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