Toddlers and Tiaras

'Toddlers' pageant director insists events aren't abusive

Dec. 21, 2011 at 1:12 PM ET

TLC /
Sugary treats mean pageants kids are just fine, according to pageant director Tonya Bailey.

On the next episode of "Toddlers and Tiaras," viewers will get a glimpse of America's Ultimate Beauties pageant, where tykes will vie for the usual assortment of towering crowns and too-tall trophies. They'll also meet pageant director Tonya Bailey, who offers up an unexpected defense of the events.

Sure, critics may question how healthy glitz and grown-up style pageants are for little girls, but in this sneak peak of the show, Bailey points out the perks — or at least one of them — that make it all OK.

"I think that it's easy for someone to say that beauty pageants are abusive." But not so, she said. "You can see a girl in gymnastics all day long, and she doesn't even get to eat. At least these kids get Pixie Stix."

The camera then cuts to shots of tiny tots downing jumbo tubes of sugar to back up Bailey's claim. While some might not consider such confections proof positive of a healthy, non-abusive environment, that doesn't stop parents from lining up to make sure their kids participate.

For instance, there's SamiJo's mom, who gets her 2-year-old in the pageant mood in time for the show even though the tot seems upset about looking "chubby" in a photo.

And there's also Alexis' mom, who promises that her personality-packed daughter is "always smiling," despite pre-pageant tantrum footage to the contrary.

See more of Bailey's take on pageants and the moms that sign up for them on "Toddlers & Tiaras" on Wednesday night at 10 p.m. ET on TLC.

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