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Whatever your opinion of the pageant industry or pageant moms may be, this story is teeming with vile exploitation no matter whose side you’re on. Back in March, British newspaper, The Sun published a disturbing article about thirty-four year old pageant mom Kerry Campbell who fairly bragged about giving her daughter, Britney, botox injections. She stated, “she is a lucky little girl and is going to be famous because of the benefits I am giving her so early.” Even more worrisome is that Britney, who is an eight year old, claimed to enjoy her treatments and even proclaimed her want for a boob and nose job so she could become a star.
Campbell appeared on Good Morning America in May and she defended the injections. Apparently, botox injections are not uncommon in the pageant world. Other mothers have been injecting their children with botox. Dr. Charles Sophy was also interviewed during the GMA segment. He was extremely critical of Campbell who cautioned against the long-term psychological affects of premature cosmetic alterations. If a child is eight and looking for wrinkles, there’s something that’s not quite right.
Unsurprisingly, shortly thereafter a criminal investigation was launched and Child Protective Services took Britney away from her mother. Then, in the vain of all other media villains Campbell released an obligatory statement of regret to The Sun where she declared she’d pursue therapy, never give her daughter botox ever again, and will work on reuniting and building a more positive relationship with her daughter. She proclaimed, “I want Sun readers to know that I love my daughter with all my heart. People have said so many horrible things about me, when all I wanted was the best for my child.” Really? She wanted the best for her child? Forgive me if I’m wrong, but shouldn’t “the best” include empowerment and self-esteem building, healthful food and public television? If this were any other story, she cries, we wrestle with the moral implications of feeling bad for the broken psycho, and the story once wrought with such devastating controversy is filed away in the dusty cabinets of past media controversies.
Or so you’d think.
A few days after her interview on GMA Campbell released a baffling statement to TMZ in which she declares her real name is Sheena Upton and that The Sun offered to pay her $200 if she changed her name and followed a script stating that she gave her daughter botox treatments. She claims that she never injected her daughter, and that she had medical evaluations that showed no signs of ever receiving any cosmetic alterations. However, The Sun denies it all. They even sent a photographer to capture Campbell in action. The photograph of a sullen Britney being injected by her mother was front and center in the original article.
Regardless of what happened and who’s telling the truth, the fact remains that Sheena Upton/Kerry Campbell exploited her daughter for her own personal gain, be it monetary or for the promise of fame. No matter which way, it is a sordid situation.