The question I set out to answer is this: “Are the people at pageants in real life as crazy as they are on TV?”
Depends on which TV you’re talking about.
1. I watched about 1/3 of an episode of “Toddlers and Tiaras.” It made me a little bit sick inside. So with that as a measure, no.
2. Little Miss Sunshine? I’m going to say that that movie was pretty accurate.
This image is the group of contestants aged five to six, both glitz and natural. In case you’re a pageant neophyte (like me), natural means no makeup and a subdued hairdo. Glitz means tons of make up and as many sequins as possible, plus hair that is so well sprayed it appears to be shellacked. Some of the very small children appeared to be wearing well-matched wigs & hair extensions, too.
The place felt a little like a baby factory. There were so many very young women with multiple children. A lot of women appeared to have recently given birth, or to have one on the way.
It wasn’t a big pageant. There were 37 contestants all told, I think. More on those later.
I was rooting for the sweet girl with downs syndrome and fake nails.
We did meet some sane, reasonable people. In fact, we were lucky to sit next to them. They allowed me to suspend my disbelief and judgement in really helpful ways.
I sense that this pageant was a pretty good cross section of pageant-goers. The contestants ran the gamut from the haphazard, wrinkled, trailer park kids (and their moms) to the pristine, well-trained, tap-dancing variety. Except that it’s now break dancing, and when I say well-trained, I do not mean housebroken.
Forthcoming posts: Contestant #35 and her zany family
Soulless Sabrina’s Dancin’ Grandma (featuring the videography of Judy Stumpf)
The 30 and Up Category
I Sold My Soul for a CD of Photographs
Is it a Racket?
I have not yet completed my research on the cost of the pageantry. But we were told that it was $300 to enter the pageant, but not for any of the additional categories. The cost of flippers (fake teeth), hairdos, makeup, gowns, other gowns, dance training, etc, commits the pageant hobbyist to thousands of dollars annually.
Here’s a picture of some of the merchandise that was available:
In digging into the website of the pageant we just attended, I learned that they provide a devotional. I wonder if the church thing and the pageant thing go hand-in-hand? I wonder if it’s just about guilt.