Alana Thompson — better known to the world as Honey Boo Boo — rose to fame as a sassy southern six-year-old competing in child pageants on the popular TLC show Toddlers & Tiaras. Honey Boo Boo’s bizarre quotes, incredible charisma, and totally, uh, fascinating family won her a spinoff show called Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. There we learned about the wonders of couponing, “sketti” (hey, Eater says it’s not bad), and “Go Go Juice” (here’s a recipe from Portland Mercury if you dare).
According to The Washington Post, the show was cancelled in 2014 after allegations that June “Mama June” Shannon was dating a child molester. Mama June got a second chance at fame when MeTV greenlit Mama June: From Not to Hot, which chronicled Mama June’s weight loss journey. The series focuses on Mama June, but Honey Boo Boo and other members of the family make frequent appearances.
Recent seasons, which highlight Mama June’s drug addiction and recovery, have also chronicled the deteriorating relationship between Honey Boo Boo and her mother. Nowadays, Honey Boo Boo is a boisterous teenager with a strong social media presence, an affinity for fake eyelashes and even more sass than she had when she was younger. What else is the former pageant queen up to?
Mama June's addiction tore apart Honey Boo Boo's life
In March 2019, Mama June Shannon was arrested for possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia. Much of the drama was recorded for posterity in Season 4 of Mama June: Not to Hot, where Mama June revealed in one episode that she and her boyfriend Geno Doak spent almost $2,500 a day “if not more” on methamphetamine.
Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson, along with her sister Lauryn “Pumpkin” Efird, staged a televised intervention days before Mama June and Doak were arrested. In the episode, Mama June storms out of the house in anger, cameras following the whole way, while a tearful Thompson reflects on what has happened in her immediate family’s world: “I see every day, kids with their mom… why can’t I be like that?” This dark look into Honey Boo Boo’s childhood shows that the reality star has coped with so much more than just the pressures of young fame.
Pumpkin is taking care of Honey Boo Boo
In 2019, Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson moved in with Lauryn “Pumpkin” Efird as a result of June Shannon’s addiction. The sisters subsequently cut off contact with their mother. In a January 2021 Instagram comment (via People), Pumpkin revealed that Honey Boo Boo is still living with her and her family. The transition out of her own mom’s home was painful for Honey Boo Boo; in an episode of Mama June: From Not to Hot, she tearfully exclaimed that she was living with Pumpkin “not by choice,” telling Mama June that she was “scared to stay at [her] house.”
The new living situation, of course, is not completely drama-free; viewers see the sisters constantly bicker in the Season 5 premiere of Mama June: From Not to Hot (which has been rebranded as Mama June: Road to Redemption). At one point in the episode, Pumpkin tells Honey Boo Boo she isn’t her maid before adding that she should be “out enjoying herself” because she is only “20 years old.” Despite the apparent stress that housing an extra person is putting on Pumpkin, the sisters seem to be close friends in their own special way (a way which involves near-constant insults).
Pumpkin often posts sweet photos with Honey Boo Boo and refers to herself as a “sister mom,” and Honey Boo Boo’s Instagram profile picture is a cute selfie with Pumpkin. While the circumstances certainly are not ideal, Honey Boo Boo at least appears to have some stability in her older sister.
Honey Boo Boo 'couldn't be prouder' of Mama June
In a March 2021 interview with TMZ, June Shannon shared that she and her boyfriend Geno Doak have been sober ever since they entered rehab in January 2020. “I am trying to mend those relationships with the children,” she said, noting that it is “an everyday struggle” to keep sober and try to win back her family. “You’re watching me trying to man up and trying to open up and trying to say, ‘Hey, everybody deserves a second chance and that I’m not perfect,'” she told E! News ahead of the season premiere of Mama June: Road to Redemption. “But you know, hopefully by the end of the season, they will say we’re back together.”
