Break out your fake eyelashes and flippers, y’all, and join us in the world of the Fancy Faces pageant in Oklahoma…
:01 — Todd James, the pageant emcee, tells us the pageant is about “bringing glitz back to Oklahoma!” Finally! A long-awaited end to Oklahoma’s glitz drought.
:01 – We meet SamiJo, an ol’ pageant pro at the wizened age of 15 months. Her mother Tricia shares just how, um, dedicated she is:
“I decided to put SamiJo in pageants because that’s the whole reason I wanted to have a daughter,” Tricia states matter-of-factly.
Well, why ELSE would you get pregnant? Duh. And Tricia’s winning attitude doesn’t end there:
“When I found out she was a girl, I wanted to name her America. I wanted her name to be Miss America.”
Suddenly, “SamiJo” doesn’t sound so bad.
:03 – Bubbly redhead Jaclynn, 4, looks at the camera. “I love pageants,” she coos with a wink. Then we meet Jaclynn’s family, who has a passion for… yodeling. And… yet more yodeling. And… [PUT TV ON MUTE FOR NEXT MINUTE, THEN:] “We’re a great pageant family,” Jaclynn’s wide-eyed step-mom declares enthusiastically, as we learn Jaclynn’s teenage step-sister Mercedes is a seasoned pageant competitor, as well as Jaclynn’s coach and biggest supporter. Perhaps it’s just all the yodeling clouding my head, but this family actually appears kind of sweet and down-to-earth.
CUT TO: A touching aside with little Jaclynn.
“I love pageants and I want to win money,” Jaclynn exclaims, adding with a conspiratorial whisper: “I’m gonna win a thousand bucks!”
Okay, so they did seem down-to-earth. I swear.
:04 – Introducing 5-year-old Alexis, who has humble aspirations: “When I grow up, I want to be a singer, a star, a movie star, a director and, best of all, an artist.”
:06 – We learn SamiJo’s family runs a turtle farm, with the turtles bought and used for “Indian artifacts and food.” Darn it, I wish they hadn’t mentioned that! Now I have a hankering for turtle casserole.
But no time for turtle delicacies now! Because 15-month-old SamiJo is clearly in this pageant to win, having splashed out money on a PAGEANT COACH. Meanwhile, SamiJo’s clearly stable mom continues her campaign for Mother of the Year:
“I prayed and prayed and prayed that God would give me a Miss America… When I found out I was having a third boy, I became depressed. Having SamiJo was a dream come true. I couldn’t have pre-ordered a better baby.”
:07 – Alexis’ mom coaches her daughter, instructing her to be “sharper on her ‘pretty hands’.” (Fancy pageant term for “wave.”) Alexis takes the criticism well, starts banging her head against the wall.
“Stop it! I don’t want that shit on national television. Thank you,” Alexis’ mom grumbles as she carries a crying Alexis out of the room.
Welcome to my world, Alexis’ dad sighs with his eyes. (Yes! I’m a professional eye reader.)
:13 – We get to witness the coaching expertise of Jaclynn’s stepsister Mercedes and stepmother.
My sentiments exactly, Jaclynn.
:14 – SamiJo’s mom goes shopping with Mrs. Oklahoma for the pageant. Despite being a beauty queen herself, Mrs. Oklahoma doesn’t exactly share Tricia’s passion for kiddie pageants:
“A lot of times parents do put a lot of pressure on kids to become what THEY want,” Mrs. Oklahoma says pointedly. “But for me, I feel like I should let my children make their own decisions. I would never have my daughter do a pageant.”
Somewhere, SamiJo’s mom’s head just exploded.
:16 – Alexis and her mother are at the salon. Oh fun! For a manicure…? Um, no…
“We get Alexis’ EYEBROWS WAXED because number one, because she has a little unibrow and they grow together and we have to get rid of that,” Alexis’ mom tells us.
Just what every five-year-old needs! And, boy oh boy, is Alexis ever excited about it.
