Sunday, August 1, 2010

Baby Beauty Queens: Kids' Beauty Pageants Hit Britain

I didn't realize that kids' beauty pageants as we know them are a strictly American phenomenon. That's why I was taken by surprise when I heard about the upcoming show Baby Beauty Queens, which will air on BBC on Sunday, August 8th, 2010 at 10 PM. In this BBC show, we will follow girls and their moms as they prepare for the Mini Miss UK beauty pageant. This is Britain's first American style children's beauty pageant.

This one-time special is part of a BBC series of documentaries, featuring real stories that affect modern day Britain. While we can't access all of the shows online in the US, at least we can access Baby Beauty Queens, which is sure to shock us in the same way that Toddlers and Tiaras and Little Miss Perfect shock us.

I enjoy the fact that BBC's Baby Beauty Queens, directed by Alisa Pomeroy, will delve into the lives of the featured beauty pageant contestants. One family participated in the pageant because God told them it was their daughter's path in life. (I tend to be disturbed when God tells people to turn their little children into scantily clad adult look alikes, but whatever.) Madison, the daughter in question, has been compared to American looking girls, with her mom stating, "I've been told Madison has the face of a doll – the American look." I find this fascinating because Madison's mom enrolled her in an American style pageant because her American looks will help her win. This shows that even though the pageant is British, the pageant style and competition are all-American.

Madison and her family are born-again Christians who follow beliefs that remind me a lot of The Secret. They have belief boards, which they must read daily. The belief boards will instill goals in their minds, and as such, they will achieve them. I have to admit, Madison is pretty, and her family does seem upstanding, but I do have some trouble wrapping my mind around the God and beauty pageant correlation.

Tyla, a nine year old contestant, scares me a little. She's not yet a tween, and she already wants a boyfriend and is in a long distance relationship with a boy she met on vacation in South Africa. First, I don't think you should be dating before your age hits double digits, and second, what? How exactly does one maintain a cross-continental long distance relationship at nine years old? We learn that Tyla had plastic surgery at seven years old because her ears stuck out. She also wears contact lenses, because 'glasses aren't acceptable when image is everything.' Her mom constantly reminds us that beauty is important, and notes that she was appalled because when Tyla was young, she believed that she'd had an ugly baby.

Sophie, a thirteen year old, emerged as the Mini Miss UK beauty pageant winner. After her win, the viciousness of the American pageant circuit kicked in across the pond. Other contestants and their moms refused to speak to Sophie, girls deleted her from their Facebook friends, and she was generally treated badly. I hope Sophie rises above this and achieves her goals, since her goals include acting, singing and doing charity work.

The names were pretty standard in this pageant, at least for the featured contestants. There were two girls with the name Chloe, a Sophie and a Madison. The only names I didn't love were Leah-Brooklyn, as it sounds very complex, and Tyla, which reminds me of a confusing hybrid of Tyler and Kyla.

While it isn't discussed, you can see in the documentary that there is also a pageant competition for little boys. Maybe boy beauty pageants will become a staple in the upcoming UK pageant scene.

At this site, you can watch the whole Baby Beauty Queens documentary online.

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