Toddlers and Tiaras

Posted by Jill Chivers in My Story

Howdie and here we are at blog #24. Canya believe we’re just over 3 months into the challenge? I was reflecting on that the other day when I went into one of my favourite clothing stores on the Coast here, Zambezi, and they were having a (gasp!) s-a-l-e. Yikes! I got my gift voucher and got outa there. I did note something fabulous — a giraffe print cotton/silk overshirt by Marc Cain. Over $700 original price, now 50% off. Wasn’t quite as bad as my worst challenge nightmare (if it had been, it would have been reduced to $1. oh, ok $100).

Anyway, I got out of there without a scratch, although I confess that I was discussing possible birthday presents for my Big Birthday month of April with someone shortly after that, and I did happen to mention the Marc Cain overshirt to them. (they were practically desperate for ideas on what to get me, I tell you).

So what are we talking about today? Well, I thought we might delve into the billion-dollar topic of make up.

When reality isn’t real. Reality television has a lot to answer for. The fact that we know the names of people like Kardashian for one thing. Not to mention watching celebrities try to make a go of running a hotel in southern France, or try to master an incredibly difficult things like being married. I mean, really! There are some fascinating shows though. One of them that I have occasionally stumbled across is Toddlers and Tiaras.

Toddlers and Tiaras chronicles the week’s lead up to whichever beauty pageant is being showcased in that particular episode. I have noted that many of these beauty pageants are held in the southern states of the United States. I have no idea if that is representative or not, but certainly Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Kentucky seem to have many pageants held within their borders.

The toddlers & tiaras shows I have watched focus on young pageant participants — and by young, I’m talking around 6 years old. (which is not really a “toddler”… although “6 year olds and Tiaras” doesn’t really sound that hip, does it?)

When is too young? Ah, the perennial question, which could be asked about drinking, voting, going to war, sex, driving, and – I’ll add to the mix — wearing makeup. All the important milestones in life.

These girls are made up to within an inch of their peachy faced lives. They have more make up than Ru Paul’s Drag Race contestants, and often take about as much time to apply (hours!). The end result is they look like a combination of a porcelain life size doll and a scaled down Dolly Parton. And their hair. Or should I say hay-are (it’s definitely a two-syllable word, they way its done). It adds feet to their height it’s so BIG.

I look at these tots and wonder where the child is. They are so adult-ised, they don’t even look like children. These pageants are often called “full glitz” pageants, and makeup is only a part of the preparation — fake tans, false teeth (called ‘flippers’), dance/singing lessons, and the dresses. OMG, you should see them. They look like the dresses that Qwpee dolls wore on top of the spare toilet rolls, except with extra ruffles and bling on them. Is this too young for girls to start wearing makeup?

My first time. We’ll by-pass all the other “too young” categories and go straight to make-up, this being a PG-rated blog. My mum bought me my first bit of makeup when I was about 6. It was not as part of my role as contestant into a beauty pageant, I might quickly add. I don’t think Queensland (or even the country) had beauty pageants back then, and I don’t think they have too many more now. But I digress. I was about 6. Ok, we were in a department store and they had a display of cheap lipsticks in a cardboard box at the checkout counter. I may have been angling for a lipstick, or I may have been staring longingly at them. Knowing me, it would be hard to imagine my mouth not being engaged, being the little talker that I was (well, am).

My first real proper time. But that wasn’t my true introduction to makeup, because I didn’t start wearing makeup, like, “properly” until I was in my late teens. My mum arranged a makeup lesson for me with my aunt Evelyn, who was a Nutri Metics consultant. I was 14. This was one of the most excellent things I recall from what was otherwise a fairly hideous year (not being a kid anymore, and certainly not being close to approaching womanhood). Evelyn showed me how to apply makeup so I did not look like a clown or Tammy Faye Baker. She told me about blending (so the makeup doesn’t fall off your face where your chin meets your neck). She told me a bit about colour (go easy on it). She told me about using makeup to highlight, not conceal. That was my first true introduction to “proper” make up — the products and its application — and I remember it to this day.

Every year, you say? I love make up. I enjoy wearing it, and shopping for it… I have spent hours in Sephora, the US makeup store – trying on this and that makeup. In the 10 minutes that I practised as an image consultant, back in 1999, I would advise my female clients to review their makeup every year. Don’t just keep applying it the same way, year in and year out. For a start, new products emerge that you’ll miss out on, if you don’t keep at least half an eye on the makeup industry. Like mineral make up — what a fantastic advancement that has been! No more liquid makeup! Fantastic!

The last time I had my makeup reviewed was in Hawaii (yes, darling, fabulous it was too). I went to a Bare Escentuals counter (complete with improper spelling) and had a gorgeous Hawaiian young woman do my makeup. She didn’t pressure me to buy, and I got some new tips on how to keep my makeup fresh and “me”.

We could talk for hours about make up and all the pros and cons of it, and what it has and hasn’t done for women (and drag queens). But in the interests of keeping you all awake and allowing you to get on with your day, I’ll sign off with my perspective. 6 is too young to start wearing that kind of makeup. Even if it is for Full Glitz. Right?

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