Alana Thompson became a staple in American pop culture as soon as she appeared on TLC's Toddlers and Tiaras at just six years old. At the time, she went by the nickname "Honey Boo Boo," used hilarious catchphrases like "You better redneckonize" and drank her infamous "go-go juice" (a concoction of Red Bull and Mountain Dew), making her an anomaly among the many other young girls whose journeys on the beauty pageant circuit was documented on the show. But at 15 years old, she is ready to shed that part of her identity.
"My mama did not name me Honey Boo Boo. My name is Alana," the Georgia native told Teen Vogue. "I guess people still expect me to be little Honey Boo Boo, and I'm not anymore. ...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."
Ahead of her 16th birthday, Thompson already has aspirations of getting a car, graduating high school and college, becoming a neonatal nurse and providing for her family one day. In preparing for that future, she's aware that being a part of her family's ongoing reality television series is a smart financial decision. However, the negative attention that she's received in turn makes it all the more difficult.
"There are so many folks on my Instagram that do not like my nails or my eyelashes," she said.
But that isn't all of the trolling that Thompson is subjected to. In fact, she's been a victim of body shaming throughout most of her life.
"Everybody's all about body positivity, body positivity, until they see a body they don't like," Thompson said. "Just because I got a little bit of extra meat on my bones, you want to hate me? I'll never get body shaming."
The treatment isn't anything new for Thompson, who was the subject of a fat-shaming meme at just 10 years old and later appeared on the television show The Doctors for a "health intervention" where she was laughed at by audience members while listing her favorite foods. Still, the teen is confident in who she is and the way that she looks.
"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," she said. "Like, I know I'm beautiful, and I know I got a banging body, so...I don't care."
The teen went on to say "I'm proud of myself for how far I've come," after sharing so many years of her life on television, including the difficult moments of dealing with her mother's drug and alcohol abuse and overcoming the scrutiny she's faced throughout. And luckily for Thompson, her opinion of herself is all that truly matters.
"As long as I like myself, I'm good," she said.
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