Eden Wood has grown up surrounded by glitz and glamour.
A star of the popular — and controversial — TLC reality series “Toddlers & Tiaras,” the 6-year-old Arkansas native has won more than 300 beauty pageants, dressed in a dazzling parade of over-the-top outfits and shoes to match.
In the pageant world, known for its cutthroat competition, achieving that perfect, show-stopping look is the difference between clinching the title and going home empty-handed. So Eden and mom Mickie Wood, her manager and fashion guru, spend hours strategizing and shopping for her flashy ensembles, dropping thousands of dollars along the way. And when they can’t find what they are looking for in the stores, they get creative, sometimes giving a pair of shoes the do-it-yourself treatment. “My mama will paint and bling out a [plain shoe],” Eden said.
While Eden and her fellow pageant contestants have been criticized for their ultra-mature looks, Mickie insists it’s all just for fun. That includes the heels Eden wears when she struts the stage. “You’re not going to tell me that my kid wearing a small heel for an hour or two a few times a month is going to scar her for life. If she wore them 24/7, I get it: not good,” she said. “But for fun, they are adorable on her. She says they make her feel like a princess, so there you go.”
And away from the glare of the spotlight, Mickie said, her daughter is like any other 6-year-old, preferring to hang out in jeans and a comfy pair of kicks.
With her star on the rise, Eden stunned fans recently, announcing she has decided to hang up her tiara and retire from the pageant circuit to focus on her budding singing and acting career.
She already has released several music singles, landed her first movie role and also is getting into the fashion world. She attended New York Fashion Week for the first time last month, where she mingled with designers including Marc Jacobs, and just inked a contract with Sonoma, Calif.-based Cicciabella to serve as spokesgirl for the brand’s new Cowgirl Riders collection of kids’ boots and slippers.
Here, the pint-size pageant queen gives Footwear News a glimpse into her glamorous shoe wardrobe.
Pairs owned: “More than I can even count.”
Personal style: “Very girly and frou-frou.”
Favorite brands: Cicciabella, Skechers
Shoe-shopping spots: “Anywhere there is a shoe rack.”
Favorite shoe style: “Fun sneakers so I can be a tomboy when I’m not glammed up and on stage.”
Least favorite style: “I’m not crazy about the shoes I wear for my pageant beauty routines. They’re just plain-old white [dress shoes] — a little boring for me.”
Go-to brand for pageant shoes: “My mama says, ‘You name it, we’ve tried it.’ And when we can’t find the right color or style of shoes to match my outfit, my mama will paint and bling out a [plain] pair of shoes. Once, when she spray-painted some go-go boots gold, I snuck some of the paint and changed my pink Barbie car to gold to match my new boots and outfit. She wasn’t too happy about that.”
Most memorable pageant shoes: “My Vegas showgirl shoes. They were like something Cinderella would wear, but with the [over-the-top] bling that Eden Wood wears.”
Celebrity fashion idol: “Selena Gomez. She always looks so pretty.”
Favorite city for shopping: “Hollywood because it just fits my style well.”
Dream shoe: “A Selena Gomez-designed sneaker.”
How will your look change as you transition from pageants to music? “You know my mama will have me dressed fashionista-fabulous. She will probably have feathers on my shoes. She sure has them on everything else [I wear].”
What would an Eden Wood fashion line look like? “I [would] want it to be for little girls and have pink, pink and more pink. But my mama says it can’t be all pink, so maybe a little dark pink, too.”