With the rise in popularity of shows like Toddlers and Tiaras, child pageants are becoming more and more popular around the world.


But with its growing popularity comes the growing scrutiny that these types of competitions attract.


2015’s Miss Teen Ireland, Emma Gavin won last year’s competition and says pageants build confidence and teach life skills.


“It’s judged more on personality more than, you know, getting up on stage and how you look and how big your smile is.


“When I own Miss Teen Ireland I went there with no intentions of winning but the first year I did Miss Teen Ireland, I came first.”



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A photo posted by Emma Gavin (@emmagavin2) on


Emma spoke to TV3’s Ireland AM about everything she has gained from competing and why she thinks more young girls should enter.


“It’s fun and I met a load of people from it. I actually met my best friend.


“I did ballet and have done since I was four. I love the stage. Even when I was in Spain I’d do karaoke all the time and I’d make everybody watch me. It was something fun."


The Miss Teen Ireland is open to girls from the age of 14 and Emma says it's been a great confidence builder for her.


“When you’re going up on stage you feel great and you feel good about yourself. When everybody’s clapping for you, you feel great, you feel on top of the world.”



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A photo posted by Emma Gavin (@emmagavin2) on


Emma is set to complete her Leaving Certificate next year and says pageants are a way for her to have fun outside of school life.


“It’s not about winning, it’s not about losing. It’s about going and having a good time. Enjoying yourself is the main thing. If you’re in it to win it, what’s the point, where’s the fun.”



This opinion was echoed by pageant organiser, Jennie Lynch who spoke about the misconceptions of pageants.


"I would encourage those with concerns to actually watch one of our pageants and see that no matter what each girl looks like, everyone in the room is cheering for them.”


It is often assumed that pageants require children to wear lots of makeup, fake tan and hair extensions however, Jennie says this is not the case.


"It is about having fun, a night of glitz and glamour."


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