Yes, I Added A Pageant Coach To My Dream Team Of TV Advisers If you watch enough reality television — too much, really — you might begin to assemble imaginary consulting panels. One recent addition to the roster is an unusual pageant coach.
NPR logo Yes, I Added A Pageant Coach To My Dream Team Of TV Advisers

Yes, I Added A Pageant Coach To My Dream Team Of TV Advisers

Kim Gravel stars in Kim Of Queens on Lifetime, and also on the advisory board of my imagination. Karolina Wojtasik/Lifetime hide caption

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Karolina Wojtasik/Lifetime

Kim Gravel stars in Kim Of Queens on Lifetime, and also on the advisory board of my imagination.

Karolina Wojtasik/Lifetime

When you watch a lot of silly television, one of the things you learn is that there are all kinds of people who are theoretically Here To Help.

They are there to help you dress better, decorate your house, get in shape, feel good about yourself, raise your kids, cook dinner ... if there's a thing you want to accomplish, there's probably somebody on TV who would like you to believe that if only you knew them, they would be able to help you. It also includes reality competition judges when they are of the helpful variety instead of the angry variety.

And over time, I've found myself thinking, "You know, they're mostly lying, but I wouldn't be above putting this one or that one on a team of advisers I could consult about things." I have always envisioned this as a maybe ten-person team who would meet maybe once a month, review a set of challenges, and offer suggestions. The Dream Team. (Yes. My real Dream Team of advisors is my friends and family. Please: understand the exercise.)

It changes a lot, depending on what's on my mind and what I've been most recently watching, but currently, the team includes Tim Gunn, Supernanny, Stacy London (of What Not To Wear), Harry Connick Jr. (currently of American Idol), Ben Folds (of The Sing-Off), RuPaul, Tabatha Coffey (who rescues failing salons on Bravo), Niecy Nash (in her Clean House incarnation), and Dr. Suzanne Chabaud (of Hoarders). (Incidentally, that Hoarders slot is a bear; you almost can't go wrong with their pros. I'd be okay with Dr. Chabaud and Dorothy Breininger attending alternate meetings.)

And now, the committee includes former Miss Georgia Kim Gravel, currently starring on the first season of Lifetime's Kim Of Queens.

Kim is a pageant coach, and her show is sort of the anti-Toddlers And Tiaras. She doesn't really believe in glitz pageants for little kids, because: gross. She focuses on young women, the ones who could potentially compete for slots like Miss Georgia where they give you money. If you've ever wanted to see someone in the pageant world who actually believes pageants are not supposed to be awful and esteem-breaking, Kim is that person. The entire credit sequence of the show is based on the idea that she wasn't necessarily a natural beauty — she usually credits her Miss Georgia win to her vocal performances, not her looks. As such, she loves girls who are good in talent more than anything.

But she also likes girls who know themselves and are giant goofballs, like she is. In this clip, she teaches an extravagantly silly natural ham by the name of Addison about transitioning from clogging, which she does already, to what's officially "tap," which she can do in pageants.


I think of Kim as the antidote to Dance Moms: she gives the moms just as much tough love as the girls. There was a mother-daughter pageant in which one of the moms came up with countless excuses for not participating until Kim told her to stop stalling and admit why she didn't want to do it, and smacked her on the behind. And she was right: the mom didn't want to do it because she'd gained weight since she was younger, and once Kim pointed out that there's a lot of that going around and not to shame herself into non-participation, the mom got with the program.

Look, I know this is all a lot of hooey. There was a scene where Kim went to a bar where a girl she'd coached was singing, and it looked like no bar I had ever seen, ever. It looked like the set of a Lifetime remake of Urban Cowboy. My skepticism is thick; my eyebrow is raised. But as there is a slight taste of hooey in the entire idea of my fantasy team of TV advisers in the first place, it doesn't really matter. Kim has been appointed to the team. Welcome, Kim. We meet on the third Thursday of every month in the conference room in my brain.