon for stressful situations.

Hand puppets that Eden plays with when she needs to be distracted “definitely help,” her mom said.

“It takes her mind off whatever, if she’s tired of sitting or not real focused.”

But even the puppets can’t prevent the tantrums that are normal for children her age.

“Just like any other 3- or 4- or 5-year-old little girl or little boy, they’re going to have tantrums,” Wood said. “They’re going to have bad days, and that has nothing to do with pageants. … are just being a human. … If you have a child you know that they have moments.”

The first day of the pageant was the talent portion, for which the children practice up to 15 hours a week. If you looked on the sidelines it was clear that the parents had done some practicing of their own, encouraging their children to smile and miming the words and movements of their routines.

“You just get so caught up in it,” Wood said. “I seem to get a little too much into it sometimes and don’t even realize I’m doing it. It’s to help them. You go to the ball games and the moms and dads will be in the stands going ‘Get ’em, get ’em, get ’em’… To me it’s no different than us coaching our girls.”

But judge Kathy Petty says sometimes the parents go too far.

“When your child’s on stage and they don’t perform the way they want you to, don’t spank them, hit them, things like that,” she said. “I have seen that in the past, where the parents start yelling at them, actually spanks them … and I don’t think that’s encouraging.”

Pageants Teach ‘Performance-Based Esteem’?

Day two of the pageant focused on the contestants’ bodies and their beauty as the children modeled swimsuits and formal wear.

It’s this portion of the contest that concerns many child psychologists the most. A 2007 study by the American Psychological Association contends that pageants teach young girls “to see themselves as objects to be looked at and evaluated for their appearance.”

The study linked a premature emphasis on appearance with “three of the most common mental health problems of girls and women: eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression.”

Family therapist Terry Real said that giving children “performance-based esteem” — teaching them that their self worth comes from their talents or beauty — is dangerous.

“What you want to teach your kid is you have worth because of who you are, period,” he said.

Pageant owner Annette Hill calls the study “ridiculous” and says it’s up to the parents to keep things positive.

“When they do studies like that they need to go to a pageant system and look at the kids and evaluate,” she said. “I don’t see any unhappy kids here.”

Hill believes America’s backlash against pageants all began with the precocious images of JonBenet Ramsey parading across the stage in 1996. The 6-year-old beauty pageant queen was found dead in the basement of her parent’s home. Her murder has never been solved.

“We love beauty pageants, and we’re not going to stop doing them,” she said. “Parents enjoy showcasing their kids, and what is wrong with that? What is wrong with showcasing to the world, here is my beautiful daughter or my beautiful son? As long as you keep it in a positive aspect, I don’t think anything is wrong with that.”

Mickie Wood also dismissed the study’s findings that linked a premature emphasis on beauty to eating disorders, depression and low self-esteem in the future.

“It’s playing dress up,” she said. “It’s an expensive dress up game. We put so much more emphasis on her being Eden and excelling at everything she does.”

She said that it’s possible for pageants to overemphasize beauty “if you don’t balance out with a normal life” but said that it’s only a small part of her own family’s life.

Who Will Take the Tiara?

Wood doesn’t think all the tanning and makeup and products will make Eden vain, just confident.

“If that was all we did and we were constantly in the mirror primping, if she was overzealous about her appearance, but I don’t see that and if I ever did see that I would put a stop to it,” she said. “I want her to be well rounded and balanced. It’s just not all about beauty.”

But TLC cameras did catch Mickie Wood backstage at a pageant telling her daughter, “We have to be perfect!” — a sound bite she says she regrets.

“I just wanted her to be put together well and look her best,” she said. “I’ve never said, ‘Eden you have to look perfect’ in the context of you have to look like a perfect child.'”

And those showgirl outfits?

“She’s covered everywhere,” Wood said. “When I think of a showgirl I think of a beautiful glamorous woman. It’s a gorgeous glamorous costume. It’s old Hollywood … not sexualizing my child.”

Woods does admit that showcasing Eden is the ultimate high, because seeing “the joy and the sparkle that comes over her when she steps on stage … brings back that spark to me.”

But in the end, she says Eden is still just a normal kid.

“We live in the country, we go to birthday parties, she drives a tractor, she has a four-wheeler … my child is not missing out on friends on playing on school. I’m teaching her values that have nothing to do with pageants.”

On the final night of the Austin pageant Eden and Tarilyn were still neck in neck. The judges said Eden was tired and off her game, but Tarilyn had lost points for being too spray tanned.

“One day the judges say we’re not tanned enough … then we’re too tanned,” sighed Tarilyn’s mother. “You just never know what’s going to work on any given day.”

But too tanned or not, Tarilyn came out on top.

“We’re disappointed,” Mickie Wood said. “We wouldn’t be normal if we weren’t. She did her best and onto the next.”

For the Woods the pageant is just one of 25 they’ll be competing in this year, and in a world where bigger is better, they have their eye on the biggest prize of all. They hope that their toddler in a tiara will grow up to be Miss America.

Looking for baby names fit for a pageant princess? You can’t beat names plucked from reality TV’s notorious Toddlers & Tiaras. Find baby girl names fit for a little superstar.

Is reality TV one of your guilty pleasures? It doesn’t get much more riveting than the drama and can’t-look-away antics of Toddlers & Tiaras.

This controversial pageant reality series has been at the center of many debates. Stepping away from the controversy, we took at look at the baby girl names featured on the show.

Baby girl names from Toddlers & Tiaras

Here are some of the names of various contestants that have appeared on the pageant stage on TLC’s popular series, Toddlers & Tiaras. These are a mix of unique names and traditional names. Regardless of your tastes, you’ll find something you like on this varied list of baby names from Toddlers & Tiaras.

  • Addison
  • Alaska
  • Allie
  • Aubrey
  • Bayleigh
  • Berkeley
  • Brenna
  • Cassidy
  • Chelsea
  • Daylee
  • Destiny
  • Eden
  • Elexis
  • Essence
  • Haley
  • Hope
  • Jordyn
  • Karmen
  • Kayleigh
  • Kennedy
  • Madison
  • Meadow
  • Meaghan
  • Paige
  • Rebecca
  • Roni
  • Savannah
  • Sienna
  • Skylar
  • Story
  • Trinity

See the hottest new baby girl names of 2013 >>

Baby names from Here Comes Honey Boo Boo

When Toddlers & Tiaras featured young Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson, audiences were captivated by her personality and her larger-than-life family. Here are baby names from the Toddlers & Tiaras spinoff Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

  • Alana
  • Anna
  • Jessica
  • June
  • Kaitlyn
  • Lauryn

Baby girl names from Toddlers & Tiaras moms

Every pageant girl has a stage mom backing her up. If the names of the youngest contestants aren’t your cup of tea, check out the names of mothers who have been featured on Toddlers & Tiaras. You may find a winner from these traditional and surprisingly unique names for baby girls.

  • Alicia
  • Ca’Trina
  • Kayla
  • Stacey
  • Tanya
  • Wendy

Name your baby after a real princess >>

Pageant-inspired baby names

If you’re looking for a name inspired by the glitz and sparkle of beauty pageants, you don’t need to lift a name directly from Toddlers & Tiaras. Think about traditional, Southern names, unique spellings and double names when you’re searching for a glam girl name for your baby. Many competitors have unique names that seem to reflect their big personalities. If you’re looking for a baby name that makes an impact, try to embrace the style of common pageant contestant names.

Image: Eden Wood from Toddlers & Tiaras – Credit: TNYF/

Click the banner to check out our database of over 30,000 baby names >>

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