Curse of Toddlers and Tiaras – Mama June’s £2K a day drug habit, cancer battle and tragic teen suicide

Curse of Toddlers and Tiaras – Mama June’s £2K a day drug habit, cancer battle and tragic teen suicide

May 6, 2022

DECKED out in sparkly dresses, full faces of make-up and towering heels, budding beauty queens battled it out to be named Queen.

Only these weren't your average pageant entrants – some of this lot were barely out of nappies when they strutted their stuff on camera for TLC's Toddlers and Tiaras.


The controversial programme followed hopefuls as young as two and their frequently overbearing mums, capturing their fierce rivalries and endless tantrums.

This week it emerged one of its stars, Kailia Posey, sadly took her own life at the age of 16.

Kailia's mum shared the tragic news saying: "I don't have words or any thoughts. A beautiful baby girl is gone. Please give us privacy as we mourn the loss Kailia. My baby forever."

The US show, which first aired in 2009, pulled in two million viewers an episode at its peak, before it was cancelled in 2016.

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It often sparked outrage over the treatment of the girls and the inappropriate behaviour of their parents.

After Toddlers and Tiaras, several of its stars continued to make headlines, with some going on to land spin-off shows.

Mama June and Honey Boo Boo were its breakout stars – but their lives have been anything but smooth since.

Here we take a look at what happened to the cast.

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Cancer battle

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Mia was dressed up to look like Madonna on the show

Mia Spargo captured the attention of viewers when her super competitive mum Marina dressed her in a replica of the infamous cone bra Madonna wore for her Blonde Ambition tour.

At the time Mia was just two-years-old and Marina jumped on stage to demonstrate how she should shake her hips to Like A Prayer.

Despite the costume being incredibly inappropriate, Mia's mum branded the performance "a crowd-pleaser".

Tragically Mia was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2013, but after going through treatment she's now five years in remission.

She is doing well at school and, after losing her hair, experiments with wearing different wigs.

Pretty Woman row

Three-year-old Paisley Dickey made a dramatic entrance on Toddlers and Tiaras when mum Wendy dressed her up like Julia Robert's sex worker character from Pretty Woman.

Her outfit featured a blonde wig, thigh-high boots and a cut-out, skin tight dress.

Despite receiving widespread criticism for 'sexualising' her daughter, Wendy claimed: "Paisley has competed in over 60 pageants but it was definitely the Pretty Woman costume that put Paisley’s name out there."

Now a teenager, Paisley has since left the pageant world and is focusing on her acting career.

According to IMDB she has appeared in several films, including Beacon Point and Exeter, as well as the drama Red Bank Society.

Since 2017 she appears to have deleted her social media accounts.

Destiny Christian

Another scandal on the show was when Lisa Christian thought it would be a great idea to let her four-year-old daughter smoke a fake cigarette in 2012.

It was part of Destiny's costume as Sandy from Grease and her mum protested that pretending to puff a fag did her daughter no harm.

Lisa claimed her tot wasn't an average four-year-old and knew right from wrong and therefore people were overreacting to the stunt.

Thankfully Destiny doesn't appear to have taken up smoking in her teenage years and seems to be living a fairly normal life.

She is part of a competitive dance team and often shares snaps of herself taking to the floor.

£2,000-a-day drug habit

In 2011 mum-of-four June Shannon and her youngest daughter Alana, nicknamed Honey Boo Boo, proved a hit with fans.

During the show, viewers expressed concern over the amount of sugary fizzy drinks June gave to her daughter, now 16, to keep her energy levels up for pageants.

The duo, from Georgia, landed a spinoff show, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, which followed the family's daily life.

It ran from 2012 to 2014 and earned the family £3,000 an episode, but came to an abrupt halt when it emerged June had rekindled a relationship with a man who had molested her eldest daughter.

June left Alana's dad Mike Thompson and began dating ex Mark McDaniel, who'd been convicted of sexually assaulting eight-year-old Anna Shannon in 2004 and served 10 years.

The public backlash was brutal, with fans labelling Mama June “despicable” and “the worst mum in the world”.

