US beauty star (8) to parade at pageant
EIGHT-year-old beauty star Eden Wood is expected to make a visit to Ireland as part of a controversial child pageant.
She is expected to be paraded in front of hundreds of parents when Texas-based Universal Royal Beauty Pageant stages its first-ever show in Ireland.
Organisers have confirmed they are in talks with Eden's representatives about recruiting the youngster for the €20,000 Irish pageant, which will take place under heavy security and at an undisclosed hotel on September 21. She is the major star of reality programme 'Toddlers & Tiaras', who first took part in pageants when she was just one.
Last week, Universal Royal Beauty Pageant said they would keep the identity of the hotel where they will stage their debut Irish show under wraps to prevent a media backlash.
But bosses confirmed that the beauty contest will be open to "babies, toddlers and teens" – and will include a heat with youngsters decked out in swimwear – with "great prizes and trophies" on offer.
Children's watchdogs and child psychologists in Ireland have been vocal in their opposition to child beauty pageants.
But Universal Royal boss Annette Hill said she decided to stage the event because there was huge interest from Irish parents.
She said: "I can confirm we're holding our first Irish pageant on September 21. I'm very excited about it and if it's successful, it'll become an annual event.
"I've received loads of emails from people in Ireland who are interested in entering their children in the event."