Whether or not children should participate in beauty pageants has become a hotly-debated topic since the introduction of reality shows such as TLC's "Toddlers & Tiaras." While there may be some negatives, many beauty pageant activities help children express themselves creatively, overcome shyness and develop talents and a sense of pride and accomplishment.
In the sportswear category, contestants are required to wear casual, everyday clothing. Some pageants have specific requirements for what should be worn during the sportswear competition, while others allow parents and children to express creativity in choosing an outfit. Instead of dictating a specific outfit, a pageant may designate a sportswear pageant as "glitz" or "off-the-rack." A glitz competition requires fashionable and flashy sportswear outfits heavily embellished with rhinestones, sequins, glitter or ribbon; while an off-the-rack competition designates casual clothing purchased from a store with little or no embellishment.
An evening wear competition requires formal dress. Girls typically wear short or long Cinderella-style dresses with a lot of sequins and sparkle, and boys wear tuxedos and suits. Hairstyles for girls usually consist of curls or a fancy updo, and makeup is heavily applied to achieve colorful eyelids and bright lips. Outfits are accented with sparkly jewelry. During an evening wear competition, competitors walk slowly across the stage and complete graceful turns to showcase their elegant evening dress. Competitors are usually judged on poise, elegance, beauty and personality.
Contestants put on a short performance In the talent competition. Common talents include dancing and singing and many children develop a talent to use specifically for competitions. Unique talents, such as juggling or playing a rare instrument, often are slightly favored in competition. During the competition, children are judged on performance and personality.
An interview competition is a way for the judges to get to know a contestant a little better. Children are given a question to answer and are judged based on personality and the response to the question. Younger children are given simple questions such as "What is your favorite food?" or "Why do you love your Mom?" and older children are given slightly deeper questions such as, "What is one thing you would change in the world?" or "What lessons do you learn from participating in beauty pageants?"
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