Thornbury toddler Jackson's smile is winning over pageant judges
HE may be under two years old but Jackson Thomas is already a veteran of the world of children's pageants.
The Thornbury toddler is set to be the youngest boy competing when he makes the step up from regional to UK competitions next year.
Jackson’s mum, Rebecca Watts, took part in pageants herself before he was born and found they helped build her confidence and overcome shyness. She hopes her son will benefit in the same way.
When Jackson was four months old, Rebecca entered both of them in a pageant and Jackson won third place. But taking part together wasn’t easy.
She said: “It was really hard work getting both of us ready and carrying him. So I said to my partner, he’s done really well, I think we should focus on him.”
A children's’ pageant follows the same process as those for older competitors, without the judges’ interview round.
Rebecca said: “We do a walk down a little stage. For the opening round they wear a plain t-shirt, then it’s evening wear and he wears a suit with a bow tie and waistcoat. They decide all the scores and they do a crowning ceremony at the end.
“They also have awards for best personality, outfit, smile. Most of his awards are for smile, hair and outfits.”
Jackson won his second pageant at eight months old, when he was crowned Master Clwydian Beauty 2018. He won a modelling contract, which the family didn’t take up, a goodie bag of toys, a crown and a sash.
Since then Jackson has done regular charity pageants, which Rebecca says are good practice for the Pure UK national finals, which are due to be staged in Warrington early next year and will raise money for the Salvation Army.
Pageants are dominated by girls and so Rebecca is often approached by organisers and asked to enter Jackson, who usually competes in an age group of 0 to 14, against up to five other boys.
Rebecca says she sometimes has to justify her decision to enter her son. She said: “I’ve had people ask why and I’ll explain. If when he’s 3 or 4 he doesn’t want to do it, of course I won’t do it. We just do it for the experience – we never think it’s about coming home with the crown or the title.”
Picture: Jackson Thomas. Photo by Ryan Cowburn