Re­al­ity: Lit­tle Miss At­lanta

Lit­tle Miss At­lanta’s con­tes­tants are cute but it’s the pageant mommy melt­downs that snatch the crown.

TV Plus (South Africa) - - IN THIS ISSUE -

Lit­tle Miss At­lanta Sea­son 1 Tues­days (from 21 March) TLC (*135) 20:00

Tod­dlers & Tiaras (2009-2016) fans, hold onto your Ul­ti­mate Spe­cial Grand Supreme crowns! Lit­tle Miss At­lanta (2016) is here with four episodes of kid­die pageant mad­ness. Each episode fol­lows three con­tes­tants, aged be­tween three and 10 years old, as they take aim at the Lit­tle Miss At­lanta ti­tle, cre­ated by su­gar-voiced Jas­mine Crowe and strict-but-fair Kim An­der­son to cel­e­brate African Amer­i­can chil­dren who are of­ten side­lined dur­ing tra­di­tional kid­die pageants. But are Jas­mine and Kim ready for the pageant moms? The kind of mother who’ll pull her daugh­ter off the stage and walk out in a scream­ing fit if her baby doesn’t win (oh boy, just watch episode 1)? Oh yeah, they have the heavy­weight crown in this show!

MAMA GONNA KNOCK YOU OUT

Miss Kim stops two of the pageant moms who’re hav­ing ugly drama in front of the chil­dren in episode 1 and tells the ladies, “This is not what we do. That’s some Jerry Springer stuff you can take out there,” re­fer­ring to the no­to­ri­ously trashy day­time talk­show (1991- cur­rent). Not that Kim’s afraid to get trashy her­self to take out the trash. “I don’t know if I need to take my ear­rings off and my shoes off to bring or­der or what, but I’ll do what­ever I need to do for my ba­bies, be­cause these girls de­serve a chance,” she says. And if the moms won’t calm down, it’s the lit­tle girls (who’re mostly in­cred­i­bly sweet and friendly to each other) who wind up warn­ing them to shut it down and take a breather af­ter Mama throws a tantrum, which is its own kind of tragedy but oh, so watch­able.

FAVOURITES & FEUDS

While each episode fo­cuses on a dif­fer­ent com­pe­ti­tion – Lit­tle Miss Black, Lit­tle Miss Per­fect Peach, Lit­tle Miss Divas Of Dis­tinc­tion and the Decades Of Beauty Pageant – many of the same moms and adorable kids like Jai (9) and Heaven (10) show up at each pageant, so we’ll get to see their heart­break at los­ing, the joy of vic­tory and the bit­ter, back­stab­bing re­sent­ment that gets car­ried from pageant to pageant as moms ac­cuse each other of snatch­ing style tips or be­ing judges’ favourites for no good rea­son.

There will be points where it might get a bit much for sen­si­ble, sen­si­tive view­ers. There’s plenty of no-no par­ent­ing, like yelling, re­stric­tive, un­su­per­vised di­et­ing and win-at-all­costs threat­en­ing, ugly at­ti­tudes and be­lit­tling to shake our heads over if we feel like be­ing judge­men­tal our­selves. But there is a bal­ance. There are also big groups of friends and fam­i­lies, like the Lon­dynns in episode 4, who get be­hind their girl with lov­ing en­cour­age­ment, sup­port and prayer. There are also pageant moms and dads who cheer on each other’s kids and are as sweet to each other as their girls are.

PAINTED BA­BIES?

Kim and Jas­mine em­pha­sise that it’s not a “full glitz” pageant sys­tem. “We are not look­ing for girls who want to wear the false teeth and the eye­lashes,” says Kim. Jas­mine adds, “We re­ally want the girls to love who they are, that’s why we cre­ated this pageant, to cel­e­brate our girls and their nat­u­ral essence. If they come to our pageant with fake teeth, a spray tan, lots of hair and a face full of make-up and eye­lashes, she won’t win the pageant.” They’re not just talk­ing pretty. And while it doesn’t stop the moms from splash­ing cash on the pageants – like the $2 100 (R26 000) that Jai’s mommy pays for a sin­gle hair­piece in episode 3 (4 April) – it does stop the girls from look­ing like creepy lit­tle plas­tic dolls on stage, so give it a chance.

Pre­pare for pageant cuteness from the daugh­ters… and chaos from the moms.

Se­ries creators Kim An­der­son (left) and Jas­mine Crowe don’t mind get­ting rowdy to keep con­trol of the moms on their show.

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