Toddlers & Tiaras shows 4 yo smoking a cigarette on stage: not as bad as other stunts?


Do you remember those candy cigarettes that used to be available in the checkout aisle when we were kids? (If you’re pushing 40 like I am?) They still have them in Germany, I just saw some this summer when I was visiting, and I bet they’re still available in some areas of the US if you look hard enough. (You can find them on Amazon if you’re feeling nostalgic or need them as props for an adult party as some commenters there mention.) Anyway that’s what I’m reminded of when I see this story. Apparently a little Toddlers and Tiaras star, Destiny, 4, was featured in a skit during one of the beauty pageants using a prop cigarette. She was playing Sandy from “Grease,” and now there’s a big uproar over the portrayal of a preschooler smoking a cig. Just Fab has an overview of the controversy and the clip, above. Here’s how the mom explains her decision to let her daughter use a prop cigarette. Note that the little girl keeps asking for a real cigarette, and when she says “I’ve got to get my cigarette ready” the mom laughs like it’s the funniest thing:

“Sandy [in Grease] comes out and throws down a cigarette… so Destiny’s going to do that.

“We feel like, that’s a part of acting and it’s part of the routine. So we’ve added it in there and I believe she will do just fine with it.

“It’s nowhere a real cigarette… If she’s going to do acting and things like that, than she’s going to have to act out the part.

“I don’t think I will get criticized for the cigarette. Sandy was a good girl and she didn’t smoke either and she used it for image. I believe everything we go well.”

Then we see the little girl Destiny at the pageant decked out in a mini leather jacket, makeup and with her hair done up like Sandy. She’s clutching a “fake” cigarette that you can’t tell isn’t a real one. The mom pushes her daughter on stage and tells her “don’t forget to smoke!” You hear a gasp from the audience that may or may not have been added afterwards for effect.

This is kind of outrageous, but as I’ve said before in other T&T stories, would they do it if there weren’t cameras around? Would they do it if there wasn’t the hope of a spin-off if their daughters outshine the competition? These pageant moms are already giving their daughters eyebrow waxes, spray tans, bleaching their teeth and traveling long distances with them to compete. Giving a four year old a fake cigarette isn’t the worst thing they’ve done. As Honey Boo Boo’s mom reasoned when explaining why she gives her daughter Red Bull and Mountain Dew, “There are far worse things I can do to my child.” She should know.

In related news, Toddlers and Tiara’s spinoff “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” is getting such good ratings that a recent episode got more viewers than the Republican National Convention coverage. I’m not going to comment on whether that’s a good or bad thing, because I honestly don’t know.

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58 Responses to “Toddlers & Tiaras shows 4 yo smoking a cigarette on stage: not as bad as other stunts?”

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  1. Jay Elle says:

    uhh that’s an e-cigarette and, SURPRISE, it actually gives you a nice burst of niccotine when you inhale it. What a dumbass for letting her kid use it.

  2. dorothy says:

    Some of these padgent mom’s should be checked out by the DHR.

  3. mel says:

    Disgusting. If she was an adult doing it thats one thing but this…this is gross!

  4. NorthernGirl_20 says:

    That is just so wrong in so many ways. Disgusting.

  5. Riana says:

    Ugh…just ugh, and more ugh

    Why are some mothers so pathetic that they live their lives in petty hope of getting their daughters to dress trampy and behave sexually enough on stage for a shot at a spin off where they’ll have to up the ante each week till their precious child is performing a nude show on stage in a giant martini glass filled with bubbles. But don’t worry! She’s not actually nude! She’s wearing a skin tight nude hosiery bodysuit!

    I’m mad on so many levels.

  6. LeslieM says:

    Have you seen the mothers of these kids? Big fat redneck women. It’s hilarious the doll these little kids up like that and they are going to grow up and look just like their mom’s.

  7. mila says:

    This thing, show…what ever it is should be banned like now.

  8. LucyOriginal says:

    This show is disturbing. I wonder what kind of people these little girls will turn up to be.

  9. lower-case deb says:

    honestly, even if there’s a way to defend fake cigarettes (i know i was a big fan of choccies ciggies when i was a kid), there’s really no defence in dressing up kids in that way and slathering their face with so much cosmetics in that way either.

  10. Erinn says:

    Yeah… at first I was going to comment that I used to eat those “Popeye Cigarettes” all the time (I’m only in my early 20s, haven’t seen the brand linked in the article)… sweet chalky candy things, and pretend I was smoking as a kid. Nobody in my family smoked, I just thought it was so fun. And they tasted good!

    The difference is that this actually looks like one of those e-cigarettes, which is a good deal sketchier.

