Forget toddlers and tiaras -- try infants and tiaras. For Ellie Granda, the pageant life is all she's ever known. She won her first competition at six months and has gone on to place in over 75 others.
After being featured on TLC's "Toddlers & Tiaras" this past winter, Ellie's parents, Christian and Barbie Granda, spoke with azfamily.com and said competing in toddler pageants is -- contrary to popular opinion -- "normal."
"That's the sad part, 'Toddlers & Tiaras,' they want the drama," Christian Granda said. "You see the crazy people."
For Ellie, who dedicates most of her extra-curricular time to pageants and dance competitions, "normal" means fake nails, fake tans, fake teeth and fake eyelashes (although it seems that she's skipped over the fake boobs that some "Toddlers & Tiaras" stars have worn in the past).
While some medical professionals see this as detrimental to young girls' development -- "[I'm] highly concerned for the future development of these children, for their self-esteem and their self identity," child pscyhologist Beth Onufrak told azfamily.com -- the Granda family compares these sorts of pageant accoutrement to protective gear worn by child athletes.
While Ellie's parents are busy defending their decisions, Ellie seems to just be enjoying the ride. "My friends at school ... they think I'm a celebrity," Ellie told azfamily.com. This is unsurprising considering that a quick Google search not only turns up a variety of YouTube videos made by adoring fans, but a Facebook fan page (monitored closely by her father).
Click over to azfamily.com to read more about the Granda family.