She's spent 30 grand on her daughter's beauty treatments, tanning beds, and pole-dancing lessons -- and she's proud of it.
Ashley Hughes works overtime to make sure her 15-year-old daughter Emma's needs are met, working five different cleaning jobs to help Emma achieve her dreams of becoming a model and a "star."
Ashley has already spent $30,000 on Emma's salon treatments and is setting money aside for a breast enlargement surgery for Emma's 18th birthday. She's allowed her daughter to get salon highlights since she was 10, even though she had to sign a waiver because Emma was so young. Beauty treatments like these are costly, but that doesn't stop mom from working to raise extra money for $15,000 tooth veneers to brighten Emma's smile. She also pays for weekly pole-dancing lessons. (Yes, pole-dancing lessons.)
How on earth did this happen?
Emma says her obsession with her looks began at 8 years old when she would gaze at magazine ads and tell her mother she wanted to be blonde to "look like a Barbie doll." When she was 13, Emma began to idolize British model Jordan. "Jordan's my idol,' Emma says. "I'm already planning a boob job so they look more like Jordan's, despite the fact that I'm already a 34F."
Jordan (of E!'s Katie + Peter fame) is notorious for her plastic surgery (most notably her breast enhancement to size 30G). However, she now says she regrets her surgery and has even gotten a breast reduction -- but that doesn't deter Emma's goal. She's determined to maintain her extreme beauty regime, and hopes to sign with a modeling agency next year.
"Now I hold down as many jobs as I can to ensure she'll have all the beauty treatments and cosmetic surgery she needs to achieve her dream," Ashley says.
When her then 13-year-old daughter wasn't old enough to visit tanning salons, Ashley rented a home tanning bed for Emma to bake in daily, to keep her glowing year round. Two years later, Ashley still tans daily. "I usually tan for ten minutes in the morning and the same after school," Emma says. "I'm not worried about the health warnings. I feel great having a tan. I try to remember to use sunscreen but I tan faster without."
Emma's mother isn't the least bit worried about the health risks, either. "I'm not worried about this tanorexia nonsense, or skin cancer from sun beds," she insists. "It hasn't affected her health. It's making her confident and beautiful. All the treatments will give her the edge. They're going to help her be a star."
Is Emma's mother supporting her dream -- or screwing her up?
"When parents instill superficial values in their children, often times they are trying to compensate for their own feelings of inadequacy," says Jane Greer, Ph.D., a family therapist in New York City. "They may feel if their child is beautiful, it is a direct reflection on them."
"Every teen feels pressure to be pretty and popular, but when a mother validates that pressure, the child won't have a fighting chance to form confidence and individuality," she says.
Would you ever allow -- and pay for -- your teen to have extreme beauty treatments?
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