Expect the Unexpected

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Kim of Queens: More than glitz and glam

Kim of Queens is a surprisingly positive reality show about teenage girls.

Kim of Queens is a surprisingly positive reality show about teenage girls.

I had no intention of watching the new reality show Kim of Queens more than once. In fact, I didn’t even plan to watch it that long. As a pop culturist, I figured I’d watch about 10 minutes, like I did with Honey Boo Boo (lucky me I got the sketti scene), and then file it in the done file. Yet, somehow I got hooked.

The show’s title, Kim of Queens, was an instant turnoff. It sounded like the sitcom “King of Queens,” and it also brought to mind Kim Kardashian. A commercial made it look like a Toddlers & Tiaras or Dance Moms spinoff. No thank you to either of those shows, which have overtones of child exploitation and cruelty.

Kim of Queens debuted in January, and I’ve caught about four episodes so far, (there’s been nine aired to date) and there’s a lot of good in them.

Kim, Gravel, Miss Georgia 1991.

Kim Gravel, Miss Georgia 1991

The “Kim” of the show is Kim Gravel, a former Miss Georgia and self-proclaimed “ugly duckling,” who through hard work and sheer determination made it to the Miss America contest. With help from her mom and sister, who seem more like hindrances than help, Kim is now a beauty pageant coach, helping young teens train for various Miss… whatever contests.

What kicks this show up a notch is that Kim is actually helping these girls. It’s not just about make-up and evening gowns, although those elements are certainly there. Kim helps the girls develop their self-esteem and inner beauty so they feel confident and good about themselves. This is very valuable life training and will serve these girls well into adulthood.

In one episode, a conservative Preacher Dad strongly objects to his teenaged daughter working with Kim for the same reasons I would — silliness of pageants, and the useless notion of parading young girls around on stage. But Kim convinces him to give her a shot and the shy young girl ends up winning the talent portion of her first pageant, strongly boosting her self-esteem.

Kim has a chat with the Preacher's Kid.

Kim has a chat with the Preacher’s Kid.

In a later episode, Preacher Dad, who once condemned Kim, comes to her and begs her to help his daughter, who has now gone off to college and is singing in a smoky dive bar. Kim to the rescue. She convinces the girl to enter another pageant, which the girl does reluctantly and surprisingly wins. Kim encourages her to stay on the straight and narrow. Little girl lost is finding her way back to the light side, and Preacher Dad is both grateful and relieved.

Kim Gravel has a very captivating personality. A quick-talking Southern belle, she shoots straight from the lip and always manages to be one or two steps ahead of her annoying sister Allysin and the pushy, superficial stage moms that are directly transported from Toddlers & Tiaras. Kim has to deal with a lot of outside negativity in order to help the girls find the positivity within themselves.

It’s good to see a reality show for a change about girls that’s not over-the-top superficial like My Super Sweet 16 nonsense. This show is also an important reminder that older women can and should be role models for young girls, in whatever way we can.

Crown Kim of Queens a winner.

In this clip, Kim teaches Addison how to tap dance:

Addison’s transformation:

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2 thoughts on “Kim of Queens: More than glitz and glam

  1. This story hits the nail on the head. After watching an hour of Abbey lee Miller verbally abuse her students and their parents. It is refreshing to watch a reality show about nurturing an underdog in a kind way to obtain the same winning result. I am a fan of the show and a Fan of Kim. I’ll take positive encouragement over negative anyway …. Go Kim !!!

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