Thursday, January 19, 2012

Toddlers and Tiaras: Universal Royalty Pageant

This week, we saw the Universal Royalty Pageant, with director Annette Hill (again), and an old Hollywood glamour theme. Oh yeah, and a $10,000 cash prize.

The contestants and their parents this week had some issues, to say the least.

Isys, 6, and mom Erika both sounded congested during this episode. I'm not convinced that Isys genuinely enjoys being in pageants. Isys' dance trainer was named Teffany (awful spelling) and I'm pretty sure Teffany is a man. Props to Teffany if she is, because everyone has the right to be themselves, but I'm just not sure if I'm imagining it.

Mia's, mom Marina is from Russia, and she said her husband wanted a Russian bride, so he found her online and they got married. They seem to have a happy marriage, so props to them. Dad's even interested in Mia's pageant career! 4 year old Mia seems like a genuinely happy kid, so I really liked this family, until I saw them at the pageant.

I love that Mia performs for elderly people as pageant practice. It seems like a great way to for Mia to practice while making people happy. Also, Mia was adorable - she has a teddy bear named Mischa who only comes out for pageants. The smile on Mia's face was priceless when she saw Mischa. Mom said giving Mischa to Mia is like giving Pixi Styx to most kids, although in my opinion, much healthier.

Saliz, 7, claims to be a diva impersonator. Her mom, Sarah, seems to really want to make her famous. It also seems like mom Sarah combined her name with someone named Liz to get her daughter's name. I'm definitely not a fan of the same. It's pronounced Suh-liz, but I want to say it like Suh-leez when I see it in writing. Saliz's mom spent $1,200 on her beauty dress, which seems like a lot, but I guess it's not crazy if you genuinely believe that you can win the pageant's $10,000 cash prize.

The Pageant

Mia went first for beauty. I loved her onstage! She had a great, genuine smile. She was very poised and the judges reacted very well to her. She may not be as picture perfect as other girls, but she had way more personality than many of them. Unfortunately, mom wasn't happy because pageant director Annette Hill cut Mia's beauty walk short. I didn't like that mom got so emotional about this and told Mia that she didn't win and it's already over. Ouch, mom! Build Mia up, not break her down! Mom wanted to quit, and sometime during her meltdown, Mia walked out of the hotel room. (Note: the judges thought that Mia did have her time onstage and actually stayed on longer than the other girls.)

Isys was next in beauty. Her smile wasn't as strong as Mia's, and I have to say, I didn't love her dress. It was a bit too colorful and overwhelming in my opinion. Plus, the judges didn't seem to love her - one said her heart wasn't in it.

Saliz was great. She was very polished, although I don't think her facial beauty was as strong as Isys' or Mia's. I also didn't love the color of her dress (red) but the fit was perfect on her.

For celebrity wear (after dad convinced mom to continue in the pageant), Mia was Shirley Temple. Unfortunately, many other girls were as well. The difference for one judge was that Mia actually sang, and that made her stand out. Although one other Shirley Temple went out cute and authentic, and then went into a non-20's themed sexy dance.

Isys was second, and I think Annette Hill was dressed as J-Lo. She looked like something between a belly dancer and a flapper in cowboy boots, and was completely uninspired. Unfortunately, this pageant was kind of a mess for Isys, probably because she wasn't feeling well.

Saliz was Nicki Minaj. (Again, not 20's themed, but whatever.) She did okay, in my opinion. Her moves looked like something out of a Zumba class and she kind of lip synched to the words. Despite my opinion (and the fact that a judge found her costume age-inappropriate) her mom thought she did great.


4 - 5 Age Group
Queen: Zoey
Mia didn't realize that not winning yet was a good thing because she pulled for a higher title. And who could blame her after her mom's outburst?

6 - 7 Age Group
Most Beautiful: Isys
Photogenic: Isys
Miss Congeniality: Saliz
Queen: Isys

Overall Titles
Ultimate Photo Supreme: Hailey
Ultimate Novice Supreme ($500 cash winner): Mia
Mom was not thrilled, thinking that this was nothing. On the other hand, Mia was thrilled and wanted to use the money to go to SeaWorld. I hated how Mia had to cheer up her mom after winning Novice Supreme - it was a good title and Mia shouldn't have to cheer up her mom.
Ultimate Grand Supreme: Meaghan (an 11 year old who looked much older, but maybe just in comparison to the other girls).
Saliz was upset because her mom promised her she'd win some money...bad call, mom!


Anonymous said...

Universal Roayalty Pagent-Aired /Jan 18/12-Poor Mia! Her Mother displayed one of the worst cases of child abuse I have ever seen on national t.v.!! She has definetly emotionaly scarred her little girl for life! She should be ashamed of her behavior! It was enough to never allow my child to watch T&T again!

Anonymous said...

