SHE’S not even out of nappies, but Holly Young is a prize-winning dancer and beauty queen.
Just 17 months old, the Sunderland tot is already a veteran of the pageant scene.
Wowing judges with her cute smile, she has picked up trophies at Miss Princess UK, English Diamonds, Miss Princess Royalty and Miss Natural Sparkle.
She is also lined up to take part in another three pageants this year, and is a regular at Chance to Dance dance school in Chester Road.
Now mum Christine, from Thornhill, says she wants to dispel the negative image of kids’ beauty pageants.
On controversial American reality TV show Toddlers & Tiaras, which followed the world of child beauty pageants, mothers were criticised after their children were seen paraded in thick make-up and skimpy costumes.
However, Christine said the British events Holly has attended help boost children’s confidence.
The 27-year-old, who modelled and went to dance classes, said: “I always said, if I had a little girl I would put her into pageants.
“They have such a bad stigma and such a bad press. But everyone I have met through the pageants is lovely.
“Unless people have done it then they don’t know.
“She has won money and a modelling contract. My mam makes her outfits, so we don’t spend a fortune on costumes.”
Christine, who also has a son Ewan, nine, said she would not take Holly to the events if she did not enjoy them.
“She just loves being on the stage, because all of her cousins dance, so she has always seen them dance.
“She is really confident already and that is just from being on stage and mixing with other kids.
“Her brother is quite shy and I did not want her to be.
“It’s not just the judging – it is for all the parents and kids to meet up – and I would not make her do anything she did not want to do.”
Holly, who has been taking part in pageants for about a year, also has a collection of dance trophies after competing against other tiny dancers in tap, modern and lyrical dance offs.
The pageants Holly competes in can see little ones donning lavish costumes, and showing off talents from singing and dancing to magic tricks.
But Christine says there is a difference between natural beauty contests – which she prefers – and the glitz competitions, where kids can sport make-up and hairpieces.
“Nearly every pageant is charity-based and every single one we have done is for charity,” she said.
“I think they do lots for the kids and the charities.
“They are nothing like the American beauty pageants.
“It wasn’t my decision to put Holly in dance classes. We went along and she cried to be up on stage.”
She added: “She’s very headstrong and knows what she wants.”