NI 'Toddlers & Tiaras' event slammed

Published Thursday, 16 January 2014
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Hundreds of concerned people have joined a Facebook group in protest against a child beauty pageant planned for Belfast.

NI 'Toddlers & Tiaras' event slammed
Child pageant star Eden Wood will be appearing at the events. (© Getty)

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Do you agree with children taking part in beauty pageants?
Do you agree with children taking part in beauty pageants?


The organisers, Universal Royalty, based in America, announced on Tuesday they were welcoming competitors of all ages for their free international beauty pageants in Australia, Ireland, UK, Spain and Japan.

Focused on child competitors and the website describes the events as being for "babies, toddlers and teen(s)" - with thousands of dollars awarded to the winners.

Annette Hill founded Universal Royalty in 1995 and has featured on the infamous Toddlers & Tiaras reality TV show.

She has said the pageants are designed as a "positive learning experience for contestants to learn competition, positive self confidence and striving to be the very best".

It was reported that Ms Hill has organised the new dates to make up for last year, when a Dublin venue pulled out of hosting the event and it was moved last minute to Co Monaghan.

Although less than half of the expected participants attended, it still sparked outrage as it is understood a six-year-old girl competed in a bikini.

The series of planned events include one in Belfast to take place in September.

Cork and Dublin are also listed on the Irish dates, which are set to feature appearances from child pageant star Eden Wood, who featured on Toddlers & Tiaras.

However, on the same day the events were announced, a page was set up on Facebook for local people to express their opposition to the controversial competition.

Over 600 people have joined up to the page in just two days.

The page owner says they "will be taking a firm stand and will be aiming to make sure it does not come to our city".

Comments from worried users have said such events are "vile and abhorrent" and have called for them to be banned due to what they claim is "exploitation" of children.

In a statement to UTV, Ms Hill said she was "only interested in the hundreds of people that want me to come".

© UTV News
Comments Comments
21 Comments
Niall McA in Armagh wrote (247 days ago):
@Kevin in Omagh, well said, hit the nail on the head right there.
Peter in Belfast wrote (248 days ago):
It is wrong. Horrible. Kids are kids and should be playing not this. Thre pressure I read in enormous. They are way too young for that sort of pressure too. I do always feel when I read about this horrible event that it is more for the parents not for the kids. They are living their wasted dreams through their kids. So unfair on them. Go back to America and take this sham of an event back with you.
Michael Monaghan in Belfast wrote (249 days ago):
Live and let live ... If you dont agree with it stay away!
Anon in Co Down wrote (250 days ago):
I have to disagree in part with the comments re: Irish dancing. While the feis dancing now in my opinion is way over the top with the wigs, make up and dresses there is still the more traditional festival Irish dancing which is much nicer to watch and lets kids be kids with a healthy bit of competition. Wigs, Make up and all the other glitter just isn't permitted.
Frosty in Here wrote (250 days ago):
I've never seen it, is it anything like the Little Miss Northern Ireland competitions they used to hold back in the 70s? While I disagree with encouraging children to follow a celebrity lifestyle, I see no reason why parents shouldn't let their children take modelling jobs if it is paid employment. After all, someone has to pose for knitting patterns.
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SONIA BUTTERWORTH
In my experience, young children are highly skilled at turning a simple walk down the street into War and Peace.
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