We teach our kids the importance of honesty and being true to yourself, but those traits did not pay for teen beauty queen Olivia O’Neil. The 15-year-old New Zealander was stripped of her Miss Teen Wanganui title after just a three-month reign because she committed the terrible sin of dyeing her hair.
That’s right, it wasn’t drinking or cheating or any other scandalous behavior that cost her the title. Rather it was thinking for herself and experimenting with a new look.
Child beauty pageants are a controversial area to begin with. Many people don’t think kids should be allowed to participate in them, because of the rampant stage momism and potentially blows to their self-esteem. I think Miss Teen Wangunui just proved them right.
Now Olivia is talking about the tantrums and trouble behind the scenes at the pageant, supported by her parents. So what happened and what does she look like now?
“Is that a wig?” asked pageant organizer Barbara Osborne on her page. Olivia said it was not and added, in true teen fashion, that if her new hair was not “pageant worthy,” perhaps she herself was not a pageant girl.
Osborne called her bluff and said if she had that attitude, Olivia had better hand over that crown right now so the committee could give it to someone with manners. She also warned Olivia she would “not go far in this world.”
Olivia was outraged, but rather than seethe in silence, she publicized Osborne’s comments and told a local newspaper that the girls in the pageant had been criticized for their appearance, yelled at, told to do sit-ups, and ordered to wear more makeup. Her father confirmed this and said such treatment was unfair.
Though Osborne has since been removed from the beauty pageant’s board, Olivia is not getting her crown back. Still, it seems she maintained her self-esteem, which is more than can probably be said of some of her competitors.