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. 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.