Delight at having a cute little daughter seems to be no longer enough for more and more American mothers. Two-year-old girls get dolled up in make-up, spray tan and hair extensions and then sent down the catwalk of beauty pageants. Inspired by the controversial yet highly successful reality TV series “Toddlers and Tiaras”, the popularity of these so-called “child beauty pageants” is skyrocketing at present in the USA, according to Danish photographer Laerke Posselt.
In April 2012, she was allowed to take a look behind the scenes of several pageants in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina as well as visit the little participants at home. What she found were open and likeable people. At the same time, she felt somewhat uncomfortable.
The girls are drilled into imitating grown-up pop stars and models. So what is the message that a child gets from such a beauty competition? I am only likeable if I look like Barbie or Beyoncé while other people cheer for me? The parents say it will make their children more confident. Critics call it a form of abuse.
Curriculum Vitae: Laerke Posselt
Laerke Posselt was born in Denmark in 1984. Although still a student, Laerke Posselt has won numerous national and international prizes, including World Press Photo and Pictures of the Year international.
Posselt grew up on the west coast of Denmark. After high school, she moved to Copenhagen where she was admitted to Fatamorgana, the Danish School of Art and Documentary Photography. After Fatamorgana, Posselt studied Film and Media at the University of Copenhagen, and at the age of 22, she started working as a freelance photographer, doing commercial and editorial photography.
Wanting to focus more on social issues and the human condition, and wanting to learn more, Posselt began studying photojournalism at the Danish School of Media and Journalism, in Aarhus, in 2008. As part of her education, she underwent an 18‐month internship at the Danish daily, Politiken.
Posselt is based in Copenhagen and works as a freelance photojournalist. She is represented by Moment Agency.