Honey Boo Boo Has Grown Up Quite A Bit

What has the star of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson, been up to since TLC canceled the show in 2014? As it turns out, a lot. That is, if you consider having a weight loss intervention staged for her, recording a rap song, participating in charity events, and just living the everyday normal life of a reality TV child star to be a lot.

The affable youngster has grown up quite a bit since Here Comes Honey Boo Boo days, and especially since Toddlers & Tiaras, which is where she made her television debut. Gone are the days of Go Go Juice and her "famous Daisy Duke routine." Alana, who officially became a teenager in 2018, has moved on to more mature pursuits. A boyfriend, becoming an aunt again — it's all happening for Alana as she grows up before our very eyes. Let's check in with the beautimous reality star to see what she's been up to lately.

Scandal...and canceled

The Here Comes Honey Boo Boo empire came crashing down in October 2014, when TLC canceled the series amid allegations that Thompson's mother, June "Mama June" Shannon, was dating a convicted child molester ... who had allegedly molested her daughter, Anna "Chickadee" Shannon, when Anna was 8 years old.

At the time, TMZ reported that TLC had filmed a full season's worth of episodes but chose not to air them for the sake of the children's welfare. "Supporting the health and welfare of these remarkable children is our only priority," the network said in a statement. "TLC is faithfully committed to the children's ongoing comfort and well-being."

On an episode of Oprah's Where Are They Now, Alana said she didn't know why the show had been cancelled. When she asked her mom why the camera crew hadn't been around lately, she was simply told they "stopped filming the show." There's a silver lining to this whole ugly scenario, however, in that Mama June claimed the family wasn't too sad to see the series end. "There's nothing like being back at home and knowing that you don't have to deal with drama and you don't have to deal with craziness," she said (via HuffPost). "It's been more nicer [sic] to have it calm and have peace for once."

The Doctors had some advice...

During Mama June and Alana's appearance on the daytime health talk show The Doctors, the show expressed concern about Honey Boo Boo's health and weight. During the first of three episodes, it was revealed that Alana, then age 9, was 4'6" tall and 125 pounds, which the co-hosts classified as obese. Mama June tried to claim that Alana's weight was due to steroids she was taking for a number of pre-existing health conditions. The show's co-host quickly shot down those claims. "It's not her steroids that are causing her to be obese. It's the foods she's eating," Dr. Travis Stork said.

The program subsequently set up Alana with healthy prepared meals, a nutritionist, and cooking supplies, among other things, to help her lose 12 to 25 pounds. Subsequent check-ins and visits to the show alleged that the family had not been following through with its pledge. "We sent you all these kitchen tools to help you cook and they're still in the boxes, [they] haven't even been opened," Dr. Stork said in May 2015.

...but Mama June wasn't taking it

On the heels of their final appearance on The Doctors, Mama June wrote a since-deleted Instagram post about the weight loss progress Alana had allegedly made, despite the show claiming otherwise. "Cause everyone wants to know how alana [is] doing, she has lost almost 8 pds from 125.5 to 118 so Far in a [month] im so proud of her," Mama June wrote.

According to Us Weekly, Mama June credited Alana's weight loss to "eating smaller portions and walking," along with the "encouraging support" from the family's personal trainer, Natasha Fett. Mama June also took aim at The Doctors, alleging the show wanted her family to fail and was edited to make them look bad. She wrote that instead of the advertised 10-week program the family was supposed to follow, the show flew them back for the update "almost a [month] after the first appearance," which she felt was designed to make them look like they didn't care.

For her part, Alana never expressed much interest in weight loss. Throughout Mama June's dramatic body transformation in 2017, Alana praised her but shrugged off the idea of joining her, saying, "Mama's on this diet, but I'm not, boo boo. I like my curves." She added, "I'm not jumping on any bandwagon, unless it has cheeseburgers and stuff." However, by 2018, Mama June told Entertainment Tonight that Honey Boo Boo was once again on a "no-grease diet" and had lost five pounds.

Back in the spotlight

A few months after Mama June's Instagram post about Alana's alleged weight loss, Honey Boo Boo made a rare red carpet appearance in her home state of Georgia. According to Extra, it was one of the pint-sized star's first public outings since the cancellation of the family's show in October 2014. Alana attended the opening of Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta star Benzino's new restaurant, Benzino's Crab Shack, alongside her sisters, Chubbs and Pumpkin, as well as her parents, Mama June and Sugar Bear.

Later that summer, Alana and her family took in some music at the Gulf Coast Jam in Panama City, Fla. During the festival, Alana snagged guitar picks from the likes of Lady Antebellum, Hunter Hayes, and Dwight Yoakam. "I had a blast ..." Alana said in another since-deleted Instagram post. "It's been amazing meeting all these new celebrities."

Observing all those live jams must have made an impression on Alana because not long after, she apparently caught the music bug herself. However, the country genre didn't tickle her fancy the way hip-hop did. That's right, Honey Boo Boo became a rapper.

