I'm Proud to be a Pageant Mom!
I love being a pageant mom because it allows me the opportunity to spend quality time with my 6-year-old daughter Taralyn. Pageants are a great activity for the whole family. Taralyn's dad is involved in everything she does—he builds the pageant props, helps with her outfits and tans her. And I started competing in pageants to show her that I have to practice, too!
I never pressured Taralyn to compete in beauty pageants. When she turned 4, she said she wanted to win a trophy. I entered her in a natural pageant and she won her trophy!
I always said I would never put a fake tan, hair extensions and makeup on her at such a young age, but I thought we should try glitz pageants and see what they were really like. Taralyn fell in love with the lights, cameras and the entire theatrical production of it all.
I know it looks crazy to some people to have kids looking so grown up, but if you take away the hair and tan, it's not that different than a dance recital or a theater production. What about "Annie"? She wore a wig and nobody said a thing.
The truth is that pageants have helped Taralyn gain poise, confidence, showmanship, discipline and grace. She loves the stage and loves to perform in front of people.
Some people say parents are abusing their kids by putting them in a pageant. But I would never force Taralyn to do something that she didn't want to do. She takes private piano, guitar, voice and drum lessons in addition to three days of cheer practice a week. I asked her if it was too much and she asked if she could take violin lessons, too!
I'm not worried that pageants are sending the wrong message to Taralyn about beauty. She knows that beauty comes from within and competing is about having a positive attitude. If you asked Taralyn the most important thing about pageants, she'd say having fun.
Traci Eschenberger's daughter, Taralyn has been on "Toddlers and Tiaras" three times. Traci and Taralyn are reigning National Queens for Elite USA.