A PROUD mum has stated that beauty pageants have made her five-year-old daughter better in school after hitting back at trolls.
Little Layla-Rose struts her stuff on stage around three times a month in an attempt to be crowned the winner, in categories including best smile, best eyes or best pose.
The little girl from Mirfield, West Yorks, joined the pageant world just seven months ago but already has an impressive collection of more than 50 medals, sashes and crowns – something mum, Jade Brogden, says has helped improve her schoolwork.
But the success has seen mum-of-three, Jade, trolled online with strangers saying pageants sexualise young girls.
Fiercely defending her decision to enter her daughter in beauty contests, Jade, 25, said: “It is nothing like the US shows, people are too quick to judge without knowing the opportunities it provides.
“Layla-Rose loves it, she wants to do it. I am not forcing her.
“The pageants have really excelled her confidence and are a positive impact in her life, especially at school.”
Layla is signed with Miss Diamond – a regional system in the pageant world.
Jade said: “She has done so well in such a short space of time.
“Pageants are great.
“I don’t understand how anyone can see it in a sexual way, if they do they have a problem.
“There are no skimpy clothes.”
Jade admits that as well as criticism from strangers, friends and family also raised concerns at the start.
She said: “Family were cautious, but I explained what it is really like and how much she enjoys it, now they are supportive.
“It’s a natural beauty competition so they are not allowed to wear make-up, a smidge of lip gloss and a bit of mascara maybe, but there is no fake tan or false eyelashes, no fake nails or veneers – not at her age.”
Layla-Rose loves it, she wants to do it. I am not forcing her.
To win, the children are scored on their outfits in categories including fashion, evening wear and often a talent round.
Jade said: “She gets to show off on stage. She does a big walk where eye contact with judges is a must. She must get her smile and walk perfect.
“She has training sessions because I know she can do it perfectly and we are so proud.”
But Jade stresses children get judged on more than just appearance.
She added: “It’s about personality too, they are interviewed.
“It’s also about having fun and she enjoys herself on stage. She feels good about herself and you can see on her face she is happy.“
It may be a hobby for Layla-Rose, but it is a full time job for both Jade, who runs her own princess dress business and Leyla’s dad Howard, 33.
The engaged couple also have two other children, Archie three and Marilynn, six months old.
Jade said: “It is full on. Layla-Rose takes part in 2-3 charity pageants a month and we have to get all her dresses sorted, drive her to contests.
"It’s exhausting but worth it to see her so happy and confident.”
Jade confesses it’s a costly business: “It is expensive. You have to pay to enter, regional comps are around £300, then we have to raise our charity contribution.
"Her latest evening dress cost £400, so we probably spend £1,000 on a pageant.
“You could spend thousands on a dress but you can get sponsors for events and charity pageants are cheaper, about £50 to enter.”
Jade has spent around £3,000 on her daughter’s pageant career so far.
It’s also about having fun and she enjoys herself on stage. She feels good about herself and you can see on her face she is happy.
She said: “It quickly adds up with the dresses for various rounds plus accessories.”
“Layla-Rose has around 10 outfits, I did start by buying a new for each pageant but quickly learnt my lesson and now she does wear outfits more than once.
"Many amazing business sponsor money, outfits, shoes etc to her to make her pageant journey possible."
Jade also dismisses rumours that the industry is competitive between parents.
She said: “We are just one big family.
“I’ve not met a nasty mum, we all cheer for each other kids, there is no jealousy if someone else’s child wins.
“Layla-Rose doesn’t care if she wins, she just wants to enjoy it.”
Away from the glitz and glamour on stage, being involved in the pageant world, means doing a lot for charity.
Jade said: “Layla does so much work in the community. She wants to change the world. She is so sweet and always thinking of others.
Layla-Rose doesn’t care if she wins, she just wants to enjoy it.
“She has really come out of her shell, it’s heart- warming to see and her school have been very supportive, Layla-Rose takes in her trophies for show and tell.
“She wants to be Miss World or a teacher.”
Jade added: “The pageants bring up so many opportunities. With regional competitions, if she wins her age group, she will compete internationally, that’s an amazing opportunity.
“Regardless of cost and criticisms, I am excited to see where this takes her.”
Previously, a mum warned that glitzy child beauty pageants have turned her two-year-old daughter into a pouting diva.
Meanwhile, a mum has spent £5,000 entering her daughter, 12, into beauty pageants – and has even set up a tanning booth in her kitchen to help her prepare for competitions.
And, a beauty therapist has opened Britain’s first spa for ‘stressed out’ toddlers.
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