Anderson Cooper's talk show Anderson, is touching on the much hyped reality t.v. show Toddlers and Tiara's today (May 3), and he brings on singer/actress and former Miss America herself, Vanessa Williams, who strongly believes the whole concept of baby beauty pageants is wrong.
Although the show highlights little girls forced to act like grown women with full make-up, eyelashes, botox treatments, tanning, and more, the reality of it is, in an industry that racks up 5 billion dollars a year, it's not about the babies at all. “It's all about the parents,” says Vanessa.
“I think they don't know what they are doing,” says Williams, 49, of the pageant moms. “When the child is screaming and saying, 'I don't want to do this. I don't feel like doing it.' When they are using special juice to get them hyped…”
The “juice” she's referring to is actually a mixture of Mountain Dew and 7-Up, which the moms on the show call “Go Go Juice.” “I have actually tasted Go Go Juice,” Cooper admits. “That's not my world,” Williams, a mother of four, insists. “And I would never have my kids do that.”
As the first African American to be crowned Miss America in 1994, and forfeiting the honor after explicit nude photos (taken before her beauty pageant days) were published by Penthouse, Williams has a lot to say worth listening to. In her new memoir, You Have No Idea, she reveals other long-hidden details of her past, including an abortion at age 18 and the experience of being molested by a female babysitter at age 10. Because she didn't grow up in the public eye, the actress took pains to keep her secrets to herself.
“I became Miss America and people didn't even know about me smoking pot, having a boyfriend, having an abortion,” she tells Cooper. “I had lived life before I became famous.”