Artist's Statement

Ilana Panich-Linsman

Emily Dextraze is an eleven-year-old beauty pageant competitor who lives in Westfield, Massachusetts, a small town of 42,000 people in Western New England located about two hours west of Boston, Massachusetts.

The beauty pageant industry in the United States is estimated to be worth 5 billion U.S. dollars annually; the estimated number of pageants in the U.S. ranges from 5,000 to 100,000, according to an Internet search. It is conservatively estimated that 2.5 million American girls, from babies to teenagers, participate.

The cost to a family for a daughter to participate in a pageant ranges from $1500 to considerably more. Entry fees, elaborate costumes, makeup, hairdressing, artificial tans and weeks of professional coaching contribute to the high cost.