The "retired" Toddlers & Tiaras star takes Manhattan – and Hollywood – by storm

By Charlotte Triggs
September 15, 2011 06:00 PM
Robin Marchant/WireImage

Eden Wood surprised a lot of people when, at just 6 years old, she retired from the child beauty pageant scene that made her famous.

But now, it’s becoming clear why the former Toddlers & Tiaras star pulled the plug on pageants – she’s just got too much going on.

“We didn’t look for these opportunities. They found us,” Eden’s mom, Mickie Wood, told PEOPLE at the Cicciabella children’s fashion show (hosted by Kelly Benismon) on Thursday, where Eden hit the runway for her Fashion Week debut. “We’ve been blessed and lucky.”

It’s been a whirlwind week for the pintsize star. She’s already done a high-end photo shoot, been dressed by Marc Jacobs, and sat in the front row of a fashion show. “Celebrities were coming and introducing themselves to her,” Mickie recalls. “She didn’t know them but I was so excited for her.”

She even made it into the gossip columns: the New York Post reported that Eden threw a tantrum when she wasn’t allowed to have teeth whitening treatments at a gifting suite. “That’s a total lie,” her mom insists. “She asked for the teeth whitening but when they said she was too young, she moved on. There was no fuss.”

Next up, Eden will step in front of the camera for a guest appearance on Cake Boss star Buddy Valastro’s series, Next Great Baker on TLC. (“They’re going to make a cake that looks like her!” Mickie says.)

Then, she’ll hit the silver screen.

“She already has one real movie and two animated films lined up,” Mickie says. “She gets such joy out of performing. She lights up,” says Mickie. “It’s her personality that really sets her apart.”

For more on the child pageant controversy, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday