London - If you saw saw a three-year-old girl smothered in pink lipstick and blusher, you would assume she had been playing with her mother’s make-up bag.
Not Savanna Jackson. This little girl from Michigan in the US has a beauty regime fit for someone far beyond her tender years – complete with monthly spray tans.
In fact her mother, Lauren, spends £3,000 (about R40 000) a month entering her into beauty pageants.
Savanna took part in her first contest when she was only ten months old. At two, her mother decided to start giving her monthly tanning sessions – so the other girls wouldn’t have an “unfair advantage”.
Mrs Jackson has defended her decision, saying the process was perfectly safe and her daughter ‘loves’ her darker skin tone.
She said: “I just want her to have the best possible opportunity to win. Besides, Savanna loves it. Now, it’s a must for every pageant.
“To me the pageants are about having fun, building up her self-esteem, and giving my girl the best possible opportunity in life. When I see Savannah on that stage, her confidence blossoming, it’s worth every penny. I’m so proud of my tanned toddler.”
Mrs Jackson, 26, first entered her daughter into a “natural pageant”, which allows little or no make-up, when she was ten months old.
After Savanna won, Mrs Jackson began entering her into “more glamorous” pageants. She said: “Savanna loved the attention and being on stage made her happier than I’d ever seen her before.”
Now Mrs Jackson, her daughter and Savanna’s grandmother, Sherry, travel across America from their home in Michigan to attend the contests.
When Savanna reached the age of two, Mrs Jackson began paying for her daughter to have a spray tan, on top of the heavy make-up and elaborate hairstyle.
“I’d seen another contestant with a tan and not wanting the other girls to have an unfair advantage, I got her one too,” she said.
Savanna stands in a special tent while being sprayed with an air brush. A roller is then used to even out any blotchy patches.
Mrs Jackson said: “I was worried it might harm her young skin, so I consulted my doctor who reassured me there would be no side effects and it was 100 percent safe.
“They don’t spray tan her face as I don’t want her swallowing any of the tanning chemicals.
“They then use make-up on her face to make sure the colour matches.”
Savanna, who said her favourite “routine” is swimwear, now receives a spray tan once a month, before every competition. A professional make-up artist then applies eye-liner, mascara, lipstick and neatens her eyebrows.
Mrs Jackson said she still enters Savanna into natural beauty pageants, claiming she feels it is important to teach her daughter she does not need a lot of make-up to feel beautiful.
“There is a line but I strongly feel I’ve kept Savanna on the right side of it,” she said. “I’d never even consider surgery or Botox – she already wears more make-up than I do.” - Daily Mail