Michelle Fletcher is an ex-beauty queen who competed in lots of pageants growing up. Now, she's got her sons in on the action -- and one of them was only 2 weeks old in his first competition.
The TLC show, "Toddlers and Tiaras," follows moms and their children as they make their rounds in the pageant circuit. Though some believe beauty pageants are harmless, lots of moms question why some moms would put their young children through such rigorous competitions at such a young age. Michelle Fletcher, mom of Cameron (almost 8) and Cavin (now 6 weeks), sat down with momlogic to address our questions about the controversial practice.
ML: What prompted you to put your boys in pageants?
Michelle: I took Cameron to get his pictures done and he was being really fussy. As soon as the camera turned on, he was all smiles. He loved it. He started doing them and loved being onstage. He made lots of friends competing.
ML: Is he still competing?
Michelle: He isn't doing it that much anymore. He is concentrating on commercials and modeling. He was on the cover of a magazine. I knew he would be the one in movies or something, I always knew he would pursue that. But Cameron loved to win the crown. He was doing "The Hulk" move onstage -- I incorporated that.
ML: Doesn't it cost a lot?
Michelle: Local pageants cost $25-$55 per entry, and then you pay for categories they are competing in. Cameron had a sponsor in Las Vegas that would buy him his tuxedos, vests, etc.
ML: Isn't it a negative thing for a young kid? Competing in a beauty pageant?
Michelle: People don't understand, it's just like another sport. People are so hard on it. What they don't see is when the kids are onstage they wear makeup, and as soon as they're off, they are playing in the mud. What about parents that want their kids to be great gymnasts? They send them off at five years old. Parents in pageants are very involved. They encourage them. There aren't a whole lot of "pageant moms" because lots of the moms have already won their own crowns.
ML: So you put your 2-week-old in a pageant. Why?
Michelle: Well, it IS a little better to wait longer, but I decided if I found a tuxedo that small, that God had made the decision he would be in it. Sure enough, we were walking through a store, a baby resale store, and we came across a little baby tuxedo and it fit. He grew out of it the next day.
ML: But he was 2 weeks old. What about him getting sick around other kids?
Michelle: I'm breastfeeding, and he's hardly ever been sick. He did good, as well as I expected. Now he's smiling and flirting.
ML: Will you enter him in more pageants?
Michelle: I think I will enter him in more. He loves smiling and making faces. He likes the attention even just around the house.
ML: Did you want girls so you could enter them?
Michelle: We plan on trying for another baby, hopefully we'll have twin girls. There are so many cute dresses and outfits!
ML: Why is a pageant good for a kid?
Michelle: It builds confidence. They'll be able to do that book report in front of the class and go on that job interview.
ML: What about all the eating disorders and plastic surgery?
Michelle: You don't see it that much. I have heard of only a few cases. When you get to the higher pageants, you will get that more. Not the local ones.
ML: What would you say to your critics?
Michelle: Don't knock it 'til you try it. I still have my best friend I met when I was thirteen and competing. Losing is also an important quality to learn. We go out and celebrate if someone else wins. My son wants the crown, but if he doesn't win, he's still excited.