Her detractors maintain that she should be welcome back as a tourist, not as a promoter of glamour pageants for young girls.
While thousands of parents taxied children to sporting events last weekend, a very different contest of beauties gathered to fight it out for a cash price in the US style Universal Royalty beauty pageant.
Eden Wood, the seven-year-old beauty pageant pro was the headline act in a show that continues to polarise the Australian public.More stories from Today Tonight
Twelve months ago child groups were outraged when the glitz beauty pageant arrived Down Under. There were threats and petitions, yet the show - be it battered and bruised - went on. This time -event organiser Annette Hill slipped into the country without fuss or fanfare.
“I think the controversy comes with an American pageant coming to Australia, and the Universal Royalty Beauty Pageant being featured on Toddlers and Tiaras, which is a great entertainment, and a sensationalised show, but you cannot judge a beauty pageant on a TV show,” Hill said.
Critiquing every smile, every pose and every outfit was Michael Flores - a judge on the cable TV show Toddlers and Tiaras.
For Flores the Australian girls have a clear advantage over their US beauty counterparts.
“Here this pageant is more natural beauty, which is good. There should be more natural beauty in the States, like here,” Flores said.
However the fear for anti-pageant campaigner and child psychologist Collete Smart is that in the future we will see more of the American style pageants here.More on Eden Wood from Today Tonight
“My message to them is please don't come back to Australia,” Smart said of Eden Wood.
Smart was invited along to see if her anti-pageant views had changed twelve months after she went head to head with Eden’s mum Mickie Wood on the topic last year.
“My heart broke because I thought these little girls are learning here on the stage today ‘I have to look beautiful; I have to have my hair in a certain way; I have to have fake tan, false nails and all that kind of thing to impress the judges. It is not about what is inside me, it is all about how I look,’ and I felt so sad for those little girls that that's what they are going to go away with today,” Smart said of the pageant.
Mum Mickie Wood is no stranger to winning. In the pageant world, daughter Eden is a household name - so much so she's outgrown the television show that made her a star and now has one of her own.
“They're beautiful - and don't get me wrong because I'm all about some glitz and foo, and there can't be enough feathers and rhinestones - but this is them - this is not a bunch of fake stuff that is thrown on - they want to win this pageant. It's awesome,” Mickie said of the Australian child beauty pageant.
“I've been brought to tears. I want to come back - just me - and have a day where I can take them. With just a little bit of tweaking, they could go to America.”
Of course not everyone won life-size trophies, but most were rewarded. But this is show business after all - where there can be only one overall winner.
While you may not agree with child beauty pageants, the parents were always standing by with smiles and applause their children. And the message seems to be clear, in the words of Mickie Wood “Australia beauty pageants are here to stay - get ready!”
- Family Smart - www.familysmart.com.au
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