Mum who’s spent £10k on her 10-year-old daughter’s beauty pageant dream blasts trolls who shame the contests

A MUM who has spent over £10,000 on her 10-year-old daughter's dream to become a beauty pageant queen has hit back at trolls who shame the contests.

Lou Handy, 37, has splashed thousands on Mia's dresses, false lashes and fake tanning sessions in preparation for her pageants – as well as spending a small fortune transporting her to competitions around the world.

The mum-of-three, from Worthing, West Sussex, has been entering Mia into pageants since she was just six years old after her daughter saw an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras.

Lou claims beauty pageants have helped Mia's confidence after she was diagnosed with epilepsy three years ago.

Her daughter currently holds the title of International Junior Miss US pre-teen which involved Lou – who works as a waitress – to fork out £3,100 on trips to Florida, Paris and Texas to compete.

However, the mum has now hit back at trolls who told her she was "disgusting" allowing her daughter to wear make-up and fake tan.

Counting up the costs, Lou said: "Over the four years, absolutely everything from Mia's travel, to outfits, hotels and eyelashes definitely pushes the £10,000 barrier.

"There's quite a lot of backlash, but it's a sport – a competition.

"People think we're dressing our children up as 25-year-old models and they're being judged only on their faces."

What's more, Lou claims her friends "think she's crazy" for allowing Mia to compete in pageants and say "they would never do it with their own child".

However, Lou believes that beauty pageant training is encouraging her daughter to work hard and learn discipline.

"When she has a show, she practices her walk for 20 minutes every day," Lou said. "And she practises for interviews which is an essential life skill."

She added: "When she has job interviews when she's older she'll smash them."

One year after Mia first took an interest in pageants, she was diagnosed with absence epilepsy which causes her to black out and for her body to stop functioning.

However, Lou claims that beauty pageants have helped boost her daughter's confidence since her life-changing diagnosis.

Likening pageants to a "sisterhood of support", Lou added: "All the other beauty queens say, 'it's ok you're different'.

"They say it's her unique thing and everybody has something special – her epilepsy is her special thing."

Urging trolls to stop slamming young competitors on social media, the mum said: "If you wouldn't go up to someone and say it to their face then don't say it online.

"People think that social media is this magical place where there aren't any consequences. People need to realise Mia is 10, she's old enough to look through my phone and see comments and when she's done an event she always want to know what people have been saying.

"I wouldn't dream of commenting on a photo of someone's so why do people think it's alright to do that to us?"

What's more, Lou's friends have accused her of being crazy for spending so much time (and money) on Mia's pageants when she has two other sons – Charlton, 14, and Arthur, 7.

However, Lou sees pageants as an investment in Mia's future and is happy to allow her daughter to continue competing.

In response to criticism that the pageant outfits can be too revealing, Lou also said that they are no different to what a dancer of the same age would wear.

Commenting on how pageants have affected Mia's schooling, Lou added: "Mia has had stick at school, little girls being little girls when she’s gone in really proud and taken her crown she’s had the odd comment like 'so you think you’re the queen of the world'.

“But she’s got bounce back ability, she bounces back from anything that’s gone on. She works really hard, she’s a kid with values – she’s got drive.

“She’s not interested in sitting at home and staring at a screen, she wants to be out doing stuff.

“She loves it and I’m having a blast going with her, if she decides she’s done then we’ll sell the dresses and move on to something else.”

For more beauty pageant stories, this mum admitted to spending £5,000 on entering her 12-year-old daughter into competitions – and has even set up a tanning booth in their kitchen to help her prepare.

And this mum told her eight-year-old daughter "you're not a stripper but shake your butt" as she coaches her for a beauty pageant.

Plus another mum has spent over £13,000 on pageants, dresses and make-up to turn her shy daughter into a beauty queen.

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