Although her relationship with her mom has had its ups and downs, Honey Boo Boo still will not tolerate people talking trash about members of her family. In the comments of an Instagram post (via InTouch), the pageant alum told off fans who were coming for her kin: “Ion to much care what y’all gotta say about me. But one thing y’all ain’t finna do is talk about my mama and my sister.” She also said in the same comment that she “couldn’t be prouder” of her mother for her sobriety.
Forever a reality star, that Honey Boo Boo
Season 5 of Mama June: From Not to Hot premiered on WeTV in March 2021, and Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson is front and center of the first episode, where she is shown coping with the pandemic while living with Lauryn “Pumpkin” Efird’s family. In one early scene, Honey Boo Boo listens to Pumpkin and her husband engage in a bitter argument while she laments her lifelong lack of stability in a sad interview: “When I lived with Mama and Sugar Bear, they always fought. And then when Mama and Geno got together, they started to fuss and fight. And now that I live with Pumpkin and Josh, everything was good in the beginning, now they’re starting to argue… It just brings back a lot of memories and it’s hard to watch.”
The show primarily features June Shannon’s struggle to repair her relationship with her children now that she is sober, but also focuses on her family’s struggle to accept her apology and cope with the damage she has done. A trailer for the series hints at the pain experienced by the whole family, including Honey Boo Boo, in the wake of Mama June’s arrest.
Although the episodes hint at reopening old wounds, it seems as though Honey Boo Boo, Pumpkin, and Mama June are all equally invested in the show’s success; Thompson has been promoting the show on Instagram nonstop. It seems like everyone involved is ready to get back to work!
Honey Boo Boo no longer sees her father outside of production
Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson’s father, Mike “Sugar Bear” Thompson, was a fixture in her original reality show. In the Season 4 premiere of Mama June: From Not to Hot, Lauryn “Pumpkin” Efird claimed that Sugar Bear’s wife, Jennifer Lamb, was trying to take custody of Honey Boo Boo, as Pumpkin only had “temporary guardianship.” The same episode shows Honey Boo Boo awkwardly telling Sugar Bear that she can’t see him the next weekend because she has a “snake extravaganza” — a hilariously weird excuse that she later (rightfully) chides herself for (“A snake convention? Is that the best you could’ve done, Alana? Really?”).
The two clearly are not a close father-daughter pair. This is backed up by Mama June Shannon, who claims that the contact between Honey Boo Boo and Sugar Bear is limited to the show. In an interview with The Sun, Mama June said that “there is no communication” between Honey Boo Boo and her dad unless they are in production: “It’s kind of like ‘hey,’ do whatever he needs to do and then it’s gone. It’s not, ‘Hey I want to spend time with her after.’ It’s been that way now for 15 years. It is what it is.”
Makeup and clothes are still Honey Boo Boo's favorite things
Alana Thompson has been frequently seen in a full face of makeup since her Toddlers & Tiaras days, where she trotted around in a Daisy Duke outfit before taking home the third runner-up prize despite the fact that she “showed [her] belly” to the judges” — a loss which a six-year-old Honey Boo Boo took in stride with her signature confidence, claiming folks just “don’t know a good thing when they see it.”
She’s experimented with a lot of different looks in the post-Here Comes Honey Boo Boo era, frequently posting Instagram pictures with false eyelashes, or sporting a more natural look as seen in one July 2020 pic. Her recent favorite trend appears to be dramatic, ultra-long nails. In the first episode of Mama June: From Not to Hot Season 5, Honey Boo Boo is seen showing off some truly intense talons, and when her producer asks about the mile-long nails, her response is to give her best Toddlers & Tiaras-era smirk and quip back in a way that tells us that she knows exactly what she is about: “This is fashion.” In April 2020, she even took a turn as a runway model during a Model Mafia fashion show, where she got to strut her stuff in a dramatic tulle-and-satin getup. Work it, Boo Boo!
Honey Boo Boo released her very own beauty box
It’s only natural that Alana Thompson has taken her obsession with gettin’ beautimous (defined by Daily Beast as “a synonym for pretty that combines the meanings of ‘beautiful’ and ‘classy,'” for those not up on their Honey Boo Boo jargon) to the next level. In August 2020, she took to Instagram to announce Beauty by Boo Boo, a beauty box featuring some of the star’s favorite beauty products.