A rap career is launched

Jay-Z. Kanye West. Honey Boo Boo? In the fall of 2015, Alana attempted to launch a career in music when she released her very first rap single, "Movin' Up." It was produced by Adam Barta, the man behind other reality TV stars-turned pseudo-musicians such as Patricia "Tan Mom" Krentcil and Farrah Abraham (allegedly).   

In the track, which features Alana's sister, Pumpkin, Alana says, "I'm just a small-town girl, living in my princess world. When rainy days give me the blues, I break out my dancing shoes!" A video for the rap single was also released, featuring Alana's parents, Mama June and Sugar Bear. There's also a lot of awkward dancing, which they dub "The Honey Boo Boo Bop." It's unclear if the song, or the dance it inspired, ever took off aside from the initial viral spike upon its release. As of this writing, Alana has yet to record a follow-up, which pretty much says it all.

Living that 'normie' life

What's one way to celebrate your new career in rap music? By going to the local county fair, apparently. In October 2015, Mama June took to Twitter and posted a video montage of the Thompson family's trip to the Spalding County Fair in Griffin, Ga. 

"The girl had a blast 4 the first time @ griffin fair," the tweet said. The accompanying 30-second montage showed highlights from their trip, including multiple photos of Alana looking like she was having a legitimate blast riding all of the classic fair rides, including the Himalaya, the bumper cars, and the Drop Zone.

But it's not all fun and games. Also that month, Alana lent her support to National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by rocking belts designed through C4 Belt's partnership with the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Alana was all smiles in the photos, which were shared on her Facebook page, as she modeled the charitable belts which she, of course, paired with playfully mismatched socks.

Alana rides shotgun for Mama June's big comeback

In November 2015, it was announced that Mama June would be making her big return to reality television on a reality-themed edition of the WeTV series Marriage Boot Camp, alongside her ex, Sugar Bear, with whom she had reconciled after splitting in 2014. (They've since split for good, and Mama June has moved onto another reality TV project, but more on that in a minute.) Alana came out in support of her family for the series' Los Angeles premiere, where she made headlines for her grown-up fashion.

The 10-year-old arrived to the premiere in a black-and-white-striped dress, accompanied by a pearl necklace, fake eyelashes, and her signature personality. She also wore her hair straightened and full makeup, albeit toned down from her pageant days, giving her a much more grown up look.

Clearly enjoying being back in the spotlight — and on a red carpet, no less, — Honey Boo Boo hammed it up for photographers by flashing her signature double peace sign, sticking out her tongue, rolling her eyes, and striking pretty much all of the poses.

Sometimes charity gets messy

Remember when Alana helped raise awareness for breast cancer in 2015? Well, she was back in her philanthropic shoes in February 2018 when she helped raise money for Children's Hospital in Macon, Ga. In addition to helping with a raffle ticket sale, the enterprising little Boo Boo made 450 jars of homemade slime (No, that's not her mom's tuna casserole recipe) to sell, with a promise to donate half of the proceeds to the effort.

Not that she needed a personal connection to be so charitable, but Alana and her family likely chose the hospital because they were treated there after a nasty car accident in 2014, reported the Daily Mail. According to TMZ, the accident left Sugar Bear with "a contusion on his back," Mama June with "back and neck sprain," Honey Boo Boo with "a headache," and Pumpkin with "severe chest bruises" and "panic attacks."

You can't keep Honey Boo Boo down

Despite a scandal that shocked the nation and forced their show's cancellation, the members of the Thompson family managed to weather the storm fairly well. Since then, they've already brought much of the family back into TV via Mama June's show, Mama June: From Not to Hot

The televised weight loss odyssey tracked Mama June's jaw-dropping transformation as she shed almost 300 pounds. Though the show focuses on her mother, Honey Boo Boo is still a scene-stealer as she mistakenly drinks from a bidet, spouts new catch phrases (e.g. "Haters are your motivators, honey,") and turns the tables on Mama June to become her pageant coach.

She may not be back as the star of her own show yet, but give it time, because Honey Boo Boo was born for the small screen, and there's just no way we see her getting downgraded to a supporting role for much longer.   

Boy-crazy already?

Speaking with E! News in April 2017, Alana revealed that even though she was just 11-years-old at the time, she already had a boyfriend. Though she chose not to dish too much, Alana said his name was Justin and that she liked him for "his personality." Obviously, we're talking about cute childhood crushes here, but Justin may want to keep an eye over his shoulder — if they're even still "together," whatever that means for kids that age — because Alana has more than a few celebrity crushes as well.

In the same interview, E! rattled off a list of male celebs, and asked both Honey Boo Boo and Mama June if they'd be interested. The results were predictably hilarious as Alana asked, "Who in the hell is that?" to John Mayer and Chris Evans. She also said, "Hell no," to Brad Pitt, and then, "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes," to Zac Efron. That's right, that was 15 yesses, which we feel totally justified quoting, because that kind of enthusiasm should not be ignored.

