A source reveals the behind-the-scenes scoop on TLC’s addictive series — the pageants and over-the-top antics are all staged for the show!
At times TLC’s hit reality series Toddlers & Tiaras seems too crazy to be true, and now a close source says it’s all manufactured! Maxine Tinnel, who staged more than a half-dozen pageants for the show, revealed to the NY Post all the details. The show’s formula, according to her: “Find the crazy families first, then find a pageant near them.”
She says producers don’t pay the children, the families or the pageant organizers. Once the producers found a family that fit the bill, they called Maxine to stage a competition at her own expense for the show.
Now Maxine is shooting a pilot for her own series with a rival production company.
She says the TLC tapings took more than seven hours, and each child competed in three different categories. In between their performances, most changed clothes, rested or ate.
“We usually don’t have everyone together in the same room until the crowning,” she explains.
Only 45 kids are allowed to participate so that taping is done in time. Producers insist that the staged pageants only be open to family, friends and invited guests — which explains why many seem strangely empty on the show.
“We ask everybody for the name of the child they are coming to see when they arrive,” Maxine explains.
Some enterprising pageant moms try to capitalize on their TV fame and stage their own pageants. “A lot of them will get cheap awards, find a smaller venue, get 15 or 20 kids and try to make a little big of money so they can fund their daughter’s next pageant,” Maxine reveals.
The pageants are actually less-than-dramatic when the cameras are off: “It is truly not as competitive and crazy as what you see on TV,” she says. “When we have downtime, the kids are sitting on the floor coloring or playing together. A lot of times parents will get together, maybe take the kids out to the movies or to eat.”
“I don’t know why they show on almost every episode that the kids don’t eat, because they do,” she explains. “I would love to have someone come in and film a pageant without a bunch of editing where a mom says, ‘Oh, my God, this is just horrible’ and she is actually talking about the weather, not the kids.”
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More ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’ drama:
- ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’: Pageant Moms Reveal They Make Their Young Daughters Diet
- ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’ Eden Wood Is Now A Spokesmodel
- ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’ Toddler Slams Co-Star: Paisley Dickey Dresses Like ‘A Hooker’