Pouting, posing and growing up too soon, the beauty pageant princess aged four. And no, it's not the US, it's here in the UK
23:32 GMT, 3 September 2012
With her long blonde hair and pretty pink dress, she looked a picture of childhood innocence.
Then came the lipstick, the make-up and the tight-fitting swimsuit.
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On parade: Ocean, four, struts with a toy in hand
But Ocean – crowned 'Most Beautiful'
in a toddler and under-12 beauty pageant – is only four. And while one
hand is on her hip as she sashays down the catwalk, the other is
clutching a cuddly toy.
Once confined to the US, the highly
competitive world of children’s beauty pageants has now reached Britain,
and Ocean was among more than 40 children battling to be the most
beautiful at what organisers called the ‘biggest and best’ event of its
kind in the UK.
Despite her tender years, Ocean might
be considered something of a veteran given that the ages of other
contenders for the Miss Glitz Sparkle crown could be counted in months
rather than years.
One, sporting eyeshadow, make-up and
fake tan, was not yet two. Another, modelling a frilly bikini, was
three. At seven months, a little girl in a fairy outfit was unable to
stand without support from her mother.
Twirl: Hollie Young, aged 20 months, smiles on stage at the Glitz Sparkle 2012 competition
Some of the contestants at the Glitz Sparkle 2012 competition – one of the first American style beauty pageants to be held in the UK
Winner Dyamond Donovan, 4, poses at the Glitz Sparkle 2012 competition
The US-style contest at a Lincolnshire
hotel on Sunday included a beauty parade in front of an audience of
adults and a 'Hollywood star' round in which the children dressed as
While organisers hailed the pageant as
a great success, last night child welfare groups criticised it for
encouraging the ‘over-sexualisation’ of young girls.
Claude Knights, director of child
protection charity Kidscape, described the pageants as a 'disturbing
trend', adding: 'It’s impossible for some of these kids to be giving
their consent to wearing swimwear and pseudo-evening dresses as well as
fake eyelashes and spray tans.'
Alexia Bates is judged at the Glitz Sparkle 2012 competition and was later crowned overall winner
Showing off: The young girls, including Hollie Young (right) enjoyed themselves at the event
Proud parents: Twins Stella and Starr Moss with mother Roxy and father Simon at the competition
But Ocean, who wants to be a Disney
princess when she grows up, happily allowed her mother Bianca Alsop, a
26-year-old sales manager, and grandmother Denise Alsop, 49, to make her
up for the contest. Her brothers, 18-month-old twins Milan and Madrid,
also took prizes in the competition.
'It’s their first pageant and they all
loved it,' Miss Alsop told the Daily Mail. 'When you think your child
is perfect, you want to show them off. Ocean absolutely loves competing,
but the twins don’t really know what’s going on so it’s for my own
Responding to the criticism levelled
at the pageants, she said: 'The children who take part are a different
breed. They are kids who like the limelight. We’ve got dull,
old-fashioned, apron-wearing mothers making their comments, but no one
criticises them because their children are boring'
Bessie-Sue Elder, 4. wears a glitzy swimming costume to compete
The youngest of the group Hollie Young, 20 months old wears flowers in her hair
Alexia Bates, 11, from Dudley at the event showing off her best cheerleader moves
Alexia Bates performed a dazzling dance routine for the crowds
The panel of judges at the Glitz Sparkle 2012 competition – one of the first American style beauty pageants to be held in the UK
Hollie Young, 20 months with mother Christine Greenhow at the competition
Madrid Orrey giggles during the competition and wears a little dickie bow for the evening wear round
Ocean Orrey, 4, from Boston prepares with some pampering compliments of her mother
Miss Alsop, who lives with partner Lee Orrey in Boston, Lincolnshire, said preparing for a pageant took time and money.
'I think I spent about 500 on outfits
for all three of them,' she added. 'Ocean has to have bronzer on her
shoulders, body glitter and then full make-up. Her hair has to be curled
and the outfits have to be pressed and sewed. But lots of the mothers
make far more effort than we did. There were kids wearing fake hair and
Elsewhere at the Pride of Lincoln
Hotel, where rooms are offered for 25 a night, three-year-old Tia
Wilkinson sat in an Upsy Daisy nightshirt as her hair was curled –
before posing on stage in a ruffled bikini.
20 month old Hollie looks perplexed on the stage as she sucks a dummy
Little Chloe Graves, 7 months was helped on stage by her mother at the event where she wore a green fairy costume
Wade Edwards, 5, was a cool dude in the swimwear class at the Glitz Sparkle 2012 competition as he skated on stage
Bessie-Sue Elder, 4, performs a dance routine in a shocking pink tutu
Tia Wilkinson from Burnley waits for her hair to curl before her appearance on stage
Later, after showing off her catwalk
pout in another outfit, she was crowned as one of the winners. It was
the 14th event she had entered over 18 months.
Mother Becky, 29, from Burnley,
Lancashire, said: 'She obviously didn’t choose to do it but she enjoys
it. She wears a bikini if she goes to the swimming pool and you don’t
know who’s there, so it’s just the same as that.'
One of the youngest entrants was 20-month-old Hollie Young, who has competed in pageants since the age of six months.
Pride: Rowen and April Bates from Dudley beamed as winner Alexia held her trophy
The entrants pull their best pose for the judges as overall supreme winner Alexia beams with her trophy
Mother Christine Greenhouse, a
28-year-old dance teacher from Sunderland, said: 'She thinks she is a
princess because she has that many crowns at home.'
She explained Hollie wore eyeshadow 'because other girls had it and she wanted it'. Meanwhile, twins Starr
and Stella Moss, six, wore outfits costing nearly 1,800 and came second
and third respectively in their group.
Mother Roxy Moss, a 24-year-old
personal assistant who was at the pageant with husband Simon, 28, said: 'The girls love it. I just think people who criticise pageants haven’t
got a life.'
Pageant organiser Leanne Woodall, 32,
said she had received no negative feedback about the event. She added: 'Until you’ve been to one, you have no idea how much the kids love it.'
Oh I do like to be beside the sea! Tegan Hughes in swimwear round…
And taking on Calamity Jane…