USMagazine, Tuesday, December 4, 2012, 10:00am (PST)
Haven't been taking Honey Boo Boo seriously? All you doubters better redneckognize, because the pint-size pageant queen is a pop culture force to be reckoned with -- according to Barbara Walters, at least.
The 83-year-old journalist spoke to Us Weekly Thursday, Nov. 29, about why she included 7-year-old Alana Thompson on her 2012 list of "Most Fascinating People."
"A lot of people will say, 'For heaven's sake, this is ridiculous, this is a child at 5 or 6 years old entering beauty contests,'" she says. "But the relationship between Alana and her mother -- that's the story, the two of them. It's very touching."
The fart jokes and go-go juice Alana and her family enjoy so much belie serious, old-fashioned family values, Walters argues.
"Honey Boo Boo is not an obnoxious little girl. She's sweet and loving with her mother and loving with her sisters [Jessica, Lauryn and Anna]. And now Anna has a new baby, and the baby has [three] thumbs -- but so what? It'll make you smile," says the ABC standout.
The news icon understands, too, that the mix of people on her list might raise a few eyebrows. Admits Walters, "The fact that we have a show with Hillary Clinton, Chris Christie and Honey Boo Boo . . . that is varied to say the least."
During a chat with her fellow View co-hosts earlier this month, Walters revealed a few other people who made the cut (including Clinton and Olympian Gabby Douglas.) For the full roundup, tune in to Walters' ABC special on December 12 at 9:30 p.m. EST.