After ditching McDaniel, June landed her own TV show, Mama June: From Not To Hot, in 2017 to chart her weight loss journey, which saw her undergo a £13,000 gastric sleeve procedure.

In 2019, June abandoned her family for troubled boyfriend Geno Doak. She later revealed she'd spiralled into drug addiction, splashing £2,000-a-day on crack cocaine.

She admitted she sold her house to fund her lifestyle, before eventually getting clean.

Meanwhile Alana moved in with her sister Pumpkin and is now training to be a nurse.

Bitter custody battle

The mum of Maddy Jackson evoked fury when she dressed her four-year-old up to look like Dolly Parton in a skin-tight pink dress and strategically placed pads to give the tot boobs and a bum in 2011.

"When she wears the fake boobs and the fake butt, it's just like extra bonus," mum Lindsay later told Today.

Maddy's father Bill Verst was furious by Linsday's antics and took her to court in a bid to get full custody, accusing her of exploiting their child – but he lost.

Due to the scandal it caused, they were banned from entering further pageants. The family now stays out of the public eye.

Epic meltdowns

Eden Wood made her entrance on the show in 2009 when she was just four years old and became the face of the series.

She had an infamous meltdown at the World Championship Pageant, throwing a wobbler when there wasn't enough time to do her hair and make-up.

Her screaming and crying saw her almost not enter the pageant in Kentucky, but she eventually decided to go ahead.

Despite Eden's onscreen antics, she is one of the show's rare success stories. She landed her own spinoff, Eden's World, in 2011 on Logo, which followed her as she helped other girls to compete in pageants – but the series only lasted a few months.

She then bagged the role of Darla Hood in Little Rascals Save The Day and moved to Los Angeles.

Eden also appeared in the reality series Next Big Thing NYC on Amazon Prime which followed her and seven other teenagers trying to become successful in different fields.

She is now an influencer and model who has worked with brands including Tiffany And Co and House of Barretti at New York Fashion Week. Last year Eden launched her own beauty range called Dream by Eden.

Million dollar blow-out

With names so over the top, it's no wonder Alycesaundra and Giavanna Lyerly felt pressure to match it with crazy antics.

The sisters, nicknamed the Tiara Twins, were pushed into the pageant world by their mum Kelly, who claims she spent a million dollars preparing them.

She told Huffpost: "They have a tour bus, they have a race-car trailer, they have Carl the bodyguard. They have their 13,000 square-foot practice building with a stage.”

Kelly shocked viewers after telling judges she'd have "beaten them to death" if her daughters hadn't scored well – and openly declared Giavanna was much prettier than her sister.

Since the show aired both girls have gone on to work in fashion; Giavanna as a model and Alycesaundra as a fashion designer who showed her collection at New York Fashion Week 2020.

Eyelash-gate

Makenzie Myers became known for her outrageous strops on Toddlers and Tiaras, as well as her dependence on a pacifier, called Ni-Ni, despite being far too old for it.

Although a regular on the pageant circuit, Makenzie hated fake eyelashes and hair extensions – two things she was made to wear every time – and regular exploded with rage.

Since appearing on the TLC show, she seems to have opted for a more normal life, going to school and raising a kitten.

She did walk the runway at New York Fashion week with fellow show alumni back in 2018.

YouTuber

In a show full of screaming children it's hard to make your tantrums stand out, but Ava Bartello managed it.

She memorably screamed in her parents' faces after only winning "Grand Supreme" and not "Ultra Grand Supreme".

Since then Ava has become a YouTuber, sharing "fashion, lifestyle, and beauty videos", describing herself as "always a pageant girl, but now a queen".

Back op to boost chances

Alexis Todd's mum was so keen for her daughter to win a pageant crown that she booked her in for a chiropractic adjustment to boost her chances.

After being subjected to the treatment and a spray tan, Alexis was devastated when she still lost out on the top prize.

Her mum proudly said: "I'll go as far as I have to for Alexis to win."

Now a teenager, Alexis is focused on her tumbling role in her cheerleading squad and running track at school.

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From images on her social media, it appears she continued competing in pageants after appearing on the show.

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