Mia'a mom is not happy, apparently there is a loting of yelling at home. Mia left the room with the first yelling fit (very dangerous in a hotel) and hid under the table with the next fit. Child abuse by any other name is still child abuse. Saliz is not ever going to be a super star, her mother can try, but will fail. The other little girl was sick when the show began, sorry, but she is no beauty queen. However, I see chubby little girls and not so cute little girls every week on that show saying "I'm a beauty queen", their mothers need to forget about pageants and find another interest. Most of the mothers are over weight and unkept. I wish they would stop the silly faces and just do a beauty walk, they would be much cuter. If I was a judge and the mother was behind me showing the girl what to do that child's score would be zero. I don't think a child should be on stage that can't walk out there and do her thing alone.

Anonymous said...

Saliz needs a real coach to teach her how to model correct, professional pictures, professional hair and make up, a real pageant seamstress to make her correct pageant clothes, and to lose the getto attitude like she had on the local morning news. Her title was a bought title for who sold the most tickets, and the mom was jumping around like she pulled something big! HELLO you paid for that, if not she would have got nothing!

Anonymous said...

I make bathing suit custom wear for little girls for pagents! Very affordable! My name is Deszara Adams (248)214-8002

Sarah said...

I have read how you feel about names. Well, here is the story behind SaLiz's name. SaLiz is a NICKNAME that became a STAGE NAME because it sticks. People remember it. Her legal name is Sarah-Elizabeth; so maybe now you can see where the "Sa" and the "Liz" comes from. And just so you know, she is NOT named after me. There is a very beautiful story behind her name; it was not chosen by me, God gave her the name (I can expound more on that later if anyone cares).

Another point I would like to make is that the theme of the pageant was not Old Hollywood. The paperwork that I received said that particular category was Celebrity Wear. I would not have dressed my daughter as Nicki Minaj if it had been Old Hollywood. I talked to the pageant director afterwards and asked her about it. She said the original theme was Old Hollywood, but people were having too much trouble coming up with ideas, so she changed it to Celebrity Wear. Granted Nicki Minaj may not be age appropriate, but SaLiz was fully clothed in what I thought was a Nicki Minaj-ish type outfit (something utterly unmatched and ugly).

Thank you for the comments on SaLiz's beauty dress. But to the person who said she needs a good coach, a better seamstress, and better routines, phooey on you! She has a great coach who takes pride in not teaching her pageant girls all the same routine. She has a wonderful designer who is taking the pageant world by storm (several episodes had girls wearing designs by Cindy). And SaLiz's routines are original. On another note, my daughter is not ghetto and handled herself well on local television; handled herself with grace and poise on national television as well. *You can talk negative about me all you want, but I would appreciate it if you did not talk about my child that way.

And as far a "bought" title, I have never said anything differently on that subject.If ad pages can be sold, why would someone not sell ad pages instead of paying all of the fees out of pocket?! She won that NATIONAL crown because she has amazing sponsors who believe in her! I truly believed SaLiz had pulled for a higher title, because she could have been double-crowned since the Ambassador Award was determined before the pageant started.

So, Less Than Reality, thank you for allowing me to get some of my thoughts and frustations out.

Sarah (Sarah-Elizabeth/SaLiz's mom)

Sarah said...

"SaLiz is never going to be a superstar"; we will see. Maybe she will, maybe she won't. That is for neither of us to decide. I don't have to try. Why? Because I am not the one who wants to be a superstar! If SaLiz wants it, which she says she does, I have told her she has to work for it. Her dad and I pay for the lessons, but ultimately, she is the one who has to perform. I have told her, I am NOT going to stand in the audience doing her routines for her. If I have to do that,then if she wins, Mommy gets the crown.

The pageant world can be a very negative place with nasty, small-minded people. I can't think of anything in this world that 100% of the people agree on. We all have our opinions, and we are entitled to them.

Less Than Reality said...

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for your comments. I respect the fact that you came here and shared your opinion - but even beyond that - noted that everyone is entitled to an opinion.

I was confused at first when I read your comments because I did not (not would I) call your daughter "ghetto." Then I read through the comments and saw that some of them very strongly opinionated, to put it lightly.

Here are my responses to your comments. Sarah-Elizabeth is a beautiful name. I'm not going to lie - SaLiz doesn't really flow for me - but Sarah-Elizabeth is a beautiful name. (Also, if I recall, it showed on TV as Saliz, which is totally different to me than SaLiz - but I'm a names/language fanatic so the fact that I see a difference shouldn't really surprise you.)

As for switching the theme away from Old Hollywood to just Hollywood, that is frustrating to me as a viewer! You're not the first person to come to me and say that things on Toddlers and Tiaras are not even remotely close to reality. The show made it very clear that the pageant had an Old Hollywood theme, despite the fact that it wasn't actually the case.

I just took a look at SaLiz's Facebook page, and her glamor shots are gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous. You can really see her facial beauty in those pictures.

