Honey Boo Boo Looks Worlds Away From Pageant Days
Feb 23, 2021 by apost team
Alana Thompson AKA Honey Boo Boo became an overnight sensation when she first appeared on 'Toddlers & Tiaras' at just five years old. She skyrocketed to fame as one of the series' standout stars, eventually landing her own show.
Now aged 15, Thompson has swapped the glitz and glam of the pageant world for a more simple life—but we haven't seen the last of her yet.
Early Rise To Fame
Being a celebrity isn't easy, but being a child celebrity seems to be even harder, with many child stars struggling as they grow up in the spotlight. Imagine being a reality TV star, where you're not only recognized but known as your real self—it's not a comfortable situation to be in.
Born Alana Thompson on August 28, 2005, the child star is the youngest child of June Edith "Mama June" Shannon and her ex-husband, Mike "Sugar Bear" Thompson. At a young age, Thompson began taking part in amateur child pageants before landing her big break on the TLC series 'Toddlers & Tiaras.'
She first appeared on the televised pageant alongside her mother Shannon and became a popular contestant on the show, seemingly gaining massive fame overnight. She proved popular with viewers for her bold and confident manner, which included catchphrases such as "redneckonize" and "a dolla makes me holla."
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo
Following her run with 'Toddlers & Tiaras,' Alana Thompson got signed to star in the reality show, 'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.' The show featured the whole family, including her mom June "Mama June" Shannon, father Mike "Sugar Bear" Thompson, and her three sisters: Lauryn "Pumpkin" Efird (nee Shannon), Jessica "Chubbs" Shannon, and Anna "Chickadee" Shannon.
It followed Thomspon and the rest of the self-proclaimed "redneck" gang as they navigated life in McIntyre, Georgia. The show proved to be a hit from the get-go, becoming TLC's highest-rated in its first season. Despite the initial hype, however, the show was eventually canceled by the network in 2014.
Mama June's Turn in the Spotlight
While Thompson was the star of both shows, her mom June Shannon played a key role as well. Battling morbid obesity throughout her adult life, she eventually had surgery to control her weight. Shortly after, the mom-of-three had another surgery to remove excess skin from the weight she'd lost. In the process, she went from 460 pounds to a size 4, and her dramatic transformation was documented in her own reality show, 'Mama June: From Not to Hot.'
Speaking with 'Entertainment Tonight' in 2017, Lauryn Efird commented on her mother's weight loss, as she said:
"I think that her biggest thing [she has to] overcome is that fact that she still thinks of herself as a bigger person, because, even to this day, like, a couple of days ago we had a conversation, and...she looked in the mirror and was like, 'I'm still fat.' And I guess because she's seen herself as a bigger person all these years, she doesn't realize how small she is."
Although the series was centered on Mama June's weight loss journey, other family members also made appearances. We also got a glimpse of Alana Thompson, who by then had gone back to public school following a stint with homeschooling.
A Hit Song At 10 Years Old
While 'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo' might have ultimately been canceled, that, by all means, did not mean Thompson would be stepping away from the spotlight. In 2015, the reality TV sensation surprise fans when she released her hit original song, "Moving Up," with an accompanying fabulous music video. With the help of singer-songwriter Adam Barta, sang the fun track about her life as a child star, starting from her appearance on 'Toddlers with Tiaras.' Hilarious lyrics made it all the more adorable, so it doesn't come as a surprise that the video ended up going viral!
"Started out as a pageant queen/Then on TV doing my thing/Now movin’ up in the world/New fun times with my girls.”
The song's chorus, however, really took the cake:
“Honey Boo Boo Bop/Do The Honey Boo Boo Bop/Honey Boo Boo Bop/Do The Honey Boo Boo Bop.”
The music video featured a few other familiar faces of the Thomspon bunch and her mom. Her older sister, Lauryn Shannon a.k.a. Pumpkin, who was 16 years old at the time, was a featured singer on the song as well.
A Hit On Dancing With The Stars: Juniors
Around the time Mama June's show was airing, Alana Thompson returned to the spotlight herself, appearing in 'Dancing With the Stars: Juniors' (DWS: J) in 2018. However, she was eliminated in the fourth week, placing eighth overall.
While her run on the show might have been short, the pageant princess undeniably left a mark on the viewers, who just could not get enough of her hilarious antics. One of her biggest moments as a shining star on the show was her performance in the song "Something There" from Beauty and the Beast. While Thomspon and her partner, Tristan Ianiero, might have misstepped a few times, that didn't stop it from being one of the most breathtaking dances on the show. Their performance was so enchanting, that fans couldn't help but flock to Instagram to flood the official DWS: J page with many messages praising the young stars on their number. "They were elegant and graceful!!! Well done," wrote one fan.
"@honeybooboo surprised me with her elegant performance with @tristan_ianiero. Huge applause to @theartemc for his patience and for having Alana have a mini-etiquette class session. It is so nice to watch her, Alana, prove the critics wrong when she performs a beautiful and nicely choreographed traditional ballroom dance. Goodbye, salsa and samba dances! Hello, Viennese waltz, paso doble, and Argentine tango!💃🏼-A," wrote another.
