Special to SEGAZINE
“She has such a passion for pageants and practices everyday without being told to do so,” mother Renee Smith says. And her dream was to one day be in a big pageant on TV.
When Renee sent Katlyn’s information to the Georgia Fresh Faces pageant being filmed by Toddlers and Tiaras, she never dreamed that her child would have the chance to be on the hit TLC show, but Katlyn was chosen to be featured as one of the three “followed” contestants — meaning that a film crew would come to her and follow her around a couple of days.
“We had to come up with a video to show Katlyn’s crowns, trophies, and titles she had won, as well as how she was different from the other contestants. Her video highlights were filmed showing our country ways, including fishing with her PaPa, riding in the mud with Uncle Devin, carrying around a live alligator with her daddy, and swimming with her sister, Kirsten,” says her mother.
Within a few days of having her video submitted, Renee received a phone call saying that she would be followed.
“Katlyn was so excited when she came home from school that day. She started telling how she needed to go get her hair cut at Aunt Syble’s, her nails done, go riding four wheelers and playing at Nana and PaPa’s.”
But with time constraints, she wasn’t able to do all that she wanted for the show.
“There was a list giving to us of what could be done for filming.”
The two days of filming were done mostly at Katlyn’s home in Nahunta doing interviews, practices, PaPa bringing the tiger cage he built for her routine, and packing up and heading out to the pageant. However she did get to go and do a couple of things away from home including picking up her custom made pageant shirts from KT Bugs in Nahunta and fishing and tube riding in the lake at Nana and PaPa’s lake.
Once arriving at the pageant in Macon, Katlyn was filmed along with her parents, sisters, her Nana, and Aunt He-He going into the hotel. After that, filming was complete for the day, but Katlyn had to compete in the natural competition that night. She wore a custom made hot pink and lime green dress made especially for her by Janice Hendrix.
“She definitely showed the judges her sassiness and personality on that stage that night,” her mother said.
Saturday morning, the camera crews began filming at 7:45 that morning, during preparations for competing in glitz beauty and filmed her throughout the entire day of competition including beauty, swimwear, and her favorite, circus wear, where she danced as a tiger coming out of the cage. She rocked the stage every time she went on.
The crew went back to filming while she was getting ready for the crowning ceremony.
“When it came time for crowning we didn’t really know what to expect. We went in hoping for just division queen, but were shocked that her name wasn’t called during crowning meaning that she was supreme,” her mother said.
Katlyn was crowned Georgia Fresh Face Supreme in the ages 5-10 breakdown. She also brought home the winning metals for Swimwear, circus wear, prettiest eyes, prettiest smile, best personality, and 1st alternate in natural and glitz photos.
“Crowning blew me away. I was so extremely happy and proud of her. Her hard work defiantly paid off,” Renee said.
Before the division crowning, there were awards given out for Main Attractions which included a 6-foot trophy, a 5-inch crown, and 18×22 glitz photo poster for the money raised for the pageant.
“These are Katlyn’s remembrances of what her community did for her. There were so many people and businesses right here in our county that helped Katlyn be able to go the state competition. So many people donated money, and Mrs. Emily Chancey held a cake auction to help raise money for Katlyn, as well as making one for the crew members that were filming us. Just so much love poured out for my baby. I will never be able to thank each of these people enough.” says her mother.
Katlyn said she loves to do pageants.
“They are fun and you get to wear make-up and look like a princess. I wish I could do a big one every weekend but not with them cameras all the time,” she said.
Katlyn’s show will air tonight (Wednesday) on TLC at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m.