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Just awkward of she 16th birthday, Alana Thompson, a windy high schooler, is saving to buy her very first car, has desires of being a neonatal nurse, and also is make the efforts to get straight A's. She works after school and also on weekends, and spends time going come the pool and the mall v her sister and also niece.
But the job-related she’s doing isn’t typical. She works as a fact television star, and also has to be doing so due to the fact that she was just a toddler. And also she’d prefer people, consisting of her peers at school who exclaimed “Oh, it’s honey Boo Boo!” when she started there, to recognize the name she’s well-known for is not she name: “My mama did not name me love husband Boo Boo. My surname is Alana.”
Sixteen is a stark separation in teenagerdom, one the comes with the potential for driver’s licenses, the end of high school ultimately in sight, and what feels prefer a line in between your childhood and young adulthood. Yet for Alana, whose date of birth is respectable 28, the ties in between the past and also present space tighter, and an ext documented, 보다 most. Amid discourse on exactly how we talk about teenage girls, particularly those who have actually a level of social presence and also celebrity strength that makes it too straightforward to think of lock as icons or instances rather than person beings, is Alana.
As reality-TV lore speak it, Alana Thompson burst ~ above our displays fueled by “go-go juice” (a mixture that Red Bull and also Mountain Dew) and also pithy catchphrases. She originally appeared on TLC’s Toddlers & Tiaras in 2012. The show, in part, followed then six-year-old Alana and also her mother, June, top top the children beauty pageant circuit. Later that very same year, Alana and also family were center stage ~ above their very own reality show, Here comes Honey Boo Boo, the first episode of which mirrors the Georgia-based team going to the “Redneck Games,” whereby they participated in a “mud-pit belly flop” and also bobbed because that pig snouts. The display existed at the intersection the class, economics, and family dynamics — a working-class household (or one presented as such) in a celebrity economy, through plenty that gleeful fist on the means the family’s location and also social norms can be enhanced for benefit with small context for it.
Dozens of short articles analyzed the show as a voyeuristic emergence at the “trainwreck,” “white trash,” “redneck,” and also “hillbillies,” managing to consistently divorce the state from your history. Together with it come commentary ~ above the boy at the facility of the all, that was widely thought about too loud and twangy, also obnoxious, and just too much.
The coverage to be so intense, it eventually fell the end of social consciousness the the reality-television careers of whole family were launched by someone that was, in ~ the time, a child. Someone who phrases and mannerisms (including those seemingly informed by racialism stereotypes of Black women
Alana, that is easygoing and calm on the collection of her picture shoot. Alana, that says, “I want to be the finest I deserve to be, and I want to do my money, and also I additionally want come make right A's, so i just try my hardest.” Alana, who recounts the there have actually been times she’s satellite on she bed and been like, I simply cannot perform this anymore.
While she knows she’s technically a kid, Alana claims she thinks people still check out her together the boisterous little girl they met via TV, therefore the tendency to forget she's not a character, but a real person. “Like honey Boo Boo Child,” she says, emphasizing the “child.” she’s perched top top a couch in a loft-like photograph shoot room in Atlanta, comfy in bike shorts and Crocs. Those catchphrases, she says, "were definitely Honey Boo Boo days, because that sure.” She no say lock at every anymore, “but lock still do stick around, due to the fact that they to be on nationwide television so...,” she says, rolling off.
They stick roughly even after she’s stopped saying them, grown the end of honey Boo Boo, and into Alana — identities she watch distinct differences between. “They are totally two different people,” she speak Teen Vogue. “I would say that I do like this Alana now, fairly than the younger Alana.”
This Alana is still a reality-TV personality — though recent iterations focus much more on her mother and family at big than on Alana herself. Here come Honey Boo Boo to be canceled in 2014, ~ news the Alana’s mother, June Shannon, date a convicted kid molester, who victims allegedly had one the Alana’s sisters.
In 2018, Alana showed up on Dancing with the Stars: Juniors, and also the year prior, a reality display following her mother’s physics transformation, Mama June: From not to Hot, at some point rebranded together Mama June: road to Redemption, on i beg your pardon Alana right now appears. In 2019, Alana’s mother was arrested ~ above possession that a managed substance and also drug paraphernalia charges, and Alana’s sister, Lauryn "Pumpkin" Shannon, 21, was offered legal guardianship end her.
When audiences freeze-frame her together the small kid who came to be a publicly figure prior to she was in elementary school, that situates Alana as a character amid a confusing narrative, not a teenager whose formative years — and the trauma in ~ them — have played out in former of cameras.
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The household used come be together all the time, not simply for filming, but for frequent family dinners. As soon as June’s drug usage worsened, it was like the family damaged apart. Having Pumpkin, and Pumpkin’s daughter Ella, in her life to be a comfort for Alana. Forgiveness to be one part of beginning to repair the connection with she mom, but the various other was her mommy admitting her actions were wrong.
“A lot of folks in this human being do no realize how many world are in reality really affected by drug and alcohol
She’s proud of it s her too. “When mine mama gained real negative with she
Her publicly upbringing method Alana no afraid to set boundaries in her personal life. “I'm somebody that speak my mind whether you like it or not,” she says. “If ns don't feeling comfortable law something, I'm going come tell you.”
