Purple lights line the runway. Beauty queens wearing their crowns sit at the judge’s table. The audience sits in anticipation for the next pageant contestant.
Backstage, 4-year-old Taylor changes out of a dinosaur costume into a white tuxedo. By the end of the contest, he will earn the title of Mr. English Beauty in Norwich, England.
Photographer Jocelyn Bain Hogg captured the essence of the competition while on assignment. He mostly focused on four contestants.
“It’s a bit of a game,” the British photographer said about the pageant. They have this “let’s do this because they can” attitude, he added.
It was obvious that some of the kids were being pressured to participate in the pageant. But most of the boys, ranging in age from 4 to 12, seem to enjoy the attention on stage.
“They’re pretty much normal kids,” Hogg said. “They’re quite well behaved.”
The pageant brings together single moms and gives the children new friends, but Hogg imagines the situation is still a double-edged sword.
When he arrived, one of the mothers was blow-drying her son’s hair and “enjoying it for him,” Hogg said. But he also sees a benefit in the confidence it takes to walk up and down the stage.
“All kids dress up, don’t they?” Hogg said. “I suspect for the kids it’s great fun.”
- Elizabeth I. Johnson, CNN
Headshot photo by Marcus Dawes