Content warning: Discussion of suicide.
Kailia Posey, the teenage pageant queen and actress best known for starring in one of Toddlers & Tiaras’ most memorable episodes, died by suicide at age 16. On Tuesday evening, Posey’s family confirmed her passing in a statement to TMZ.
“Although she was an accomplished teenager with a bright future ahead of her, unfortunately in one impetuous moment, she made the rash decision to end her earthly life,” her family said.
At just 5-years-old, Posey competed on the Toddlers & Tiaras episode called “California Tropic Arizona,” where she made a silly facial expression that was memeified and made her a viral sensation far beyond the scope of the popular show. She continued on the beauty pageant circuit into her teen years, most recently winning 2nd runner up in Miss Teen Washington, according to NBC News. She also appeared in a 2019 horror film, Eli, alongside Lily Taylor and Sadie Sink.
Her family expanded on how talented she was at such a young age, saying: “She won countless crowns & trophies after competing on the pageant circuit her entire life … Her highly acclaimed talent as a contortionist had already led to professional touring job offers, and she had recently been selected to be a cheerleader at her high school next fall.”
Anyone can have suicidal ideation, regardless of achievement, how they appear on the outside, or what they look like. If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, know you’re not alone and help is available.
The actress’ mother, Marcy Posey Gatterman, posted on Facebook on Monday: “I don’t have words or any thoughts. A beautiful baby girl is gone. Please give us privacy as we mourn the loss of Kailia. My baby forever.”