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Botox mom says it was all a lie. Why were we so willing to believe it?

Categories: Parenting, The Juggle, Uncategorized

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This week, people around the world were outraged by the story of a California mom who said that she injected her 8-year-old daughter with Botox to make her a contender on the child beauty pageant circuit.

In March 34-year-old Kerry Campbell,a  part-time aesthetician, was interviewed by U.K. tabloid newspaper The Sun about giving her 8-year-old daughter, Britney, body waxes and Botox.

“What I am doing for Britney now will help her become a star,” she told The Sun. ”I’m proud Britney is getting to have these beauty treatments at such a young age. I wish that I’d had the same advantages when I was younger.”

Last week, she appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and CBS’s “Inside Edition” to defend herself; the program also broadcast photos Campbell provided of her injecting her child with the nerve toxin. Just hours after her nationwide appearance, she was under investigation by San Francisco’s Human Services Department; over the weekend, Child Protective Services had removed Britney from her mother’s home. There were too many unanswered questions, they said, about where she had gotten the Botox, whether she was qualified to give the injections, and whether Britney’s pediatrician knew about the treatment; apparently, one question no one thought to ask was “Is this for real?”

Turns out, it wasn’t. Just yesterday, the mom (whose real name is Sheena Upton) released a sworn statement saying that the whole Botox/beauty pageant story was a hoax—and she did it for the money. (The photos, like the one above, were faked.) “The truth is that I have never given my daughter Botox, not allowed her to get any type of waxing, nor is she a beauty pageant contestant,” she said. She accepted $200 “to play the role of Kerry Campbell” for the interview with The Sun, and when ABC and CBS came knocking, she agreed to give interviews to them, too, for as much as $10,000 or more, she said.

Why come clean now? In order to regain full custody of her daughter, whom she coached to go along with the lie.

Which brings me to my main question: Why were we so willing to believe it?

Is it because, after Jon-Benet Ramsey and “Toddlers and Tiaras,” we accept that the kiddie beauty pageant circuit is just part of our society? Does it makes sense, somehow, that people would want to recoup the thousands of dollars they spend on pageant coaches and spangled costumes and so are willing to do anything to give their kids a leg up on the competition? Or is it that, after reading so many real-life stories about pageant parents who make the tiny contestants, some just toddlers, get hair weaves and eye-brow waxes and spray tans, Botox injections for an 8-year-old didn’t seem that far-fetched?



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One comment so far...

  • So the mom thinks this admission will prove she’s a fit parent? Dooo-weee-oooo!

    But to your point - that’s an interesting question. Most of us thought the mom was a whack job, and we all know she wouldn’t be the only one. To believe someone could be that crazy? Well - I think the media provides us with ample evidence that this is at least possible.

    Now am I crazy if I say: I hope no actual pageant moms got any ideas from hearing about this underage botox business?

    SKL  |  May 19th, 2011 at 6:55 pm