Miss America Slams TLC’s ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’

By Jennifer Abbey

Sep 6, 2012 12:56pm
gty ht laura kaeppeler alana thompson jef 120906 wblog Miss America Slams TLCs Toddlers & Tiaras

                      (Jamie McCarthy/Style/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images; TLC)

Don’t expect Miss America to “redneck-ognize” episodes of “Toddlers & Tiaras” or be rubbing elbows with Honey Boo Boo.

Laura Kaeppeler, who was crowned Miss America in January, is not one of the 3  million fans hooked on TLC’s “Toddlers & Tiaras” and its  spin-off,  ”Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”  Laura Kaeppeler says it takes a lot more to be crowned Miss America than it does to dress up and parade around a stage like the young girls on the TLC hit.

“There’s a misconception that pageants are beauty pageants. … Miss America is a scholarship provider,” she told E! News Wednesday. “We compete in talent and community service, so there’s a lot more to it.”

Miss America is “more about being a well-rounded, young woman” than the kiddie pageants are, Kaeppeler said.

The 24-year-old from Wisconsin hinted that the parents on the TLC shows may be the real problem.

“I don’t agree with those sort of programs,” she said. “I don’t think it’s the child who wants to do that necessarily. … I think it may come from an outside source. I think if you’re going to do something like [competing in pageants], you should do it because you want to.”

Kaeppeler  is the most recent Miss America to speak out against “Toddlers & Tiaras” and its spin-off. Vanessa Williams, who won the Miss America title in 1983, spoke out  in May, saying she would never let her children compete in such pageants.

“I think they don’t know what they are doing,” she said on an episode of Anderson Cooper’s daytime talk show, “Anderson.”  ”But when the child is screaming and saying, ‘I don’t want to do this, I don’t feel like doing it,’ when they are using special juice to get them hyped …”

Cooper interjected and explained that “special juice,” also known as “go-go juice,” is a mix of Mountain Dew and 7-Up.

“Yeah, that’s not my world,” Williams said, “and I would never have my kids do that.”

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