More importantly, she provides feeling comfortable through herself a priority, despite how today's social media economic situation breeds comparison. Recently, because she’s to be wearing lengthy lashes and long nails, Instagram followers are swift to tell she it’s too much (or "too grown"). “I guess human being still mean me to be small Honey Boo Boo, and I'm no anymore,” she says. The stereotypes of where she’s from feed that too. “Just since I'm indigenous the South, world expect me to it is in all nation bumpkin, out riding four wheelers every the time, however that's not really how it is,” Alana says. “There space so numerous folks on my Instagram that perform not choose my nails or mine eyelashes. But I execute not care. As lengthy as I prefer myself, I'm good.”
“I don't ever look at people and I'm like, ‘Oh, i wish i was choose her,’” Alana adds. “Because i don't ever wish to be choose nobody. Ns am my own person.”
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Keeping the mentality in ~ the head of your mind is difficult in basic — especially as a teenager once you’re cultivation into yourself; and an especially as a teenager who appearance, language, and identity have become fodder for conversations on whatever from beauty stereotypes, come what classifies as great manners, to just how she need to look. At one point, the television display The Doctors even staged a “health intervention” because that her, wherein a younger Alana common that she preferred nuggets come a chorus the laughter from the audience; her appearances on truth television left no part of she personality and also body unscrutinized.
Body shaming is something command at her every solitary day in she comments section, she shares. She’s doubtful of the idea the Gen Z is dismantling fatphobia and oppressive body image standards. In fact, she says, “I feel choose my generation is most likely making that worse. Everybody's all about body positivity, human body positivity, till they check out a body they don't like.”
“I don't understand why people think this way,” she continues. “Just due to the fact that I acquired a tiny bit that extra meat on my bones, you desire to hate me? I'll never get body shaming.”
Alana focuses more on exactly how she feels about herself, in her own skin, 보다 what commenters need to say. “Like, I know I'm beautiful, and also I recognize I gained a banging body, so...I don't care,” she says with a shrug. She think we have to be reflecting all various kinds that bodies, i m sorry is something she think pageants actually excel at.
What made she stand out in those instances was her personality, she points out. And yes, Alana thinks she what involves mind when people think the a pageant queen: “I mean, come myself ns was a pageant queen.”
Directly across from the couch whereby Alana sits, a team is dismantling folding tables that shoes and also shuffling racks of garments out that the room. Alana is unperturbed through the chaos. Perhaps in a habit borne of years of on-camera interviews, Alana repeats virtually every question earlier when she answers, fifty percent thinking aloud, half framing what she shares v the conciseness the a sound bite. The situations are unique, but at the heart of the conversation is what part might think about “teenage stuff”: jobs and money, her connection with she sister, and friendships. In other words, things a life is make of.
“To be honest, I do not have many friends. At all,” Alana says, remarking that her just friend is probably her boyfriend. “Because ns feel favor folks are so lot like, 'Oh, my God, I'm friends through Honey Boo Boo,'” Alana adds. “I don't to trust nobody really, so i don't have actually friends.”
You have to really test folks over three or 4 months, she explains: She sees if they speak to her “Honey Boo Boo”; she watches even if it is they offer to pay because that anything or assume she will, due to the fact that they likewise assume she is rich, which she clarifies isn't specifically true.
Unlike sheepish denials from various other celebrities, Alana is candid the being on TV isn’t simply a personal choice; it additionally feels like a smart financial decision. She’d never ever make as much at a normal task — and also plus, she says, gift on TV is much simpler than a regular job.
“I want to have a life, you know? I want to be able to support my youngsters when i do have kids and stuff like that,” she says. “It’s absolutely something the is an excellent for the moment being,
But for now, she loves working v her family — she doesn’t have to worry about people judging she at work, and also has world to talk to. Alana says the human being she looks up to many is Pumpkin, and her sister’s husband, Josh. Pumpkin, she says, “stepped up when I had nobody.” as soon as she relocated in through her sister, she decorated her brand-new room, bringing just her garments and an individual items through her, leaving behind the necessities choose a dresser and bed. Even though Alana in reality loves decorating, “I shouldn't have to redecorate mine room favor this. I have to be in my very own bed at my mom's home just chilling, girlfriend know?” Still, living v Pumpkin has been fun: They continue to be up late, they clock movies, and also spend many of time hanging out v Ella. “But I know it's stressful ~ above her, since she has another person come take treatment of,” Alana says.
That move, however, is part of why Alana is proud of that she’s become. She’s end up being a better person, she says. She matured. Despite the flux of coming-of-age in publicly — heaped on height of the interior chaos that frequently molds coming-of-age, in basic — Alana is secure in naming she goals.
Before ending up being a nurse, she desires to graduate high school and also college. She desires to relocate out once she turns 18 and purchase a house, and before that, a car. She think she’ll save working when in college, due to the fact that she’s currently thinking around student debt. It seems favor the most valuable advice someone can offer a teenager between unpacking what problem to them, and why; that they desire to be, and who castle are: It's not just relying on desires or five-year-plans or changed selves, however carving the end the styles, relationships, and moments that feel most like friend at any given time that lug you a little closer to the version of yourself you’re constantly growing into.
As Alana’s phone lights up through incoming texts, the last racks of apparel are rolled out of the studio, whereby she’ll depart soon with she boyfriend, that joined her on set, and also a birthday cake the team in the studio gifted she as very early celebration. What does future Alana watch like? She grins. “I don't recognize what future Alana’s like. Ns haven't met she yet.”
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