It’s been almost 10 years since Here Comes Honey Boo Boo debuted on TLC featuring the then six-year-old Alana Thompson. She had been a stand-out of the network’s pageant show Toddlers & Tiaras because of her outgoing personality and talent for catchphrases, including the iconic “honey boo boo” line that is now forever attached to her identity. In a new Teen Vogue feature, the now 16-year-old Alana is now is finding her way to navigate her own identity as she grapples with the Honey Boo Boo persona. “My mama did not name me Honey Boo Boo. My name is Alana,” she says in the interview. “They are completely two different people.”
In the Teen Vogue interview Alana expresses frustration over the image the public has of her as a child. Kind of like Shirley Temple, the collective consciousness has a frozen idea of her as a child entertaining us with catchphrases. It’s dehumanizing, both to Alana now, and to Alana when she was six-years-old.
“They are completely two different people,” she says about who she was when she was younger, and who she is now. “I would say that I do like this Alana now, rather than the younger Alana.”
Alana has dealt with growing up in the spotlight, and also the heartbreaking experience of watching her mother’s spiraling drug addiction, which was also in the spotlight.
Who has guardianship of Alana now?
After her mother June’s 2019 arrest on drug addiction charges, Alana’s legal guardian has bene her sister, Lauryn “Pumpkin” Shannon.
Alana opened up to Teen Vogue about dealing with her mother’s struggle with drugs. She and her mom are now working on their relationship, and Alana is proud of the work June has done on herself. “A lot of folks in this world do not realize how many people are actually really affected by drug and alcohol [use]. It’s very, very hard. It’s something I’d wish on nobody, for real.”
“When my mama got real bad with her [drug use], I didn’t know where I was going to end up,” Alana revealed about the worst times. “I’m proud of myself for how far I’ve come.”
What does Alana want to do for a living?
Alana still has a few more years of high school left, but right now her goal is to become a neonatal nurse. She’s definitely a hard worker: along with being a reality TV star, Alana has a part-time job after school and on weekends.
Filming for reality TV isn’t something she sees in her longterm plan. “I want to have a life, you know? I want to be able to support my kids when I do have kids and stuff like that,” she says. “It’s definitely something that is good for the time being, (and) good for later on in life.”
Being in Teen Vogue is a dream come true for Alana
“OMGG!! I’m soo excited to finally tell everyone that I’m on Teen Vogue,” Alana wrote in her Instagram caption promoting the feature. “This is a dream come true, never in million years would I’ve thought I was gonna be on Teen Vogue but look at me now! I’m so thankful & grateful for this opportunity.”
No longer Honey Boo Boo
“I guess people still expect me to be little Honey Boo Boo and I’m not anymore,” Alana explained about the persona that is forever attached to her. “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…But I do not care. As long as I like myself, I’m good.”
People also seem to think that she walks around saying catchphrases, which is definitely not the case. She says her catchphrases “were definitely Honey Boo Boo days, for sure.”
Alana does have a strong sense of self that’s necessary to make it in the brutal world of reality TV and social media. Alana is confident in the style she presents on Instagram despite all the negativity she receives back critiquing things like her eyelashes and her nails. She’s learned to do what feels comfortable to her, and to not compare herself to others. “I don’t ever look at people and I’m like, ‘Oh, I wish I was like her,’” she says. “Because I don’t ever wish to be like nobody. I am my own person.”
Being “Honey Boo Boo” has come with a bit of social stigma in real life, unfortunately. “To be honest, I do not have many friends. At all,” she says. “Because I feel like folks are so much like, ‘Oh, my God, I’m friends with Honey Boo Boo,’” Alana adds. “I don’t trust nobody really, so I don’t have friends.”
The dark side of body positivity
Alana also points out that there may be some hypocrisy with Generation Z’s focus on body positivity. “I feel like my generation is probably making it [body shaming] worse. Everybody’s all about body positivity, body positivity, until they see a body they don’t like.”
“I don’t understand why people think this way,” she says about the critiques she gets on her body. “Just because I got a little bit of extra meat on my bones, you want to hate me? I’ll never get body shaming.”
No matter what, Alana is confident in her own skin: “Like, I know I’m beautiful, and I know I got a banging body, so…I don’t care,”