‘Toddlers in Tiaras’ special gives update on beauty queens 10 years later

‘Toddlers in Tiaras’ special gives update on beauty queens 10 years later

You
may
expect
a
child
forced
to
wear
caked-on
makeup,
fake
teeth
and
scratchy,
sequined
cupcake
dresses
to
rebel
against
her
pageant
mom,
but
that
hasn’t
been
the
case
for
teenager
Liana
Pirraglia.

“I’m
happy
with
my
pageant
career.
I
had
a
great
time,”
Liana,
who
as
a
kid
was
featured
on
TLC’s
“Toddlers
in
Tiaras,”
told
The
Post.
“I
loved
the
experience
that
me
and
my
mom
got
to
have
together.”

She
still
spends
her
days
learning
choreography
and
songs
and
making
sure
she
looks
just
right
for
stage
performances.
But
now,
the
19-year-old
is
prepping
for
photo
shoots
and
musicals,
not
beauty
pageants.

The
Selden,
NY,
resident
is
returning
to
screens
on
January
21
in
“Toddlers
in
Tiaras:
Where
Are
They
Now?”
The
three-part
special,

available
on
Discovery+
,
gives
fans
of
the

controversial
TLC
reality
show
,
which
ran
from
2009
to
2016,
updates
on
their
favorite
over-the-top
tots.

Liana Pirraglia poses in one of her pageant crowns.
Liana
Pirraglia
wears
one
of
the
crowns
she
won
competing
in
beauty
pageants
as
a
child.

Edmund
J
Coppa

Delving
into
the
child
pageant
world,
the
reality
show
was
criticized
for
hyper-sexualizing
young
girls.
Oftentimes,
parents
featured
on
the
show
would
force
their
kids,
sometimes
as
young
as
3
years
old,
to
compete
in
hourslong
competitions,
undergo
spray
tans,
and
wear
heavy
makeup,
fake
teeth
and
revealing
costumes.
Some
moms
forced
their
kids
to
drink
energy
drinks
or
soda
to
add
“pep”
to
the
performances.

Although
she
was
shown
as
a
pageant
“underdog”
on
“Toddlers,”
Liana
said
that
wasn’t
the
case:
She
still
has
loads
of
trophies
and
crowns
to
prove
she
was
a
big
winner.

Liana’s
mother,
Mary,
entered
her
daughter
in
her
first
pageant
when
she
was
only
2
months
old.

“As
a
child,
I
always
wanted
to
be
in
pageants,
but
my
mother
was
not
about
the
pageant
life,”
Mary,
59,
told
The
Post.
After
giving
birth
to
two
sons,
Liana’s
arrival
finally
gave
Mary
the
perfect
opportunity
to
pursue
her
dream.

Once
Liana
brought
home
a
trophy,
Mary
was
hooked.
Their
life
soon
became
devoted
to
pageantry.

Liana and Mary Pirraglia.
Liana
and
Mary
Pirraglia.

Edmund
J
Coppa

“When
you
have
a
child
who
likes
to
perform,
that’s
something
you
want
to
nurture
and
you
want
them
to
do
it
as
frequently
as
possible,”
Mary
said.
Pageants
happened
every
weekend
all
around
the
country,
so
it
was
an
easy
way
to
get
Liana
up
onstage.

She
competed
in
both
“natural
pageants,”
which
are
more
toned-down
affairs,
and
“high
glitz”
ones
featuring
extra
dramatic
get-ups.

Liana
said
she
wasn’t
bothered
by
the
intense
scrutiny
and
“never
thought
of
comparing
myself
to
the
other
girls.”

She
gave
up
pageants
when
she
was
11
to
focus
on
acting
in
plays,
commercials
and
small,
independent
movies
and
hasn’t
stopped
performing
since.

Liana Pirraglia in 2009 in her pageant wear.
Liana
Pirraglia
in
2009
in
her
pageant
wear.

Courtesy
of
Mary
Pirraglia

She’s
currently
majoring
in
musical
theater
at
the
American
Musical
and
Dramatic
Academy
in
Manhattan.
Recently,
the
model
was
flown
down
to
Atlanta
to
appear
in
the
new
Hooters
of
America
campaign.
She
also
works
on
creating
content
for
her
17,000

TikTok
followers

and

Instagram
fans
.

Liana
still
draws
on
her
pageant
training
today,
although
she
and
her
mom
say
being
on
the
reality
show
did
have
its
drawbacks.

Mary
said
that
when
filming
their
original
episode,
she
and
Liana
were
told
they’d
be
competing
in
a
natural
pageant,
and
were
stunned
when
they
showed
up
at
a
glitz
competition,
leaving
them
totally
unprepared.

When
appearing
on
the
show,
Mary
said
she
had
to
sign
a
contract
that
allowed
her
child
to
be
interviewed
three
times
without
her
there.

“When
we
watched
the
episode
with
a
whole
bunch
of
family
and
friends
at
a
rented
location,
I
was
horrified,”
said
Mary.
During
an
interview,
Liana
took
her
long
locks
and
pulled
them
under
her
armpits,
pretending
to
have
armpit
hair,
something
she
had
never
done
before.

Still,
“I’m
grateful
for
the
experience,
even
though
I
was
a
little
awkward,”
Liana
said.

“I
have
‘Toddlers
in
Tiaras’
on
my
résumé,”
she
continued.
“That’s
something
casting
directors
always
ask
about.”

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