  11. All these mothers are sick in the head and need to have their children taken away from them.

  12. TheHeat says:

    Nothin’ says “beauty” like smokin’ a cigarette, right?
    I’ll admit that I’ve watched these shows from time to time. They are hilarious and somewhat self-affirming…kinda how “Hoarders” makes me feel better about my housekeeping skills! Bwah ha ha!

  13. elllie66 says:

    Is it a electronic cig or a candy one? Nothing is suprising on this show but if its a candy one and just for the Grease show its really just a prop.

  14. Suzy (from Ontario, Canada) says:

    These mothers kill me. They keep trying to be more outrageous hoping their kid gets noticed.

    I also think it’s a laugh how they talk about acting or modelling as if pageants are going to help them with that. It won’t. It won’t even help them if their dream is Miss America or Miss Universe one day. My son went to highschool with a girl who won Miss Universe a few years ago and she never did pageants as a kid. She said they actually look down on girls who did them.

    If you want your kid to be an actor, put them into some acting classes and get them an agent. These pageants are a joke and are telling them nothing positive except that how you look on the outside counts and having strangers judge you on your looks is the only important thing. They spend thousands of dollars that could be used for future education funds, trips to interesting places, camps, classes and workshops in activities the kids have shown an interest in. Stuff that could really expand them and improve their self esteem in a positive way. Instead they just throw the money away on stupid dresses and accessories that often cost more than most women pay for their wedding dresses!

  15. princesslizabeth says:

    Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    I have never watched T & T because of this nonsense. These “mothers” should be ashamed, or in jail, or both.

  16. fabgrrl says:

    When I was about 12 my friends and I spent one afternoon walking around in public with our candy cigs, with the powdery “smoke”, thinking we looked soooo bad-ass :^) Silly fun. Honestly, given all the other crap these “Moms” do, this seems pretty tame – if that is a CANDY cigarette.

  17. snappyfish says:

    beyond the obvious grossness of it all, i wonder why these parents don’t invest all this money they spend on these pageants into something like music lessons? or ballet? or some kind of sports? something that will help their kid get into college? or just, you know, put the money in a damn college fund.

    i feel bad for those little girls; all they’re learning is that being pretty and sexy is what’s important.

    • anon33 says:

      Unfortunately I know people like this:

      1. They don’t care about college. Some actively DO NOT want their kids to go to college bc they think they will turn into “over-educated snobs.”

      2. It’s not about the kids, or what the kids want, and never has been. They could care less about what the kid wants to do (like ballet or soccer.) It’s 100% about the moms living vicariously through the kids, except in very very few instances.

    • DetRiotGirl says:

      I’ve been home with an injury all week, and I will cop to having fallen into a T&T K-hole over the past few days. Someone has posted a bunch of full episodes on YouTube, which is convenient for me because that means I can watch them on my phone.

      This show is so trashy and just jaw droppingly bizarre, I can’t turn away from it! It’s like a real life version of Drop Dead Gorgeous, and often times just as funny.

      Plus, this show is a nice distraction when you can’t get out of bed. It makes me think to myself “ok, I hurt my back and I can’t walk real well at the moment… But, it could be so much worse. I could be *insert name of virtually any adult on T&T here*! Muscles sprains will heal… Idiocy won’t.”

      Anyway, I got off track here. What I really wanted to say is this; I find it hilarious when these moms go on about how their daughters can win “money for college” and then in the same breath say they spent $10,000 on paegents in the past two months.

      But wait, it gets dumber! The biggest cash prize I have ever seen on this show was $3,000. Now, I’m no mathematician (math causes wrinkles, right? I’m pretty sure I learned that from this show.) but it seems to me that if you’ve spent $10,000 to make $3,000 your financial planning skills could use a little work. Most of these women could pay for their child’s entire schooling with the amount they spend on dresses, wigs and props. It makes no sense!

      That all said though, you do occasionally see relatively normal families on the show. Some of them just enjoy having a mother daughter activity, and I’m sure it is fun for some of the girls. I would say the ratio of sane to crazy on T&T is about 1 to 2, with crazy winning the majority.

    • Dana says:

      It’s pretty simple actual. For some women it’s more important that their daughters get a M-R-S degree than learn anything tangible that they can use to succeed in life on their own.

  18. Ella says:

    I don’t even think a 4-year-old should be watching a movie about teenagers losing their virginity.

  19. judyjudy says:

    Gross people raising gross children.

  20. KellyinSeattle says:

    They over-sexual these kids! Look how Courtney Stodden turned out.

  21. GirlyGirl says:

    Seriously what’s next for that show?

    Are they planning to dress them all up and re-make a Sir Mix-a-Lot video?