“No, no don’t do my eyebrows!” Alexis pleads, apparently terrified of the procedure ever since another salon poured scalding hot wax on her face AND RIPPED OFF HER SKIN. But, hey, who ever said beauty was easy? Not her mom, that’s for sure. Toughen up, kid! What’s a little skin, anyway? Geesh.
“Normally I would just hold her down and rip it off,” Alexis’ mom shrugs, as her freshly waxed daughter cries and clings to her leg.
:17 – SamiJo’s mom is considering fake nails for 15-month-old SamiJo. Even the coach is appalled, thinks it looks “weird… like she has humongously long claws.” SamiJo’s mom is undeterred. After all, she also SPRAY-TANS her 15-month-old (because she wants SamiJo to “be the first baby to win Ultimate Grand Supreme”)…
… So, let’s be real, baby claws are not going to seem out of the ordinary for this woman.
:24 – At the Fancy Faces pageant. SamiJo’s off-the-should dress keeps moving, so what do they do…? DUCT-TAPE it to her baby skin. Naturally.
“This is what the pros do,” SamiJo’s mom reveals, finishing her off with mascara and other totally necessary makeup.
:28 – SamiJo’s coach carries her on-stage. Her mom tells us that HER job is to attract SamiJo’s attention with a noise no one else makes – a noise not unlike a bird in the Amazon rainforest. BUT… uh-oh! SamiJo runs away from her coach, then tries to do a somersault, to her mom’s horror.
“That’s not showing poise and grace,” her mom says disappointedly. “She did horrible. Horrible!” the coach and her mom declare, instilling the sort of good attitude and confidence that every little girl needs. SamiJo’s mom’s nerves are starting to crack. “Hey, cool it, missy! ” she growls when SamiJo acts fussy. “I think she’s sleepy. She needs her special juice,” her coach says.
Special juice = Coke. Huh. In that case, I’m going to start calling donuts my “special vegetable.”
:37 – But it’s all for SamiJo’s own good! “I don’t know how SamiJo would react today if she didn’t win,” her mom cries, concerned. If I had to guess, I would say she’d react by throwing herself into an intense game of Peek-a-Boo.
:38 – Looks like we’re going to find out because SamiJo is having an off day, sadly. Her mom’s dreams of an Ultimate Supreme title fading away.
:40 — DRAMA! Alexis is running late. When she finally goes on-stage…
She makes a subtle entrance.
:46 – Alexis decides she wants to sing a made-up song about hamsters for the talent competition. Surprisingly, her mom nixes that idea. LAME. Hamsters are so underappreciated. So, instead, Alexis goes up and does a talent routine that she hadn’t practiced. The result: Stumbling through “Mary Had a Little Lamb” over and over and over again, topped off by an awkward cartwheel. It’s so awful, it’s awesome. “Can’t help but laugh though,” her dad says.
Looks like Mom doesn’t exactly agree.
“Talent was good. I was doing some pretty hard stuff,” Alexis says. I love this girl. What she lacks in perspective, she makes up for in confidence!
:47 – MORE DRAMA! Jaclynn jumps off the chair to kick off her talent routine… and falls on her face. A GASP throughout the audience. But Jaclynn doesn’t miss a beat. Her stepmother and stepsister still beaming with pride. How… supportive of them! (Don’t they know they’re on Toddlers & Tiaras, Home of The Crazy?)
:54 – Despite winning talent and fancy wear, SamiJo only earns first runner-up. “We didn’t have as good as day as we’d anticipated,” her mom growls. Phew! There’s our recommended weekly dose of crazy.
:57 — “If she wins or loses, she’s still a princess to us and we’re still really proud of her,” Jaclynn’s stepsister smiles. Okay, this family’s normalcy is just downright WRONG! They clearly need to spend more time with the SamiJo camp.
:58 – Turns out, none of our girls win a supreme title. While Jaclynn’s parents declare how proud they are of their daughter — “I’m a winner,” Jaclynn says endearingly — SamiJo’s mom say she is just looking ahead to the Miss America and Miss Universe pageants. We all cope in our own ways. And SamiJo…? She is probably somewhere looking for Cheerios. With a side of “special juice.”