One of Menifee’s youngest natives will star on TLC’s “Toddlers & Tiaras” on Wednesday.
Three-year-old Bailey Lauritson, known in the pageant world as Bailey Shea, started competing in pageantry competitions in only April of last year, but has already made her way onto one of the most popular reality shows on television. The season six episode of “Toddlers & Tiaras” follows Bailey as she prepares to compete at the California Tropic: Sugar and Spice beauty pageant competition in Las Vegas.
When mom Cora Lauritson and coach Cambrie Littlefield join forces to teach Bailey her dance routine on the televised episode, the toddler gets distracted, something Lauritson says happens often.
“As far as being [3 years old], she definitely gets distracted easy,” said Laurison. “I mean, I’m always yelling at my kids, at the boys, ‘Go away because she wants to see what you’re doing more than she wants to practice,’ but then there’s the times where she just wants everyone to look at her because she wants to put on a show.”
However distracted she may become, Bailey certainly knows how to make her mark on the judges come showtime. Bailey has taken first place in numerous pageants, but it all started in Menifee, where her family has lived since 1996 and still resides today.
Bailey got her start in pageantry at the Miss Menifee Pageant, a “natural” pageant where she placed as the first runner-up. Lauritson believed her daughter should have taken first place and was confident Bailey would “take it all” at her first “glitz” pageant the following day. And she did. Bailey’s win sparked her mother’s interest in “Toddlers & Tiaras."
So how did this little Menifee native get her shot at the hit reality show? Lauritson says it took a lot of phone calls and Bailey’s pageantry talent.
“It took her getting a little bit well-known in the pageant world, I think, for them to kind of open their eyes and say, ‘Okay, who is this girl?’” Lauritson said.
In between the spray tans and buying new eyelashes, Lauritson says Bailey’s favorite part of competing in pageants is similar to any other 3-year-olds.
“Her favorite part of doing pageants, of course, and she would tell you, is being with her friends that she’s met through the pageant world and winning a big crown,” said Lauritson.
Lauritson says she feels obligated to teach her daughter the real benefits of pageantry.
“Pageants, to me, are just a fun way, a fun release for her to have a good time. Who wouldn’t want to be told they’re beautiful standing up there?” said Lauritson. “But there’s more to it than that and people don’t see that. People are so judgmental when it comes to pageants; they don’t even have a clue.”
Lauritson says pageantry is teaching Bailey life skills she can carry with her in her future endeavors.
“She learns to share and be happy for other people when they win, and to work hard for something,” she said.
Lauritson says she does not know how long Bailey will continue to compete in pageants. She does, however, hope Bailey will pursue her evolving modeling career. With a print ad and a shoe campaign already under her belt, Bailey can check pageantry and modeling off her list, all before she turns 4 years old in two weeks.
The episode of "Toddlers & Tiaras" starring Bailey airs Wednesday at 6 p.m. on TLC.