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MOUNT WASHINGTON - For a beauty pageant veteran like seven-year-old Chloe Billings, bright lights and cameras seemed like a logical next step in her quest for childhood pageant fame.
The Mount Washington Elementary School student is familiar with makeup sessions, dress fittings and on-stage appearances.
And just recently she came face-to-face with the lights and cameras of television show production. Chloe was selected in early spring to be on TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras reality show, which takes a behind-the-scenes look at the drama, glitz and fanfare surrounding little girls and boys seeking crowns and pageant titles.
Since Chloe was about three and a half she has participated in between 65 and 70 pageants, said Chloe’s mother, Mandy Billings.
Mandy entered her daughter in her first pageant at a local mall several years ago.
After Chloe took home all the awards for her age category, Mandy realized Chloe had gifts of poise, modeling and performing.
“After she knew she could win, then she wanted to do it after that,” Mandy said.
And Chloe said she does enjoy pageants, even though they are a lot of hard work.
“I like being in pageants because you can win money and trophies,” Chloe said. “I like to dress up because you look more prettier than what you (normally) look like because you have all the makeup on, the hair and a dress.”
When Chloe entered the America’s Trezured Dollz pageant in Nashville, Tenn., earlier this year, she and her mother didn’t realize that TLC was searching for contestants to feature on Toddlers and Tiaras.
To their surprise, Chloe’s entry photos and forms impressed the show’s producers and she was selected to be on the June 16 show.
The Toddlers and Tiaras film crew followed Chloe and her family in the days leading up to the Trezured Dollz pageant. On the Thursday and Friday before the event, the crew came to the Billings’ Mount Washington home and followed Chloe as she prepared for the pageant. The crew filmed her at a local salon, preparing her outfits and as she and her family got into their cars to head to Nashville. Then the crew filmed portions of the Trezured Dollz pageant, where Chloe won mini supreme - also known as second place - in the 4-9 age group.
“I got really nervous, but after I got kind of used to it, I was fine,” Chloe said of being followed by television cameras for several days.
Mandy said that although Chloe is used to being on stage in front of judges, being in front of cameras was a totally different experience for her daughter.
“At first when they got there, I think there were seven or eight in the crew. There were cameras, lights, and she’s never done anything like that before. But after about 10 minutes she was fine,” Mandy said.
Mandy - who will also be featured in the show assisting her daughter - said she and Chloe don’t exactly know what to expect on the show, but are excited to get national television attention. Mandy said Chloe loves to model and that the show might give her daughter an opportunity to get exposure.
“We’ve always tried to kind of get a foot out there. We really don’t know anybody who does that kind of stuff,” she said.
And pageants are something that Chloe said she will probably be doing for a long time. She enjoys dressing up, especially in her bathing suit.
“I want to keep doing pageants. The most out of all my beauty and stuff, I like my bathing suit the most,” she said.
Chloe said she still gets a little nervous when she gets on stage although she has participated in dozens of pageants.
“You get kind of nervous when you’re in your line to go on stage, because when you get on stage you have all those people looking at you,” she said.
Mandy is a bit nervous but ready for the show’s June 16 airing on TLC at 10 p.m.
“I am excited. I’m a little nervous, because I said, you know, I’m going to be on there also and I’m not so excited about that. We’re just hoping it takes her elsewhere,” she said.
And as for Chloe, she has hardly been able to stand the wait since the filming earlier this year.
“I felt really happy and after they filmed me, I was waiting for the show really bad. I wanted to see it,” she said.
Chloe is the daughter of Mandy and Gary Billings and has an older brother, Cody.