LOS ANGELES – TLC’s hit series "Toddlers & Tiaras" caused outrage last season when 3-year-old pageant princess “Peppermint Paisley” performed a “Pretty Woman” routine, dressed as Julia Roberts’ 90s character, the hooker with a heart of gold Vivian Ward.
Despite the widespread public outrage over the pint-sized prostitute costume, Paisley’s mom has returned for another season of “Toddlers & Tiaras” and is actually boasting about all the positives the incident brought her young daughter.
“I love living vicariously through my 3-year-old daughter Paisley,” mom Wendy gushes in the premiere episode, which airs Wednesday. “Paisley has competed in over 60 pageants, but it was definitely the ‘Pretty Women’ costume that put Paisley’s name out there.”
Wendy hardly seemed rattled by the retaliation, which put her parenting motivations into question.
'I love living vicariously through my 3-year-old daughter Paisley'
- Paisley's mom
“I love Julia Roberts and I thought, ‘this will be the funniest thing ever.’ Then all of a sudden, BAM! I got a lot of backlash,” she continued. “People were saying that I was sexualizing her, but I made the outfit myself. The outfit was very non-revealing and she would not be as well-known if it was not for that costume.”
However, Wendy’s chirpier-than-thou response has some critics shaking their heads.
"When adults take over the lives of their children, to live vicariously through them, it robs children of their inherent right to discover and embrace who they are, not who a parent wants them to be. This kind of mother-daughter enmeshment can have long-term psychological repercussions,” added Dr. Gregory Jantz, parenting psychologist. “Instead of seeing the ‘Pretty Woman’ controversy as a way to ‘put Paisley’s name out there,’ I wish this mother would have seen and understood the red flags warning her of the potential damage of early sexualization of her 3-year-old, for both their sakes."