Alana Thompson, who is known for her role on Toddlers & Tiaras as “Honey Boo Boo,” has opened up about growing up, finding her own identity, and the difficulties of being a teenager in the spotlight.
Thompson, who turns 16 on 28 August, discussed the realities of fame, and why she doesn’t want to be known as her reality television persona during an interview with Teen Vogue, where she began by acknowledging that her mother June Shannon did not name her “Honey Boo Boo”.
“My mama did not name me Honey Boo Boo. My name is Alana,” she said, adding: “They are completely two different people. I would say that I do like this Alana now, rather than the younger Alana.”
However, according to the teenager, who also starred on Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Dancing With the Stars: Juniors, while she wants to move beyond Honey Boo Boo, her fans have not been as eager, with Thompson revealing that she often faces pushback when sharing her newfound identity on social media.
“I guess people still expect me to be little Honey Boo Boo, and I’m not anymore,” she said, before explaining the part stereotypes play in the backlash. “Just because I’m from the South, people expect me to be all country bumpkin, out riding four wheelers all the time, but that’s not really how it is. There are so many folks on my Instagram that do not like my nails or my eyelashes. But I do not care. As long as I like myself, I’m good.
“I don’t ever look at people and I’m like: ‘Oh, I wish I was like her.’ Because I don’t ever wish to be like nobody. I am my own person.”
While Thompson is comfortable with who she is becoming and knows she’s “beautiful,” she also acknowledged the body shaming that is prevalent in the comments of her Instagram posts, which she said has convinced her that her generation won’t be the one to end harmful body image ideals.
“I feel like my generation is probably making it worse. Everybody’s all about body positivity, body positivity, until they see a body they don’t like,” she told the outlet. “I don’t understand why people think this way. Just because I got a little bit of extra meat on my bones, you want to hate me? I’ll never get body shaming.”
During the interview, the 15-year-old also revealed that she has found it difficult to make friends, as she has encountered people wanting to be close to her only because of her fame and it has made it hard for her to trust.
Explaining that her only friend is her boyfriend, Thompson said: “To be honest, I do not have many friends. At all.”
“Because I feel like folks are so much like: ‘Oh, my God, I’m friends with Honey Boo Boo,’” she continued. “I don’t trust nobody really, so I don’t have friends.”
However, despite the struggles that come with growing up in the spotlight, it doesn’t mean that she regrets her childhood or teenage fame, as she acknowledged that it has made her financially stable for the future, when she hopes to have children of her own. She also noted that being on TV is “much easier” than having a regular job.