Prim and Proper or Razzle-Dazzle?

It’s not just outsiders that look down upon pageantry; even amongst pageant parents and systems there is tension and discord between natural and glitz pageants and pro am modeling. Pro am pageant modeling is a fast paced, upbeat style that combines dance moves, turns, kicks, spins, and splits, with huge facial expressions and a “sassy” strut to showcase the contestant’s personality and confidence onstage. Pro am routines include themed costumes and music with rehearsed, choreographed routines, and are the foundation of most glitz pageants.
When signing up for a natural pageant, you will see the word “NO” many times: NO rhinestones, NO glitter, NO wiglets, flippers or makeup, NO Pro am!!! A natural beauty pageant is about just that: natural beauty. Judges look for facial beauty, poise, and elegance; modeling for beauty is often described as “Miss America” style or “real world” modeling. Beauty is a slow walk from X to X, with delicate turns on each mark to show off the dress, smile, and poise. Themewear and OOC are faster and more upbeat, but you won’t see any heel kicks, splits, or facials like in a glitz competition.
Although the format of these various pageants is generally the same (beauty, themewear/ooc, side awards…) the amount of razzle-dazzle you’ll see at each varies greatly, and this is where pageant systems and parents begin to disagree. Generically:
Natural Pageant Thought Process: “A child doesn’t need all that fake stuff to be beautiful.”
Glitz Pageant Thought Process: “Football players need pads and helmets; Beauty queens need wiglets and flippers.”
The concept of what a beauty pageant is actually about is the fundamental difference between the two pageant systems. Natural pageants are about what the child brings to the table with little to no artificial help; glitz pageants embrace the sport of the competition and encourage anything that will add glamour, drama, and pizzaz to the stage; glitz pageants like to put on a show, they want their audience to be entertained while their contestants have fun dressing up and showing off.
This differing thought process leads to striking differences between children who do only natural pageants and children that do glitz pageants. I have yet to see a child that competes solely in natural pageants that is as polished on-stage as a glitz contestant; although it must be noted that glitz contestants are often more experienced than natural contestants. Natural pageants lend themselves to pageant newcomers, with lower fees to enter and less investment in wardrobe, hair, makeup, and coaching. Some girls, often those that got into pageantry at a later age, continue to only do natural pageants until they reach the teen divisions, where there is no division between natural and glitz. Others have fun doing a few pageants and then hang up their heels; and yet many others, even those who said they’d never do it, move on into the world of glitz.
Many pageant systems now offer separately judged natural and glitz competitions at the same pageant and it is easy to see how natural competitors (and their parents!) would be drawn to the glamour of glitz when confronted with it in the dressing rooms. Whatever their motivation, the crown, the title, the sparkles, contestants begin to seek out professional hair and makeup artists, the best designers for their gowns and themewear outfits, and coaches to choreograph routines and train the contestant on stage presence. When a coach is utilized you can make a pretty safe bet that you’re going to see pro am modeling in both beauty and optional routines.
Opinions vary greatly when it comes to glitz pageants and pro am style modeling, but when age-appropriate and well executed, pro am pageant modeling is a way to remind everyone that these dressed up, airbrushed dolls that look years beyond their age, are actually children. Watch a trained pro am 7 year old in her OOC routine, and regardless of her hair, makeup, or outfit, you will see a 7 year old girl dancing and having fun.


One thought on “Prim and Proper or Razzle-Dazzle?

  1. Pingback: My Writing | Pearltrees

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