Aunt Honey Boo Boo...again

In 2017, Alana's then 17-year-old sister, Pumpkin, gave birth to her first child, a baby girl named Ella Grace. It marked the third time Alana became an aunt, having already had the honor twice, thanks to her sister Chickadee's daughters, Kaitlyn Elizabeth and Kylee Madison. 

Aunt Honey Boo Boo was no less excited this time around, posting photos of her 2-month-old niece on her Instagram (Yep, she's finally got her own page, but more on that in a moment). The caption for the adorable pics read: "This Little girl is the most precious thing ever today she is 2 months and I can't believe it was like yesterday I was at the Hospital waiting for you to come to this world but I wouldn't trade her for the world I love you Ella."

Alana even updated her Instagram profile with the descriptor "aunt to the cutest thing." Aww!

Speaking of that Instagram account...

Picture in your mind the kind of social media presence you'd expect someone like Honey Boo Boo to have. If you thought to yourself, "Endless crazy selfies; bizarre, hilarious videos; and an explosion of emoji," you nailed it. Alana's Instagram is such a unique experience, Life & Style even proclaimed it "belongs in a gallery of modern art" and that it possibly proves that Alana is a budding "poet and a philosopher in addition to being an artist."

Others are not so impressed with Honey Boo Boo's online efforts. According to People, she's been accused in the comments of her posts of "acting black," whatever that means. In a response video, Alana attempted to defend herself, but possibly only made matters worse. "Honey, the last thing I am is black honey. I'm white. Look at my face hun. I'm white. White," she said, adding, "And I want to know how the f*** you act a color. Like, oh you wake up one day and be like, 'Hmm, let's see. I'm going to be purple.' Ho, you can't act a color. You can be a color, but you can't act a color."

Yeah, none of that is good — not the bullying she received, nor her ill-advised, profanity-laced retort. Can we all just agree that nothing a 12-year-old does on social media should be taken that seriously? And can we take that a step further by not attempting to draw said 12-year-old into a debate about cultural appropriation? Please and thank you.

Watch out pageant world, she's back!

Let's be honest, it was only a matter of time before Alana made her triumphant return to pageantry, but this time around, the "beautimous" young lady seems to have strutted her stuff on the stage just to support her mom. That's right, it's Mama June's turn to don the tiara now.  

The pair documented its joint return to glamour competitions on an episode of Mama June: From Not to Hot (via People). Occurring just ahead of her 13th birthday in August 2018, the mother-daughter pageant revealed a seemingly much less confident Alana. "It's been so long since I've been in the pageant world and I almost feel like I'm not the Honey Boo Boo I used to be," she told show producers. Yet, she was still a rock for her mom, who was also a ball of nerves, telling her, "Mama, I love you. We got this."

The pageant judges must have seen that old flare, because according to TooFab, Alana and Mama June took home "first-runner up" thanks to their passionate answers during the interview segment. As for how Mama June felt about the experience?

"Did Alana say 'I love you?'" she asked during a confessional segment. "I mean, you can go ahead and crown me, because I feel like a winner." Aww!

Mama June's new man is Honey Boo Boo-approved

Although Alana's father, Mike "Sugar Bear" Thompson, and Mama June are no longer together, he still appears regularly on Mama June: From Not to Hot — as does Mama June's new flame, Geno Doak (above left). Fortunately, Alana seems to have a good relationship with both men.

I think Gino [sic] is a great man for mama," Alana told E! News in June 2018. "As you can see, she keeps a smile on her face all the time, which I love." Alana also gave Geno what is possibly the greatest endorsement any adult could expect from a teen these days: a shout-out on social media.

"If you love geno as much as we do go follow him @doakgeno@doakgeno @doakgeno @doakgeno he will probably be posting a lot more and a lot of funny stuff probably SO IF YOU WANT A GOOD OLE LAUGH HEAD ON OVER TO THE GOOD OLE @doakgeno," Alana captioned a screenshot of Doak's Instagram, which at the time had only 6,897 followers. As of this writing, he's got more than 20,000. Alana's seal of approval and viral internet fame? Sounds like a win-win for "good ole" Geno.

Can the ballroom handle the Boo Boo?

Though Alana has clearly put a stamp on her mom's show, she also landed her own solo gig on Dancing with the Stars: Juniors. Like its popular parent series, DWTS: Junior pairs the pint-sized celebs with "junior ballroom dancers," who are all mentored by the adult pros who regularly compete.

Ahead of the show's October 2018 premiere, Alana, who will tap her toes on live TV with dancer Tristan Ianiero (above right), spoke with People about the new experience. Telling the mag that she "never even watched the show before," Alana said she was open to it because it seemed like it would "be super fun and a great experience." She also said that rehearsals were tough, and that she "hit a breaking point at one time," but she got through it thanks to a big support system and the realization that, "It's not just about being the best dancer. It's about having fun, too."

That's quite a perspective for a 13-year-old who's basically been raised on television. She's clearly come a long way from squeezing her belly into a face and making it talk, huh? (If we're being totally honest with ourselves, we hope she busts that trick out the second she wins the mirrorball trophy.)