In the reality show heyday, “Toddlers & Tiaras” was one of the most popular TV shows ever. We have the TLC series to thank for Honey Boo Boo’s reality TV career, but there was another little pint-sized pageant queen that we remember. Like many other glam stars on the show, Danielle Kirby was filmed flashing her pearly whites and throwing tantrums when she didn’t win the title she thought she deserved.
At the time, Kirby was 8 years old, and her tears were seen on camera after she complained that a baby won the grand supreme title instead of her. In the pageant queen’s own words in a confessional, she said, “I think it’s really not fair that a baby won a thousand dollars and it can’t even sing or dance or do nothing but poop and pee.”
There was also controversy after she was seen hitting a little boy and expressing annoyance at a fellow star accused of hamming it up for the reality TV cameras. Danielle believed that she was taking her spotlight. When her mother suggested that getting sleep before a pageant was a good idea, Danielle cockily replied that she didn’t need beauty sleep, saying, “I don’t believe in that ’cause I’m always beautiful.” However, things were not as they seemed behind the scenes.
Danielle Kirby really tells things how they are
Kirby set the record straight on the 2021 TLC “Where Are They Now” reunion special for toddlers & Tiara cast members. At the time, she was 18 years old and preparing for the Miss Las Vegas Teen USA pageant. She revealed that she was thinking about following in her mother’s footsteps and becoming a cosmetologist, but instead she got a job working as a personal assistant for the founder of a prominent skincare company called Beauty Kitchen.
Based on Kirby’s words, insecurity isn’t one of her qualities. She said things like, “”I love myself; I love my body; I love everything about me. Everybody should be blessed with a big ego.”
However, in a 2021 appearance on the “Spirituality and Self-Love in the Modern World” she opened up about feeling hurt and thinking the world hated her for the scrutiny and negative feedback she faced on “Toddlers & Tiaras.”
As with many reality TV shows, Kirby claims that duplicitous editing was why she was made to appear brattier than she was in reality. Evidently, the boy she was filmed hitting in the clip was her younger brother, who was attempting to take rhinestones off her pageant dress. And the news of her threatening to trash a hotel room if she didn’t win? Apparently, that was all due to her producers, who suggested the idea after they interviewed her for 45 minutes.
Danielle says that while she sarcastically repeated the line back to the cameraman, the editing made it look real, and they “forced” the line out of her. It’s no surprise since producers are often seen coaxing more dramatic moments out of their reality stars.
Today, Danielle Kirby is a mental health advocate
During her appearance on the “Spirituality and Self-Love in the Modern World” podcast, Kirby revealed something that much of the world didn’t know about her – she suffers from bipolar disorder, which is characterized by mood fluctuations. Her symptoms first came to fruition when her family moved, and she began getting bullied her first year of high school.
Kirby said, “Getting bullied my freshman year … and then going through puberty and becoming a woman and being in high school, that just triggered it.“ She already knew what Bipolar disorder was since her father suffers from the same condition.
The ex-pageant queen began to share her experiences on the Guide Through Bipolar website as well as founding a mental health awareness organization known as Be Bigger. She did so to help people like her feel empowered and love themselves, writing, “Every single person deserves to feel loved and like they are supported.”
As of 2023, Kirby’s mental health journey inspired her to get a psychology degree at Post University. Today, she’s just as confident as the little girl that endured hateful comments from adults who only had mean things to say about an outgoing child with personality. In the words of Danielle Kirby, “I was definitely arrogant. I will say, though, I was a beautiful child, but I shouldn’t have expressed it the way I did,” she said. “Now I am a strong, independent, incredible woman. I know that may sound a little conceited, but it’s true!”