The box is still in the “waitlist” phase, but some early reviews aren’t so glowing; YouTuber Alexandria Ryan says the contents of the box are “cheap-feeling and absolutely not worth $100.” Even if the value of the products really is double the list price of $99, it sounds like makeup fans may not be bowled over by the contents of the box.
Bryan diplomatically made it clear in a comment on her review that she does not “blame Alana” for the poor quality of the box: “I definitely think it is the team of adults behind her using her name and brand for a cash grab.” That’s a bummer, but hopefully Honey Boo Boo can use her brand to create a higher quality product in the future.
Honey Boo Boo knows how to shut down trolls
If you’ve been a controversial figure since you were six years old, you gain a talent for shutting down nasty comments. Alana Thompson has dealt with haters almost her entire life — even as a young reality star, she was the target of vitriol from all corners of the world. A 2012 episode of South Park spoofed Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (in one scene, a cartoon version of Mama June Shannon performs chest compressions on cartoon Honey Boo Boo in the middle of a pageant before telling her daughter, who apparently just suffered a heart attack, to “get up and wave to them judges”), and Scary Movie 5 plays up one of her most famous lines (“A dollar makes me holler, Honey Boo Boo child!”) in a jump scare.
All these years later, Honey Boo Boo is no stranger to tackling rude Instagram comments and regularly shuts down haters on social media with captions like “can’t stand me? take a seat!” Or how about the sassy selfie from 2020 where she wrote, “Your opinion don’t make my money.” If only we could all have been so confident at fifteen!
Who's Honey Boo Boo's secret boyfriend?
In January 2021, Alana Thompson revealed in an Instagram Q&A that she started dating someone. As Hollywood Life reported, when a fan asked if she had a boyfriend, Honey Boo Boo replied “yesssss.” But who is the mystery boy?
Honey Boo Boo’s Instagram feed does not give up any clues regarding the identity of her beau; while she frequently posts selfies and promotional clips, she does not appear to have any photographs with a potential romantic interest. Secretive romantic drama is nothing new in the Honey Boo Boo cinematic universe; in 2019, Lauryn “Pumpkin” Efird told Us Weekly that her sister was trying to be a “player-player” now that she is older, a claim which an obviously embarrassed Honey Boo Boo pushed back on.
Honey Boo Boo goes on to say that she has “a lot of boys hitting up her line already,” and makes curtailing her suitors seem like a full-time job: “I get that every day. Another dude slips into my DMs. I’m just like, ‘Delete.'” Whether the new guy is being deliberately hidden by the limelight by producers or just is not ready for a life of reality show fame, she evidently did not say “delete” this time around.
Life 'couldn't be better' for Honey Boo Boo
Despite ongoing family turmoil, Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson appears to be enjoying life like any other teenager. In her January 2021 Instagram Q&A (via Hollywood Life), one fan asked her how her life was going. Her response? “Honestly couldn’t be better.”
A photo celebrating International Women’s Day on Lauryn “Pumpkin” Efird’s Instagram shows the sisters goofing off with tutus on their heads, and Honey Boo Boo’s personal feed is filled with photos celebrating her happiness, including a cute mirror selfie in what appears to be her high school bathroom and a photo with her beaming a big smile next to a gift on her fifteenth birthday.
Her relationship with Mama June Shannon appears to be mending as well; clips on Instagram from Mama June: Road to Redemption feature what appears to be a mother-daughter outing where everyone seems to be getting along. The going has been tough for Honey Boo Boo, especially since she was uprooted from her home due to her mother’s addiction. But now that Mama June is sober and willing to work on her relationship with her daughters, things appear to be getting incrementally better. Here’s to hoping that the rest of Honey Boo Boo’s teenage years will be filled with the happiness and stability that every kid deserves.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse and mental health, please contact SAMHSA’s 24-hour National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
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