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Bogue Chitto man writes pageant book

Photo by Julia Miller / Jerry Burkett’s book “Pageant Dad” is available at various locations around Brookhaven including Roxy Magnolia.

Photo by Julia Miller / Jerry Burkett’s book “Pageant Dad” is available at various locations around Brookhaven including Roxy Magnolia.

In Liz-Beth Pageants one afternoon, Jerry Burkett of Bogue Chitto saw a young 13-year-old trying on dresses for a high school pageant. With her mother taking control of the appointment, the girl got upset and snapped at her mother.

“If you want to be on stage, you be on stage,” he recalled her saying.

The scene sums up how many outsiders see the pageant world. Burkett knew he needed to begin reaching out and showing a different side. His daughter, Jenny Burkett, has been doing pageants since she first moved to America, and since then he has seen her transform into a confident young woman whose English skills have flourished.

“The two biggest problems in pageants is parents not understanding what pageants are all about and some wanting to push too hard,” he said.

His solution was to write “The Pageant Dad” a how-to guide for parents of pageant girls. The instructional guide gives advice on many aspects of pageants, but what he hopes most parents will learn is how pageants should be a family-affair during the entire preparation process.

“If you can put that football helmet on your boy, you can go down with your daughter to pick out a dress,” he said.

Furthermore, he hopes parents can be reminded that it’s not all about winning. It’s about self-value and self-worth.

“If you’re going to keep going you have to have self-esteem,” he said. “(‘The Pageant Dad’) is a tool for development — to develop as an individual,” he said.

“The Pageant Dad” is now available at Roxy Magnolia, Susan’s Shoppe, Sydney’s, Serenity, Liz-Beth Pageants, High Mountain in Enterprise, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Books-A-Million.