Glitz and Drama Down Under (on The Huffington Post Style)

The tension has been building for months — the online protests started in April, and then there were the rallies in May. Not to mention the Facebook threats and numerous complaints to public officials. Despite all the brouhaha, an “American-style” child beauty pageant sponsored by Texas-based Universal Royalty took place over the weekend in Melbourne, Australia.

About 80 girls competed and 200 people attended the pageant. The event was not open to the general public, but it was covered by Australia’s A Current Affair. All in all it seems the event was a success.

The pageant was not drama-free though. But it wasn’t the protesters, demonstrating about 3 km away, who caused a fuss. Rather it was Eden Wood, the “child beauty pageant star” from the U.S. who had traveled to Australia to meet her fans and help promote the event.

Eden Wood was a no-show over the weekend.

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ETA: I was contacted by Heather Ryan, Eden Wood’s manager, about my story. I wanted to present her perspective– some of which, but not all of which, has been presented in other media accounts.  A correspondent for the rival TV show to A Current Affair, Today Tonight, which covered the “Wood family entourage,” has offered his own version of how the events of last weekend went down. You can read his account by clicking HERE; his account has been endorsed by Heather Ryan.

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