The Extravagant World of Beauty Pageants

Susan Anderson’s documentary portrait series, High Glitz, is shot on location at several of America’s child beauty pageants. Children’s pageants are a fascinating subculture, but more than anything they represent a strange microcosm of America itself. Our own values of beauty, success and glamour reflected in the dreams of thousands of young girls. High Glitz: The Extravagant World of Beauty Pageants is a close-up and intimate look at America’s child beauty pageants, and in turn our society’s obsession with youth, beauty, fame, and fortune.

Each year as many as 100,000 children under the age of 12 participate in U.S. child beauty pageants, and it has recently become a billion-dollar industry. Parents invest thousands of dollars on costumes and private coaches to give their children a competitive edge. The girls are spray-tanned, made-up, and groomed to a glossy perfection. Anderson captures the results of this time-consuming transformation process in exquisite detail in her book.

High Glitz © 2009 Susan Anderson

High Glitz © 2009 Susan Anderson

Colby Katz also documents these children (enter Projects, then Beauty Pageants).

2 pensamientos en “The Extravagant World of Beauty Pageants

  1. I would entirely agree about the oddness of t American beauty show. However in my blog I fould something else as well as the excellent points you raise. I have found that a very large number of members of Congress have all been at some time a competitor or winner of beauty pageants. But even odder they are almost all republicans! How odd is that. And I can’t see why it should be republican and not democrat? You can check the posts at


  2. Very interesting blog article you wrote. I am not a fan of child beauty pageants especially when it involves a lot of fake tans and other grown-up makeovers that is not making little girls cute and innocent. Don’t mind me saying this (man, I have to say it), I believe child beauty pageants are a waste of time and money and they are only here to rob lots of girls their childhood all because they are forced to live up to their parents’ unrealistic expectations.

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