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Death threats in Australia for US pageant star, 6

31 may 2011, 17:36
A girl with her face painted takes part during a beauty contest for children. ©Reuters
A girl with her face painted takes part during a beauty contest for children. ©Reuters
The Australian version of a US-style child beauty pageant will be held at a secret location and with bodyguards on hand after its six-year-old American guest star reportedly received death threats, AFP reports.

Eden Wood, star of the US reality programme "Toddlers and Tiaras", is set to travel to Australia in July for a child beauty pageant -- an idea put forward by her mother and manager Mickie Wood.

But the six-year-old would be shadowed by bodyguards and the contest held in secret, with Wood saying she and her daughter had received death threats from Australians opposed to the glitzy pageant.

"I've taken a lot of abuse, they've come after Eden and called names and written horrible emails," Wood told the Nine television network late Monday.

"We've got them all saved, our agent has them."

One of the contest's Australian organisers, Kristin Kyle, said hostility was so intense the contest would be held in a secret location and under heavy security.

A bodyguard would be with Eden at all times during her tour, Kyle said, with security also "looking after our little contestants and our fans" during the pageant itself.

"The show will go on!" she said.

The Universal Royalty contest, to be held in Melbourne on July 29 and 30, has drawn heavy criticism in Australia, with a protest rally in the southern city earlier this month arguing such pageants sent children the wrong message.

But Wood said there had been overwhelming demand from Australian parents and defended herself as an ordinary parent.

"I just want people to know that we're not these big green-eyed monsters that abuse our children," she said.

"We're all the same... there's no child that you put a video camera in front of that doesn't go crazy about it."

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