Natural Beauty Pageant Focuses On Inner Beauty

It's a beauty pageant that promotes natural beauty. Sunday about 150 children and their parents participated in a Southern Elegance production.

Bea Tumminello has been hosting pageants like this one for sixteen years. She says the treatment of children in pageants is sometimes disturbing and she's setting out to do things a little differently.

"Over the years I have seen pageants just get progressively worse with the extreme makeup, the hair, the expensive pageant dresses, the expensive photogenic pictures. To me, I think it is way out of hand and it has totally gotten away from the concept of a what a beauty pageant is, and that is the natural beauty of a child," said Tumminello.

Proud parent Mark Wood says his three-year-old daughter Desiree was born to be on stage.

"She's always dancing at the house and putting on a show so why not just put her in a show," said Wood.

He believes these pageants will help Desiree become more sociable.

"Just something to get her to open up and not be so shy," said Wood.

Over the years, the popularity of pageants have decreased.

Tumminello says she thinks that's due to people thinking parents are exploiting their children by participating in these shows. But she says pageants can be a fun learning experience, when done the right way.

"We try to teach the children that they are all winners," said Tumminello.

According to Tumminello a little competition can be good for the children.

She says it's up to parents to help children realize that beauty is only skin deep.

"I feel that as they grow older we are teaching them the wrong things. That you have wear a lot of makeup and fake hair and wear expensive clothes to be beautiful, and that's not the way it should be," said Tumminello.

Tumminello says no child will go home empty handed. All of the children who participated in the pageant will receive a toy.