One even said that Thompson ought to move away from reality TV for a career in acting: "I really enjoyed Alana’s acting, especially in the beginning when she has the book and is trying to ignore him. I hope to see her do a sitcom or a movie in the future," they wrote.
Rocky Times With Mama-June
Despite their closeness earlier in Alana Thompson's life, she and her mom haven't stayed on the best terms, with Thompson eventually moving in with her sister Lauryn Efird.
At the time, Lauryn Efird released a statement, as reported by 'People' Magazine:
"Hey guys, as you know, you've seen the stuff out in the media and our family is going through a rough patch. But this year alone we have had a lot of happiness. And when my mom and Alana were out in California and everything seemed good. Then the next couple months rolled around and things took a turn. We're sharing our story in hopes that it helps another family and I sincerely want to thank our fans for always being there and loving and supporting us."
15 And Thriving
Despite the hardship of growing up in the spotlight, Alana Thompson appears to be doing well and keeping a positive attitude. Now a teenager she regularly posts photos of her life to social media.
In September of 2020, she wrote an inspiring message on Instagram, congratulating herself and giving hope to others going through tough times. She wrote:
Alana Thompson (2018), (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
"Can we just be real for a second? Let me tell y'all how proud I am of myself! I have honestly been [through] hell and back this year! And i'm still standing! I have been doing so good in school and just being more happy!"
She finished her post with an uplifting message for her followers:
"Let me just be the one to tell y'all if you are going through anything right now trust me it gets better you are worth it, I'm so proud of you, I can see you trying, I love you!"
We're so glad to see that she is happy and thriving, despite such a highly documented and not always easy childhood. With hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram, it doesn't appear she's ready to give up the spotlight just yet—who knows what's next in store for Honey Boo Boo!
2021 Brings Mom And Daughter Back Together
The new year has brought a lot of new and positive energy into the world, considering the kind of year many people had in 2020. And that kind of drastic change even extends to Alana Thompson and her estranged mom June Shannon. Posting to her Instagram feed on January 16, 2021, a trailer for the new season of Mama June's show reveals that the family members will be reuniting again. But while the message behind their reunion is one of hopefully patching things up and moving forward in a positive way, it's clear they won't get to that point without more than a few tears.
In the clip, Thompson can be heard saying, "Why wasn't you there in the moments I needed you most?" before Shannon replied, "Because I hit rock bottom." Both of them are clearly emotional in the clip, with Thompson in full tears. She told her mother, "You don't know how many nights I cried myself to sleep." Shannon, who's holding her composure and trying to hold back her emotions, replied:
"I know that I was selfish—everyone deserves a second chance. I just hope it's not too late."
Expected to premiere in March on WeTV, the newest season of the show is it's fifth. Originally created to spotlight Shannon's weight loss journey, it was titled 'Mama June: From Not to Hot,' but as the series has changed its focus each season, it has rebranded through its title, with season four called 'Mama June: Family Crisis.' Now, the fifth season is titled 'Mama June: Road to Redemption,' and the name along with the trailer hints at a possible storyline that sees the family heal their wounds, but only time will tell if that's what will actually happen.
Life Couldn't Be Better
Despite the tearful video, Alana Thompson appears to be doing better than ever. As well as living with her older sister Lauryn "Pumpkin" Efird in Georgia, Thompson recently did a Q&A with her fans on Instagram Stories and spoke of her happiness. As reported by 'The Sun,' Thompson told her over 830,000 fans, "Ask me anything you can think of!" She was then asked by someone if she had a boyfriend, to which the 15-year-old replied "Yesssss" alongside a celebration emoji. She didn't reveal the identity of her boyfriend and she also hasn't posted about him on her social media channels, but nonetheless, the teenager seems happy, which is the most important thing.
Asked by another fan, "How is life?" Thompson replied, "Honestly couldn't be better." She's no doubt found a sense of calm living with her sister and has had time to come to terms with various aspects of her upbringing, as well as the estrangement to her mom. And perhaps they've even buried the hatchet and moved onto a more positive phase of their relationship, as the trailer to 'Mama June: Road to Redemption' suggested.Alana Thompson (2019), (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)
Thompson's Instagram is further proof of her happy mindset. Frequently posting selfies and photos that play up her feminine features, she captions the images with sassy phrases that prove that she's not bothered by any haters. One photo that was posted on November 13, 2020, shows a full-body image of Thompson giving the peace sign and sticking her tongue out of her mouth with the caption, "you hating but i’m popping regardless 💅🏼"
Another is a mirror selfie in which she's sticking her tongue out of her mouth again and is captioned, "your opinion don’t make my money 😊" Meanwhile a shot posted days before the new year on December 29 shows Thompson posing inside of a car in the sunlight, accompanied by the words, "they don’t like it, but they gon’ respect it 😌 !"
Alana Thompson has clearly come a long way since her days on Toddlers & Tiaras and it's heartwarming to see her find happiness in her life after a number of tumultuous years. Hopefully the series return of 'Mama June: Road to Redemption' brings more healing and positivity into both her and June Shannon's lives.Alana Thompson (2019) (Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for WEt/Getty Images)
Were you a fan of Toddlers & Tiaras? Did you know what Honey Boo Boo was up to these days? Tell us your thoughts in the comments, then be sure to pass this on to your friends and family!