Although child beauty pageants have evolved since their conception in 1921 to foster talent, promote an active lifestyle and charitable fund-raising, they remain a divisive and controversial subject.
As one can imagine, the views of child beauty pageants vary from person to person and to some is a very controversial topic.
Even though many people argue about the negative aspects of these contests, there are just as many positive benefits that play a huge role in the psychological development of children. These include positive features such as a growth in a child’s confidence, developing an outgoing personality, and an overall positive self-image.
In Kenya, Tina Lughano is in the Children’s’ Pageant business and is the founder of Little Ms. Kenya which is organized under the company Kids n’ Tiarahs. She shares her story below, on her inspiration for getting into the Pageant business and the difference it makes in the lives of kids.
“My name is Tina Lughano and I am a mother of two. I am a wife, an entrepreneur and a go getter. I am excited about working with children especially the abilities they have.
Before going into business, I worked in the Banking sector for seven years. I liked the prestige of the job and the honor one receives from others just from working in a Bank. Society has the perception that when working in a bank, you have all the monies to afford a flashy life style. However, this did not give me the Job satisfaction. As I continued working, my love for the 8-5 job was quickly fading. I chose to quit my job. I went into trading business which didn’t offer me much satisfaction either, and ended up selling the business after 2 years.
I had always wanted to work with kids but I did not really know where to start. When my daughter was turning two years, l realized her confidence level was low and l started researching on how best l can boost her self-esteem. I dedicated a month to spend more time with her to get to understand her. Her passion towards beauty and fashion fascinated me.
When dressing her, she could choose what she wants and screamed when l tried to force her to put on something different. The urge to boost her self-esteem and her interest towards fashion and beauty gave birth to Little Miss Kenya. My daughter was my main inspiration.
LITTLE MISS KENYA
At Little Miss Kenya, we identify talent in young kids and develop the same by walking with the kids to help them build confidence, self-esteem and presentation early in their development. As the Swahili say “Samaki mkunje angali mbichi” the early child development plays a bigger role in his/her future. Kids Pageants can be a positive instrument in nurturing your child by helping then develop in various areas including:
Confidence – As adults, we know the importance of being confident in your abilities. Having a healthy level of self-confidence helps us achieve our goals, make friends, pursue a career and many other things. Building confidence starts at a young age and child beauty pageants are a great vehicle for toddlers to start building self-confidence.
Social Skills – Child beauty pageants also help children improve their social skills as they learn how to make new friends with other kids their own age. Children competing in child beauty pageants will also learn how to effectively communicate with adults as well.
Good Sportsmanship – Learning how to be a good sport is something every child should be taught how to do. After all, no one ever wins everything in life…we all fail at some point and have to learn how to get back up. Child beauty pageants teach children this lesson as not every contestant will go home with a trophy. The good thing is that young contestants learn that with hard work and determination they can earn a trophy, and when they do, the win is that much more valuable to them.
The greatest gift a parent can give to a child is a higher level of self-esteem. Our lives today as parents have become more busy we rush all day long looking for means of getting monies to make our kid(s) lives comfortable and we sometimes forget to help them with their esteem and confidence issues. Little Miss Kenya provide each child an opportunity to nurture their talents and boost their esteem as they indulge in a fair competition while encouraging parents to do the same.
The perception has been that pageants are not for kids that kids should not be exposed to pageants early. It’s even worse when it comes to boys. Even when we clearly state on our advertising materials it’s for both. Most parents enroll the girls and leave out the boys. However, we have a few of the boys enrolled with us. The number is also growing. We need more boys’ models.
Parents have been shielding kids from the outside world but we are changing that one parent at a time. We now have more parents booking their kids with us for future events which was not the case when we started.
Kids have been ignored for a long time yet they are “the leaders of tomorrow”. We found it fit to identify the talent and work on it to ensure no talent shall go to waste. Our schools, churches and clubs focus mostly on sport talent and not all the children are talented in this.
Little Miss Kenya focuses on any other talent apart from sports. Our country Kenya has being losing at the international pageants for years, reason being our beauty queens aren’t exposed. We believe 10 years from now, a child who have gone through Little Miss Kenya will win at Miss World pageant.
In setting up Little Miss Kenya, the journey hasn’t been without challenges. For a start, gaining confidence of parents to handle their children at that early age hasn’t been easy. However, as the parents observe the development in their young ones, they become more and more at ease as we work with their kids. This confidence has led to rapid growth of the number of children we are registering through referrals.
The other challenge has been generally dealing with parents when their kids do not win.Every parent wants the best for their kids, and having some parents accept that their kids haven’t won has been a big challenge.
Initially,we also had a challenge finding good judges especially for events outside Nairobi.
Overall we have been able to make all the stakeholders part of every step in organizing our events. Parents are involved, kids are involved, and sponsors are involved. It’s like a family. The children are taken through the trainings in good time, visit sponsors premises to learn about their core business and broaden their understanding on manufacturing and production. The children are also involved in charity work toward less fortunate where they donate and share love with them as we pay a visit.
INTERESTED IN KNOWING MORE ABOUT LITTLE MISS KENYA?
We have a website and a Facebook page that keeps parents updated on our events calendar. We also rely on word of mouth given the sensitivity with which kids are treated by their parents.
0n 30th April we will be showcasing a Fashion Show by some previous winners the Kids Fun Day at Mamba Village. This will be a good opportunity for parents to interact with us.
Overall, I think the society need to open up to the emerging trends where kids start earning before they are born. We want to have kids that we enroll paying for their school fees. We also take kids through creative session and financial literacy to ensure that we have all rounded children.”
Want to Get in touch with Little Ms.Kenya?
Email address: email@example.com
Call: 0703 735160
Facebook Page link: www.facebook.com/LittleMissKe
Website link: www.kidsntiaras.co.ke