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