Published: 00:01, 18 July 2014
A mum-of-three who enters her young daughters into beauty pageants has had to defend herself against criticism on social media.
Lucy Starr was forced to delete Facebook ‘friends’ after they questioned her parenting when her four-year-old daughter Leyla was crowned the Face of Canterbury at a ‘minnies’ pageant.
But the defiant mum insists the contests are more about the girls’ personalities and raising money for charity rather than the way they look.
Mrs Starr, 34, who lives in Snowdown Close, Aylesham, with her husband David, said: “There is no way I am going to plaster them in make-up and put them in high heels at their age.
"I know there are some pageants like that, especially in America, but not the ones my girls take part in.
“Neither is it me pushing them to enter. They love it and it has done wonders for their confidence because they are interviewed and their personalities have to shine through. They are also excited to be raising money for charity.”
But Mrs Starr, whose seven-year-old Ella also enters pageants, revealed she suffered barbed comments from Facebook ‘friends’ after posting pictures of her daughters on her page.
She said: “One said they couldn’t understand parents who put their children into beauty pageants but she clearly didn’t check out this style of competition.
"Another said my daughters had no talent and just wear dresses on a stage. But I deleted them and have brushed off the comments because I am very proud of my daughters.”
Speaking about Leyla’s latest pageant success, Mrs Starr added: “She wore her favourite Tinkerbell dress, talked about her favourite Disney character and even sang to the judges, which is what I think won them over.
“But because she was runner-up, it means we have to fund her trip to the European finals at Disneyland in October, which is going to cost £300.
"As she is going as the Face of Canterbury, we are hoping a local business might be interested in sponsoring her.”
Leyla has helped raise £500 for Headway, Grant a Disney Wish and the Pilgrims Hospice and the family is organising a charity football match in Chartham on August 10. Anyone who can help sponsor her can email Mrs Starr at firstname.lastname@example.org
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