Move over Toddlers in Tiaras, there's a new grand supreme in town and it's about to put your Shirley Temple and Pretty Woman costumes to shame.
Parents Kids are seeking fame younger and younger these days and the hottest new star-making business is Toddlewood, a photography studio that turns kids into tiny versions of their favorite stars, complete with gowns, jewels, and even facial hair. How getting your photos taken looking like Meryl Streep will lead to fame isn't really clear to me, but parents of children who participate in the shoots hope that the photos will make their kids stand out and provide much-needed exposure. Because if there's one thing kids need, it's more exposure.
Kids don't get paid for shooting for Toddlewood and even being invited to participate is a competition, with over 300 kids fighting for 12 spots, according to ABC. Those who do get selected work with photographer Tricia Messeroux to perfect their celebrity look, pose, and attitude. And parents insist that their kids love everything about the business, from putting on the gowns to getting their make-up done to standing for long periods of time on a miniature red carpet.
"My daughter is the one driving me," Heather Kirk said. "That's her passion. She was dancing at 18 months around the house and was clapping. I realized that's what they like to do. I enrolled her, she's been dancing since."
Kirk's daughter Erin, who is now 6 years old, was selected to undergo an extreme makeover to be turned into Katy Perry.
"Erin is full of sass," she added. "She loves her independence. Confident little girl."
Sass is great, but can we really assume that a six-year-old is the driving force behind this? I also enjoyed dancing and clapping around the house when I was 18 months old. That was because I had just discovered clapping. And dancing. And peeing behind things. Sassy! Instead of fame, however, all I got was a time-out and a nap.
For her part, Messeroux makes sure that none of the outfits the kids wear could be seen as sexy or in any way risque (although, the photo of a young girl made up to look like Cate Blanchette in Blue Jasmine may be considered in bad taste considering recent events.), but critics are concerned that even without the sexy outfits, these extreme makeovers may be too much for kids and that it's their parents pushing them to become famous.
Parents disagree. The mother of JP Vanderloo (stage name?), an eight-year-old who was made to look like Robin Thicke (okay, also inappropriate) had this to say:
"As long as he loves doing it and I can be there to supervise and my husband's there, and we know what's going on every single minute, then we feel like its fine," said JP's mother, Michelle Vanderloo. "It's under control and so, if we start to see any issues, then were going to make changes really quickly."
More photos of the transformations can be seen on the Toddlewood website and in this video taken from last night's Nightline.
Image via Facebook.