News Column

'Toddlers & Tiaras' episode to feature 2-year-old from Conway

July 3, 2013

YellowBrix

July 03--Look for a Conway family with a 2-year-old daughter on the next episode of "Toddlers & Tiaras," at 9 p.m. Wednesday on TLC.

Charli Branton, daughter of Evan and Samantha Branton, is scheduled to appear on an episode titled "Starz-N-Glitz: Stone Age" on this sixth season of this reality show that chronicles contestants and their parents nationwide on beauty pageants for young children.

TLC preview material states Charli is among three girls ages 2-3 whose experiences at the Queen of the Stone Age pageant in Charlotte, N.C., are caught on camera.

The Branton family joins quite a growing cluster of Myrtle Beach-area stars on reality TV shows, including the cast from TLC's "Myrtle Manor," for which a second season is planned; Christopher Hanna and Robbie Welsh of Myrtle Beach are on A&E's "Shipping Wars," airing 10 p.m. Tuesdays; Rachel Renee Cattelan-McDonald of Little River is on TNT's "The Hero" 8 p.m. Thursdays; and Brittany Woodle of Myrtle Beach on CMT's "Redneck Island," 9 p.m. Saturdays.

Rebecca Mayer, executive producer of Authentic Entertainment, which produces "Toddlers & Tiaras," fielded a few questions Tuesday about the series:

Question -- How were the Brantons recruited to appear on "Toddlers & Tiaras"?

Answer -- We work with pageant directors to identify families who are participating in their pageants that might want to appear in our show -- families like the Brantons stand out because they are a close, fun-loving family and have a great, dynamic pageant daughter.

Q. -- How does families' involvement with the filming for "Toddlers & Tiaras" infuse them with extra, authentic insight into the whole, lengthy process of a TV series, with little things that matter so mightily we viewers could never dream up?

A. -- With any filming, subjects have to deal with microphones, technical issues, and crew moving from place to place which takes time, and it is always a process larger than anyone thinks at first glance. Most people wouldn't think that having on certain air conditioning can really make audio unusable, or that a suddenly bright day can make camera settings need adjusting. Luckily, we have an exceptional crew who work very hard to be as un-intrusive as possible -- and who are the top of their field in capturing video and sound under challenging circumstances.

Q. -- How does filming segments outside of the pageant taped in Charlotte, for instance, then seeing them woven into the package aired on one hour of television, make show participants realize how many people collaborate to make that show flow so smoothly?

A. -- It isn't that much different for "Toddlers & Tiaras" filming on location in a community than in homes or at a pageant. We are a small crew who work very closely with the family and area to make sure that everything flows, which means knowing what we will have to do to adjust for the elements. Our crew stays flexible which allows us to go from a restaurant to a house to a car without much interruption. But, it's always amazing for us to get to see the way different families live and how they interact. For the producers and crew, that is a real privilege and honor.

Q. -- After participating families see other parents and their children in the pageant pursuits, what newfound appreciation and love might they bring home for their own girls to cherish as they approach pre-kindergarten years?

A. -- That is a very personal question for the participating families. That said, as producers and crew we value seeing family dynamics and learning from them every single time.

Q. -- How does seeing children vying so young at the intense quest for pageant crowns feed parents' fervor to go whatever extra mile the girls might need to continue as they grow?

A. -- I think whenever parents have a chance to see their child excel, they will want to. And, based on that success or failure, they in turn want to make sure they are even more prepared the next time. Whether with pageants, sports or chess, parents never want to set their children up to fail. If we take out the word fervor -- and add in the word dedication or passion -- I think that would represent more of the families we document.

Contact STEVE PALISINat 444-1753.

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