A Mom who dressed her 7-year-old daughter in a risqué bikini inspired by a Love Island star has now hit back at critics who have accused her of ‘sexualising’ the little girl.
Anita Moss who’s, a finance manager from Southampton, UK, made a white bikini similar to one worn by Amber Davies on the UK hit TV show for her daughter Beau, who was competing in a child beauty pageant.
Anita filmed her daughter performing a suggestive dance routine to the show’s theme song at the Southern Beauties pageant and posted it online, which prompted an instant backlash from onlookers who said the outfit was inappropriate for a child.
However, Anita said on ITV’s Loose Women she’d done nothing wrong and that Beau did not understand the sexual undertones of her dance routine, adding: ‘Perversion is in the eye of the beholder.’
Beau had apparently become obsessed with Amber after spotting her in a glossy magazine, and watching Love Island without her mother’s knowledge.
Her mother said on the show: ‘I’m not here to defend myself, I’m here to set the story straight because in my eyes I’m not doing anything wrong. Beau is Beau, she has a massive character and there’s no changing her.I just want her personality to shine. Obviously I knew Love Island was gonna get a couple of backlash comments anyway because of the swimsuit. At the end of the day, I want it to look authentic.’
She said that Beau didn’t know that there was anything sexual about her costume, insisting the child wanted to mimic a ‘sassy’ lady she’d seen on TV.
‘I think perversion in the eye of the beholder. No matter what they’re wearing I don’t look at a child and think they look sexy. I’m not going to shelter me and Beau and not let her do what she wants to do just because someone else has a problem,’ Anita explained.
Beau had seen Amber in a magazine and asked her mum what Love Island was, before asking if she was allowed to watch it. Despite Anita telling her daughter she wasn’t allowed to, Beau apparently crept into the TV room to watch the raunchy series while her mother was busy in the kitchen.
Beau performed a Love Island themed routine at the Southern Beauties pageant.
Anita said: ‘She’d done Jeremy Kyle and she’d done The Mask but she was like ”Mum I’m sick to death of doing boys.” She’s an amazing actress, she mimics things so well. And I was like ”Would you like to do Love Island then? Amber, shall we just do it?” …and she was like ”Yeah let’s do it mum.”‘
She added: ‘I went on Google and said to her ”What kind of outfit would you wear?” Because it’s got to go with the theme. I’m all about authenticity – for Jeremy Kyle she wore a full suit… with The Mask she wore the same. I couldn’t put her in a wetsuit or anything like that.
‘I let her choose it and that’s what she chose.’
Other girls at the Southern Beauties contest in Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire, copied routines from burlesque movies such as Moulin Rouge and Showgirls.
Beau had on a full face of make-up, hair extensions and had a spray tan the night before the competition.
Her routine began with her posing provocatively on a sun lounger holding her iPhone. Next, a text message announcing her ‘task’ was read out over a tannoy, just like in the show.
Beau pouted as the voiceover said: ‘Girls, it’s time to drop it like it’s hot in today’s challenge, Battle Of The Booties.’
The primary schoolgirl then threw down her phone and danced to a soundtrack of music mixed with audio of Amber. Then the other Love Island girls discussing which boys they are attracted to in the reality TV show villa.
Despite the provocative nature of the dance routine, Anita insisted that pageants are safe spaces for girls and much more ‘toned down’ compared the extreme American competitions.
She said: ‘The pageants are one of the safest places, I’m not just gonna say that because I run them. It’s a very private event only the mother and the child can enter. The child is never left on their own everybody wears wristbands. It’s the safest place.’
Children’s charities recently urged parents not to put their children through contests like Southern Beauties.
Moss previously said: ‘Beau’s competed in America four times so I know exactly what we’re doing. She had a spray tan the night before then had to get up at 6am to wash it it all off. I do her make-up. She wore a wig which was styled the night before. We practised 24 hours a day for about three days. In the last year she has always come first, second or third. I try to do things that are going to work for her personality and be a bit controversial. I’ve been in this game a long time and you have to be a little bit out of the box for people to go ‘wow’. A boring old Cinderella just doesn’t work. They need that edge.’
Beau was one of 40 girls who paid the £60 entry fee to take part in the Southern Beauties contest.
Boss Clare Hunter insisted entrants were encouraged to perform ‘age appropriate’ acts. She said that those who do not do so have points docked but are allowed to continue.
She said at the time: ‘I felt Beau’s routine was great. She is the sassiest little girl and she did brilliantly to win.’
An NSPCC spokesman said at the time: ‘We would always encourage parents to carefully consider what’s appropriate for their child and the impact of placing them in a potentially sexualised setting.’
Child psychologist, Dr Amanda Gummer, said that she is concerned by beauty pageants which ‘teach children to prioritise superficial values’.
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