Teased hair. Spray tans. Full face of make-up. Sparkly, poofy dress. Frilly socks. Kitten heels. The look of a child beauty pageant queen is unmistakable — it’s also a controversial one. She often feels immense expectation to look perfect and to perform to ever-more demanding ideals.
Sasha Bennington, from Burnley, United Kingdom, was one of many young girls who entered pageants at the behest of her mother. Although she plastered on a smile while she performed, you could sometimes get a glimpse past her cheery facade. The 11-year-old was not always happy with her hobby.
It took her several years, but she finally worked up the courage to tell her mom she had found herself a new career path. Breaking free from pageantry would take a radical shift, and that’s just what Sasha gave her family and viewers who had watched her grow up in the spotlight — no one could believe the beauty queen’s new dream.