A mother has defended spending £13,000 on entering her seven-year-old daughter into beauty pageants, saying they’ve transformed her from a shy girl to a confident ‘princess’.
Mother-of-one Madara Zilberte, 30, of Wellingborough in Northamptonshire, says she often gets filthy looks and comments from strangers and even her own family for giving her daughter, Tina Walczak, make-up, false nails, and crop tops to wear.
But the retail team leader says it was Tina’s choice to enter beauty pageants – and say they’ve helped the youngster ‘come out of her shell’.
Madara Zilberte (right in left picture), 30, from Northamptonshire, says her daughter, Tina Walczak (left and right), seven, loves performing in beauty pageants, and wearing false nails, eyelashes, make-up and expensive dresses. She has performed in dozens of pageants over the course of two years, including the Teenie pageant in 2017 (pictured right taking part in the swimwear round)
Tina loves competing in the pageants and she entered her first ones in 2016 (pictured left at a Teenie competition that year). She went on to win the same pageant the next year in 2017 (pictured right wearing a flapper-inspired outfit when she won the contest)
Mother reveals how much she has spent on entering beauty pageants for her daughter
Outfits – £600
Pageant entry fee – £1400
Talent/swimwear competition extra rounds – £600
Makeup – £60
Dresses – £8,000
Hair pieces/styling – £500
Hotels – £500
Travel – £600
Food – £800
Jewellery – £200
TOTAL COSTS – £13,260
It has come at a cost, however, as Madara has spent thousands on kitting her daughter out in make-up, clothes, accessories and entry fees over the two years Tina has been competing.
The cost includes £8,000 on dresses alone, £1,900 on the cost of travelling to the competitions and £1,400 on entry fees.
But Madara says that Tina is worth every penny.
She said: ‘Tina used to be too shy to talk in front of people. But since competing in pageants, she has transformed into a confident performer.
‘Seeing her so happy, I know it is money well spent.’
Madara says primary school pupil Tina dreamt of becoming a pageant star after watching Toddlers and Tiaras, a reality show about American beauty pageants, in April 2016.
She says: ‘Tina fell in love with the dolled-up little girls on the show.
‘She wanted to be just like one of them with their glamorous dresses, elaborate hair pieces and made-up faces.
Tina Walczak, seven, pictured in 2017 wearing her most popular outfit, ‘Pepsi Girl’ which is made by her mother Madara and won her ‘Best Outfit’ at one pageant she competed in. However some of her family members thought her crop top was inappropriate for a young girl
Tina Walczak, seven, from Northamptonshire, pictured in 2017 before winning the Teenie pageant wearing a flapper-inspired outfit (left). This year, she came fourth in the same pageant (right)
‘After the show finished, Tina begged me to let her become a beauty pageant girl. So I searched online and discovered pageants are held over the country.’
In May 2016, Madara entered Tina into her first competition at the Supreme Stars beauty pageant in Peterborough.
Madara says: ‘I bought Tina a £400 dress, £60 make up, £150 hair pieces and £20 jewellery.
‘Then I paid £220 for the pageant entry fee, swimwear and talent rounds, hotel, travel and food for the big day.
‘In total I spent £850 on her first pageant but I didn’t mind spending the money because it was making my daughter so happy.
‘She has come out of her shell completely because of it.’
Madara Zilberte, 30 pictured above her daughter Tina Walczak, seven, and Tina’s dad, Wojciech Walczak, 38, in a family snap
Madara says that Tina loves winning pageants, and that she always come in the top finalist positions if she doesn’t claim the crown. Tina is pictured surrounded by her prizes from contests she has entered including a huge trophy for winning the 2017 Teenie pageant
Tina Walczak pictured in 2018 before winning the UK Princess & Prince International beauty pageant (left) and in 2016 competing in the Teenie pageant (right)
Since then, tiny Tina has competed in 20 beauty pageants, has won first place twice and is always in the top finalists.
Madara said: ‘Tina absolutely loves makeup and dressing up. Every time I apply mascara on her eyelashes and put pink lipstick on her, she grins from ear-to-ear for the whole day.
‘It’s really made her a confident little girl. I don’t think that people should criticise pageant mums for putting make-up on young girls, when parents do that to their daughters for dance competitions. It’s no different.’
But not everyone approves of Tina’s beauty pageants.
She said: ‘My family came to watch Tina compete in UK Princess and Prince International beauty Pageant in Manchester when she was six.
‘As we cheered in the audience, Tina came on stage wearing her most popular outfit, ‘Pepsi Girl’, which I made for her. She wore a skimpy blue skirt, red pants, a crop top, lit up trainers and knee high socks- teamed with red lipstick.
Tina Walczak, seven, pictured in 2017 winning 5th place in the Teenie pageant nationals, for which she won an elaborate tiara (left). She got through to the nationals after winning her regional contest in 2017 (right)
Tina Walczak, seven, pictured with her mum Madara Zilberte, 30, and her dad Wojciech Walczak, 38, from Northamptonshire
Tina Walczak, seven, from Northamptonshire, pictured this year getting ready for a pageant (left). She won first place in the UK Princess & Prince International beauty pageant this year (pictured right competing in it)
‘It won her ‘best outfit’ that day, but my family questioned why I let her wear crop tops at such a young age. I told them that it was innocent fun, and they should be happy for Tina doing so well.’
Madara claims strangers have also been quick to judge.
She says: ‘One day we took Tina to McDonalds after she’d competed in a pageant. She was wearing a lot of makeup and had backcombed hair with a big hairpiece in.
‘As we were stood waiting to order, I noticed strangers whispering and staring at Tina. They were saying how disgraceful it was. It was so upsetting because they judged her immediately.
‘Luckily Tina didn’t hear their whispers.’
Madara lives with partner and Tina’s dad Wojciech Walczak, 38, a warehouse operator, who is supportive of his daughter’s expensive hobby – driving her to competitions and taking pictures of the shows.
He said: ‘People think my partner spends too much money on pageants, but they don’t see what a great time our family has. To all the critics out there, I have one thing to say, all young girls want is to be a princess, so why would I stop my daughter from dressing like one?’