I was asked to do some training classes for a traveling pageant circuit last year. They flew me down to Orlando for a pageant weekend and to meet with the officials and some of the contestants and asked me to interview them. I am in no way a pageant person so the offer was a little bizarre, but they were paying for me to go to Disney for the weekend so I thought what the hell.
Let me tell you, everyone from the directors to the parents to the spectators are crazy as hell and spend the most ludacris amounts of money for the chance to win nominal prizes. My oldest son is an actor, so I've seen the stage mommy craziness before, but these pageant Mom's are on a whole other level. They saw that I was going to be part of the decision making process and they stalked me all over the conference center!! I would never get my child involved in these pageants. The pageant producers tell these parents that these kids have a chance and most of it is already pre-determined before those babies walk out on the stage. They pile on fee after fee for different competitions within the competitions. By the time those parents walk out of there they have spent upward to $1500.00 in entrance fees, God only knows how much they spent on some of those dresses. Some looked like they could have cost more than my wedding gown!
The saddest part is to watch some of these girls, who clearly looked like wanted to be anywhere but there, get screamed, and I do mean screamed, at by their mothers for making a misstep on stage. It is an insane atmosphere.
Needless to say that was my only weekend in the pageant world. It's a rip off and a scam for the most part and those parents are too blinded by some kind of strange glory to see it. The pageant owners take full advantage of that.