A mother-of-two who allows her pageant star children to wear revealing outfits and high heels on stage insists she’s not sexualising them and claims they are more at risk from paedophiles on the beach.
Tiffany Coker, 28, of West Drayton, Middlesex, emphatically defends her decision to allow her daughter, Crystal, four, to wear make-up and skimpy outfits and son Harvey, 11, to dress as ‘Dave’, the twerking businessman in high heels and shorts, from the MoneySuperMarket advert
‘Harvey’s costume was just a bit of fun,’ said Tiffany. ‘Pageants are just about dressing up and building children’s confidence.’
This is despite the controversial ad generating 1,513 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority – with some viewers suggesting it was homophobic and could encourage hate crimes – making it the most-complained about commercial of 2016.
It’s received 455 complaints in 2017, making it the most complained advert of the year so far.
‘My kids love doing pageants and dressing like ‘Dave’ was just a laugh,’ said Tiffany. ‘Pageants are a very controlled environment. There is strict security, making them safe places, where people go to enjoy themselves. You have to pay to enter and have a kid with you. It’s all very above board.
Tiffany Coker, 28, of West Drayton, Middlesex, emphatically defends her decision to allow her daughter, Crystal, four, to wear make-up and skimpy outfits at beauty pageants
Harvey, 11, likes to dress as ‘Dave’, the twerking businessman in high heels and shorts, from the MoneySuperMarket advert
Crystal and Tiffany at a pageant, which she insists is a safe environment for children
‘Children aren’t being sexualised at these pageants. Kids wear skimpier outfits on the beach.’
Full-time mum Tiffany, who plans to take a job when Crystal turns five in March, introduced her children to the competitions after watching ‘Blinging Up Baby,’ on Channel 5, which took viewers behind the scenes of children’s pageants.
‘I contacted a mum on Facebook who I’d seen on ‘Blinging Up Baby,’ she explained. ‘She was lovely and told me all about pageants, what to do and how to get involved.’
Tiffany asked her mum, Evelyn Coker, 59, what she thought about pageants, initially thinking Crystal, who is already a keen dancer, could compete.
Crystal strikes a pose in her camouflage outfit. Her mother was inspired to enter her in pageants after watching Blinging Up Baby
Harvey dressed as Dave from the Moneysupermarket advert (left). Crystal shows off her dance moves on stage (right)
Tiffany was investigating entering Crystal into pageants when Harvey expressed an interest in joining in
Harvey dressed up as Boy George (left) and performing on stage in a sequinned hat and waistcoat (right)
The confident youngster is eager to enter further pageants
Crystal wears a dress, or a fancy dress costume, a hairpiece and a bit of make-up when competing in pageants
But Evelyn suggested Harvey might enjoy them, too.
And, after both children expressed an interest, she entered them in their first pageant in Kent in June.
Crystal was awarded Queen placement and ‘photogenic,’ while Harvey was awarded Ultimate King, meaning they were both rated very highly.
Tiffany, who is no longer with either of her children’s dads, continued: ‘It was a proud moment for us all and really gave them the pageant bug. They’ve taken part in five now and plan to enter more.
Crystal dressed up in a red and white spotty outfit for a pageants (left) and in a camouflage crop top and shorts
Crystal was awarded Queen placement and ‘photogenic,’ in her first pageant in June
‘They don’t just do it to win, though, they enjoy taking part. Even if they don’t win, they get sashes and crowns and have made friends.’
Being a pageant mum has also opened up a whole new social life for Tiffany.
She said: ‘I’ve made friends with some of the other pageant mums and now we talk regularly. We discuss pageants but other things, too – just chatting about our day.’
Despite taking up to an hour-and-a-half to get ready and sacrificing their weekends to travel across the UK to pageants, the children still love doing them.
Tiffany insists her children love taking part in pageants despite having to give up weekends and travel for hours to attend
Crystal tends to put a lot of preparation for pageants and spends time practicing her routine. Her brother, however, will just get up on the stage and perform with much rehearsal
Crystal wears a dress, or a fancy dress costume, a hairpiece and a bit of make-up.
‘I put fake tan on her once, that’s all,’ said Tiffany. ‘But there is something a bit off about putting fake tan on a four-year-old.
‘I put a bit of make-up on her, though.’
Meanwhile, as well as competing as ‘Dave,’ her son, Harvey, has dressed-up as flamboyant singer, Boy George.
The proud mother said that her children don’t do pageants just to win. They enjoy the social side and have made new friends through competing
Crystal and Harvey pose in their costumes before a pageant
Harvey shows off the prizes he’s won since starting to compete in pageants earlier this year
‘He’s fine with it,’ Tiffany explained. ‘Whereas Crystal will practice for her act, he will just get up there and do it. He loves it.’
Pageant dresses can cost up to £1,000 new, but Tiffany spends between £50 and £100 on Crystal’s frocks, which she buys secondhand, from mums whose kids have outgrown them.
And her mum, Evelyn, treats them all by paying any other pageant costs.
‘It is expensive,’ Tiffany explained. ‘It costs up to £60 a child to enter.
‘But it’s grandma’s treat for her grandkids.
‘They love it and Mum and I love seeing them having fun.’
Thei children’s grandmother Evelyn helps out with the cost of entering pageants