With visions of Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez in her eyes, Miki Wood told Good Morning America that her six-year-old daughter, Eden Wood, is retiring from competitions. The announcement was intended to launch a new empire. But did it stir up criticism? Maybe. With more than 300 wins, the pint-sized beauty pageant legend and “Toddlers & Tiaras” star is aiming for megastardom, including recording contracts, dolls, a canopy bed collection, and a memoir titled “From Cradle to Crown.” “I think she’s following in the footsteps of some pretty big people who have done pageants, like Oprah Winfrey,” Wood told GMA.
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The fourth season of “Toddlers & Tiaras,” currently on TLC, opened with an ‘80s-themed pageant that climaxed with a showdown “between the two most famous girls to hit the pageant stage: MaKenzie and Eden.” Regardless of who won, the episode – watch it by clicking here – created a backlash of criticism and outrage.
“By focusing on the carefully edited “rivalry” between six-year-old blonde Eden and five year-old MaKenzie, the much-discussed over-indulged terror from last season, T&T not only played into the gross concept that it’s OK to pit young girls against one another, it illuminated just how harmful it can be when mothers turn their daughters into currency,” wrote TV Guide’s Damian Holbrook. “Jacking the youngin’s up with Red Bull and Pixie Stix, fitting them with fake teeth and encouraging the kind of vanity eating disorders are made of, MaKenzie and Eden’s moms were clearly more interested in winning the grand prize than worrying about the price their spawn may pay down the line. Call us prudes, but it’s just a bit much to see a second grader dressed like a mini Madonna and grinding on stage for a crowd of creepy adults. How is that being a kid?!”
Annette Hill, who heads the Universal Royaly Beauty Pagaents, offered a rebuttal. But Micki’s ambitious blueprint to GMA on Wednesday morning and little Eden’s pouty face in the background did little to quiet critics. “Newsflash to mom – you’ve already destroyed your child,” someone commented on the GMA website. “Lady, the FIRST thing you and all these other “pageant mothers’ need to do is take the damned makeup off the babies!” another woman wrote. “They are NOT SEX POTS- they are CHILDREN! Don’t force your children to do what you only wish you COULD have done!”
Micki Wood gets the last word. “As long as she enjoys what we’re doing, Mama’s going to keep doing it,” she told GMA. “If it leads to the Miley Cyrus status or Selena Gomez, so be it. If it doesn’t, that’s fine, too.”