Tiara? Check. Big smile? Check. $10,000?
I suppose my daughter never stood much of a chance in having her mother and I allow her to attend pageants. But, now that I’ve read about the costs?
Such glamour doesn’t come cheap. According to Dorothy Poteat, director of Southern Elite Pageants based in Chapel Hill, NC, the very low end of the spectrum is between $400 to $500, minimum, per glitz pageant. The midrange is $1,500, but she’s seen parents drop $3,500 or more in preparations for one big day. The reason the price tag can become so heavy is the gear.
“With glitz, anything goes,” says Poteat. “Rhinestones, professional hair and makeup, spray tans, fake nails … it adds up fast. The entry fee alone varies from $50 to $500, depending on the level of the pageant.” The contests also charge for competing in separate categories, such as talent and casual wear, each an additional $20 to $30. Factor in the outfits (as many as six per pageant), promotional photographs, coaching (typically $50 per hour, at least once a week), dance, voice lessons and travel expenses, and it’s not hard to see how a single contest can easily blow out an average family’s budget.
Winning can be addicting though. “Once a child wins a crown or trophy, they will want to do it again,” says Poteat. “They will travel to the pageants every weekend. A glitz pageant six times a year can easily run $10,000.”