Lou Handy, from Worthing, West Sussex, said trolls slam her for allowing Mia to wear make-up and fake tan when taking part in pageants
A mum who has spent more than £10,000 on her 10-year-old daughter’s dream to become a beauty pageant queen has hit back at trolls.
Lou Handy has splashed the cash on travel to competitions, false lashes, dresses and fake tan for daughter Mia.
The 37-year-old mum has been entering Mia into competitions since she was six after they caught an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras on TV.
She said they have boosted her daughter’s confidence after she was diagnosed with epilepsy.
Mia currently holds the title of International Junior Miss UK pre-teen, which has seen waitress Lou fork out on a £3,100 trip to Florida, Paris and Texas.
But in the past, Lou has been forced to defend herself and other mums against comments that they are ‘disgusting’ for allowing their daughters to wear makeup and fake tan.
The mum-of-three, from Worthing, West Sussex, 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.
“I’ve got friends who say they wouldn’t do it with their child, they think I’m crazy but its each to their own.
“When she has a show, she practices her walk for 20 mins every day, and she practices for interviews which is an essential life skill.
“When she has job interviews when she’s older she’ll smash them.”
Mia was diagnosed with absence epilepsy when she was seven, which causes her to black out and her body to stop functioning.
But Lou said pageants have helped her gain confidence – and has urged trolls to stop slamming the young competitors on social media.
She said: “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.
“It’s a community, a sisterhood of support.
“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.
“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.”
She also insisted the outfits worn by the contestants are age appropriate – with no two pieces and midriffs showing – and are no different to what a dancer of the same age would wear.