    It seems like they are purposefully ramping up the shock factor to get attention

  22. GirlyGirl says:

    Also who cares? TLC is a network of scumbag execs getting scumbag producers to convince uneducated moms to do stupid stuff with their kids.

    next…

  23. Zorbitor says:

    🐷🐷 BABY’S GOT GLITZ 🐷🐷

  24. swack says:

    I watched this show once (was a repeat I think) just to see what it was like. I was so appalled at the mother who was waxing her daughter’s eyebrows. The first time it was done the girl was burnt. She cried and begged not to have it done again and the mother just went ahead and did it. Never watched it again. To me these pageants exemplify that outer beauty is more important than inner beauty. Most of these young girls have nasty attitudes and horrible behavior. Also, the girl is asking for a REAL cigarette (and the one she has is very realistic looking). She may be smoking at a young age if they are not careful because fake or not the mother is condoning the behavior.

  25. vanessa says:

    Wow, my daughter is four and if I see her pretending to smoke, I get upset with her. This is crazy! I mean really???

  26. tru tru says:

    I have laughed at these comments sooo hard.

    its really annoys me that she keeps asking for a damn cigarette and her mom giggles.

    I don’t watch these shows, smdh.

  27. yolo says:

    WHO is really watching this crap!? And WHY!?

  28. KellyinSeattle says:

    I wonder if she and Honey Boo Boo Chile have a play date at Hooters…

  29. lucy2 says:

    As bad as it is, the kid pretending to smoke is the least of her problems. All the other stuff their parents do to them, on TV no less, is going to do them in anyway.

  30. Beth says:

    Guess they aren’t worried about saving for college.

  31. francesca1 says:

    I feel like the cigarette is the least alarming aspect of the ensemble.

  32. Marianne says:

    When I was a kid, I used to pretend I had a cigarette in my hand and blow air in the cold. Sometimes when I got those Pop-eye sticks at halloween, I pretended it was a cigarette…and you know what? I NEVER tried a real one ever.

  33. lrm says:

    Oh, you can find those candy cigarettes at any of the candy shops-I’ve seen them in laguna beach, healdsburg and san francisco…..here in CA.

    I know this, b/c we went to Italy a couple of years ago, and my then 9 yr old was really amazed by all the smoking, so he would pretend to when he came home-he thought it was fascinating-all the teens and folks in general lighting up everywhere….[and we are ultra organic types; noone we know smokes, either....though we of course go to candy shops on vacation(:]
    Anyway, he bought these candy cigs at every candy shop we went to for about a year….And would sit around pretending, with his big sunglesses that he bought in southern italy [i think they were actually women's style glasses, but he loved them, so whatever?]….and drinking grape juice in a wine glass.

    Yea, he’s a character, that kid.

    anyway, this T and T stuff is practically criminal, IMO.

  34. jk says:

    It is not criminal or it would be shut down. There are children being sent out as sexy adults and that is wrong. Every pedophile out there has probably taped these shows. My sisters daughters were in what were called back then “Talent shows” They tap danced , sang , did acrobats and baton twirling and they also had them dress up as a little princess They had their hair curled and a prom dress on and NO makeup what so ever. There were no sexy clothes . Certainly no ciggies or phony ones. What I see now are a bunch of girls who are being trained to dance like strippers,madeup like hookers and dress like common tramps because their mothers were fat and unattractive and were poor so they are using their money on these costumes and now they have obnoxious whatever her name is on her own show and this kid has no talent whatsoever and is over weight and they give rednecks a bad name and that is not right. I come from a long line of Rednecks who got those rednecks by busting their asses in the heat and working like dogs to raise and feed their families. These people that are using their kids to get money and to live a youth they never had are not REdnecks..they are fools that are going to ruin their kids lives.

  35. Beatriz says:

    I grew up in Germany and used to spend all my allowance on gum and those chocolate-cigarettes all the time and pretend that I was smoking :D . Never in a million years did I ever think to try to smoke real cigarettes though.

  36. Gabriella says:

    I don’t understand moralist America. I don’t understand your criteria of what should be censored and what shouldn’t.
    How come this show is still on???? Seems absurd to me.

  37. Shannon says:

    Encouraging your kid to pretend to smoke with the justification that it enhances one’s image. I bet she didn’t even stop to explain to her kid how uncool lung cancer looks.

  38. Jennifer12 says:

    The channel should be ashamed of themselves. Honey Boo Boo’s family is like a redneck show for people to feel superior to and makes fun of people who have no education or jobs and no drive in life beyond exploiting kids. Is Honey Boo Boo going to be “cute” (because I don’t think her behavior is) at ten or eleven? And it’s one thing to be in a pageant, but totally another to deliberately turn little girls into mini adults that crave the attention they get for looking and acting inappropriately on a show.