So here's the thing — I'm absolutely 100% obsessed with Honey Boo Boo's Instagram account. For one, I'm pretty sure it belongs in a gallery of modern art. I honestly think it would find just as good a home in a museum. Because if you've ever watched even a minute of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo you know one thing: Alana Thompson is never anything but absolutely herself. And her Instagram is the weirdest, wildest window into who she is.
Back in ~my~ day, when I joined Instagram in, I don't know, maybe 2014, we all pretty much played by the rules. You posted a square photo because that was the only option, and if you really needed to post your horizontal or vertical photo, you'd use an outside app to white out the rest of the background and make it square. You did that only so that your photo could fit in the frame without having to sacrifice anything on the edges. But on Honey Boo Boo's Instagram, she blatantly flaunts those rules, living by her own and refusing to be limited by the internal frames of the photo. Instead, she creates her own frame, subverting viewer's expectations and playing with negative space.
Not only does she often jauntily set her pictures at an angle, she also decorates them within the frame with emojis and stickers, decorations usually reserved for a post's caption or even simply an Instagram story. The icons seem carefully selected, paired with each photo to create a deeper, richer meaning — exclamation points, heart, tongue out. She's having fun, but she's cute. She's chill, but she's excited. Pair that with her caption — "Every moment of light and dark is a miracle ." — with that artful space between the last word and the end of her sentence, and you've got a masterpiece.
Plenty of her other captions are exactly as deep as that one, too. "I cannot be awake for nothing looks to me as it did before, Or else I am awake for the first time, and all before has been a mean sleep," she wrote in early January. "To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle," a few days before that. Is she finding these quotes? Creating them herself? Is she, at just 12 years old, a poet and a philosopher in addition to being an artist?
Other posts go beyond the visual, creating instead an audio experience one might not expect to find on Instagram. She'll pair videos of a sparkly dark cloud, or snapshots of her own Snapchats, with longer pieces of music. Honey Boo Boo has paired both Thomas Rhett's "Marry Me," and a sped up version of Casey Veggies' "Tied Up" for her followers, the voice high and tinny and sounding vaguely far away. With the dark dreamscape of white clouds and shining, animated stars, it transports the viewer into a whole other world.
And with her more than 33,000 followers, she's happy to share in the wealth with her friends. "Follow @bayleeealmaguer for a shoutout and a follow back," she captions one pic. "Follow @chriskingg for a DM and spam from me and I’m following back ALL." Her stories are even more of the same. Honey Boo Boo may have shone on Toddlers and Tiaras, but when she landed her own TLC reality show, she shared that limelight with her family, elevating them all to reality TV stars and enabling her mother, Mama June, to become a star in her own right. Now, through social media, she's doing the same thing for her friends.
But it's not just her posts and pictures that I find inspiring. It's also how she's set up her profile. The name isn't Alana Thompson or Honey Boo Boo, but @official.babygirl_. Her bio isn't just a one sentence description, but a peek into her thoughts and feelings. "You are gold solid gold," accompanied by a drooling face and a tongue out, writes one part. "Living life to the fullest," gold heart exclamation point and question mark, says another. Another still sets her goals not yet accomplished. "40k," with an open lock and a pained face. She's close — but she's still striving. "Tell everyone about my page," she writes in one photo caption. I'm trying, @official.babygirl_. I'm trying.