I also saw the FB post you made regarding why people are negative about pageants. You know better than I do that the pageant world is a bitter place. I'm all for people having opinions (as you're aware) but I have seen some terrible, over the top comments made out of jealousy, and those are ridiculous.

I do think people can judge people when they're on TV, honestly. It comes with the territory. It's a risk - you gain a lot of popularity and positive publicity, but there's also some negative that comes with it. That being said, I do not think it's fair for people to comment on things that are not relevant (mom's weight, etc.), and I am sorry that people said things like that to you.

If you'd like, do a write up about Saliz and I'll post it on the blog as a guest post. Or, if you'd prefer, I can send you some questions to answer. Set the record straight about the pageant on T&T. Let us know about SaLiz's desire to be a star and why that may have come across differently on TV (editing has a lot of power). Tell us about SaLiz's name. Tell us why you won't dance behind SaLiz because you're turning her into a strong, mature young woman. Talk about how the pageant world is cruel. I can add links to her Facebook page, post a picture and whatever else you'd like. I do think that SaLiz has a lot of potential, and I have a lot of respect for both you and her after reading your response. If you're interested in doing this guest post, email me at

This may seem hypocritical of me, being that I write a blog that airs on the side of being critical, but you shouldn't let online criticism let you down. It's much easier to be a critic from the outside. I genuinely believe you're a good parent (based on the show and your comments), and you're handling things gracefully, and I hope you take any criticism you receive and use it to fuel your desire to help SaLiz succeed.

Sarah said...

Thank you for your response. I would love to answer any questions you have; I will send you an email.

I fully agree with you on the spelling of SaLiz. I am also very particular about spelling and grammar. I cannot tell you how many times I have to correct someone on the spelling and pronunciation of SaLiz. I have started doing this: SaLiz, pronounced Suh-Liz; Big "S", Big "L". It's annoying because really, can't you just look at it and see the difference?!

Thank you for your time and I will be sending that email shortly. Oh, and thank you for taking a closer look at SaLiz!

Anonymous said...

I was shocked and disgusted at the behavior demonstrated by Mia's mother. Mia seemed like a sweet child that worked very hard to please this woman. It is as if the mother withholds love and affection unless Mia wins big. I don't care what any person's nationality is. I am competitive and I am not Russian! This woman should be ashamed of herself. All of her children displayed more maturity then her. I hope that child protective services is involved with this family to protect the children. P.S. What was with all the facial twitching? Was her medication wearing off?

tiffches said...

Isis was sick. She had a fever and was using her inhaler. I felt so badly for her.
Mia got a bad deal in getting Marina for a mom. That beautful girl will never be good enough to please her mother.
Thank goodness she has a supportive dad and brothers. I wish her dad would man up and not allow Mia to be mistreated by Marina. Has she posted a response anywhere for her behavior?

Anonymous said...

I am absolutely appalled at Mia's mother, Marina!!! I was so angry when she first told Mia she would not win, screamed that everyone hated Mia, would NOT go inside to the crowning ceremony, and last, having to watch poor little Mia run to her and say, "look momma, I won,I won money, momma!" Marina, I am not sure how you were taught or raised in Russia when it comes to parenting, but here in America, our children's love and happiness comes first, lady!!!! Shame on you for making your children have to try and cheer you up!! This was NOT your pageant, it was Mia's!!! Maybe the only thing your kids need to do for you is teach you some MATURITY!!!!!!!!!!

Atlanta said...

Not sure why someone was being so hard on Sarah and her daughter Saliz. Sounds like you have a lot of hatrid towards this child.

I thought Sarah and her daughter behaved normal. A lot of the other mothers on the show act terrible when they lose, act crazy at times and in the case of Marina she treated her child horrible. Poor Mia will be scarred to some degree. Those types of behaviors are not forgotten when you get older. I liked Sarah.

Anonymous said...

I just watched a rerun of this episode and remembered how horrible Marina was to Mia. Shock, disgust and pity for this woman. And shock and disgust and pity for the "husband" "father" not to support this beautiful child. It is his daughter. How could a grown man allow this verbal and lasting abuse go on. Shame on him, on Marina and on any child services who do not follow up. Shame, shame....

Unknown said...

MARINA. I hope you see this. You do not deserve to have that beautiful child. You parade her around like a possession, not like a person who enjoys this. Just because you aren't a beauty queen doesn't mean you should force your dreams on her. It's shameful the way you act like a child when her performance doesn't go your way. Listen to her hopes and dreams and stop carrying out your pathetic repression on her. I hope someons takes her away from you and places her in the hands of parents who will adore her instead of criticising every move she makes. You're husband should be more embarassed for putting up with your behaviour. I hope you see sense and appreciate that gorgeous girl of yours before she ends up despising you

Unknown said...

Surely this awful 'Mother' Marina has been investigated by the authorities!!!! Wake up America!!!!

Unknown said...

Surely this awful 'Mother' Marina has been investigated by the authorities!!!! Wake up America!!!!