“I am still bleeding a little,” Hannah Neeleman said.
She was sitting in front of a glowing ring light in a Las Vegas hotel room, cradling a newborn, as a makeup artist hovered close by, eye-shadow brush in hand.
Two weeks after giving birth to her eighth child, Ms. Neeleman, 33, said she no longer needed to wear postpartum diapers. That was convenient, since she was about to take part in the swimsuit round of the Mrs. World beauty pageant, an annual competition for married women from around the globe.
“A lot of us have kids, and I don’t think there’s any shame in showing I just had a baby,” Ms. Neeleman said. “Like, I’m not going to have a perfectly flat stomach.” The beauty team draped a blanket over the infant, Flora Jo. “She’s breathed in a lot of hair spray,” she joked, “but other than that she’s stayed safe.”
Ms. Neeleman, a Juilliard-trained former ballerina, is known more as a social media star than a pageant queen. Online, she goes by the name Ballerina Farm, and millions of people watch her almost daily videos depicting her life in the countryside 30 miles from Salt Lake City.
In 2021, she had just over 200,000 Instagram followers. By Jan. 21, the day of the pageant, the count had surged to nine million, who regularly tune in to watch her milking her cow, Tulip, and baking sourdough bread in a vintage green stove she found on Craigslist. The stove is named Agnes.