“Toddlers & Tiaras” sashayed back into our lives on Dec. 29, and TLC brought out the big guns: returning pageant contestant 4-year-old Makenzie, who has an obsession with her “Ni-Ni” (her nickname for her beloved pacifier) and mirrors. Joining her were twin sisters Scarlett and Isabella, 1, whose mother has spent over $250,000 dollars to bring home the crown and to fuel sibling rivalry. Lastly, we have 8-year-old Danielle, a super-competitive perfectionist with “eyebrows that grew way far down on her eyelids.”
Watching the episode, we were simultaneously horrified and mystified as the girls and their mothers prepped for the Arizona Gold Coast Pageant. While Scarlett and Isabella’s mom Kelli was busy calculating how much she has spent on dresses and making sure viewers knew she was rich, Makenzie’s mom Juana laughed to keep from crying while trying to get her daughter to take glitz pictures. Danielle prepped by coaching (more like ridiculing) her mom Tedi’s pageant walk.
There were many memorable moments from the episode, but we managed to narrow the list down to three of our favorites:
No 3: Danielle loses her fruit
While practicing her walk in a Chiquita Banana-esque get-up, tragedy struck when Danielle’s fruit-turban fell off. A moment of silence for the departed fruit passed before the waterworks started. Why was she crying? “I hate when the fruit falls off because then I’m not perfect.” This bodes well for Danielle’s main life goal: To be famous. It’s also worth mentioning that the judges and hotel rooms (both of whom Danielle threatened to destroy if she didn’t win) ended the episode unscathed: She won her division.
No. 2: In case you didn’t know, Kelli is rich
You might have missed that Kelli (“I’ve been married a few times. We’re not going to get into numbers”) is rich… if you weren’t watching the episode. She name-drops Chanel, takes a private plane to the pageant (“We’re envied”) and the camera lingered on the row of expensive cars outside of her home longer than it did on her children. 70 dresses hang on racks in the “princess room,” which Kelli makes sure to mention cost $1,500-$2,000 a piece. We’re also convinced that Scarlett won the highest title of Grand Supreme Gold Coast Arizona because of Kelli’s fortune. The baby can’t even walk on her own. Danielle was totally picking up what we’re putting down. “It can’t even sing or walk or do nothin’ but poop or pee.”
No. 1: All things Makenzie.
We are obsessed with this little girl. She calls herself a “schuperstar,” she is bewitched by her own beauty (mirrors are her best friends) and she both charms and scares every adult she meets. Makenzie has still not been weened off her “Ni-Ni” as her mom compares it to an adult trying to quit smoking. We’re convinced Makenzie trades smiles for time with her Ni-Ni, though she admits, “I love pageants more than I love my ‘Ni-Ni.'” We’re mystified by her ability to go from whining to hamming it up for the cameras in two seconds flat. “In 15 years… I see her being a star one day,” says her mother. We pray to the pageant Gods that she is, but if all else fails, Makenzie can always pursue a career in food service: “I think waitresses are really cool.”