Eden Wood, Six-Year-Old Beauty Queen, Retires from Pageant Circuit

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Courtesy of TLC

She’s had a ball collecting tiaras and applying fake eyelashes. But six-year old Eden Wood is ready to embrace new challenges—like promoting her own showgirl action figure.

The winner of more than 300 titles, Eden came to national prominence on the hit TLC television series Toddlers and Tiaras, which follows the nation’s tiniest pageant contestants through a haze of spray tans and rhinestones. Speaking to Good Morning America on July 13, Eden’s mother-manager Micki Wood said that putting down the crown and scepter will give Eden time to explore other ventures. As she says: “I think she’s following in the footsteps of some pretty big people who have done pageants, like Oprah Winfrey.”

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But unlike Oprah—who won Miss Black Tennessee at the age of 18—Eden is building an empire without knowing how to write cursive. Her range of merchandise already includes a rather mature-looking Eden showgirl action figure, the “Eden Wood Princess Canopy Bed Collection” and a memoir entitled “From Cradle to Crown” (available for just $15 plus shipping and handling on Eden’s official web site).

Free time won’t just consist of peddling products. Eden will continue to work out her vocal chords by headlining the “Eden Wood and the Glamour Girls” tour of Midwestern shopping malls. She’ll perform new songs from her upcoming album, which builds on the popularity of her first single “Cutie Patootie.” The lyrics—and accompanying dance moves—of that number don’t exactly channel innocence. “They call me cutie…cutie patootie!/Rockin’ out the pageant stage and shakin’ my booty!/Cutie, Cutie Patootie.”

It’s enough to make your stomach churn, which is probably why the Good Morning America reporter asks if Mickie is perhaps over-emphasizing the importance of fame with little Eden. “No. So much of her life has nothing to do with that,” she responds. “As long as she enjoys what we’re doing and what she’s doing, Mama’s going to keep doing it…Why not see if we can’t have a Hollywood contract? A reality show? A spot on a Disney program? Why not? It’s the American Dream. It’s almost like her destiny.” Given Mickie’s enthusiasm, NewsFeed gets the sense she thinks it’s her own destiny, too. (via ABC News)

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William Lee Adams is a writer-reporter at TIME’s London bureau. Find him on Twitter at @willyleeadams. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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