‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ star and ‘Grinning Girl’ meme Kailia Posey dies by suicide at 16

Image credit: Marcy Posey Gatterman, NBC

For American television audiences, Kailia Posey is likely to be a familiar face after having previously starred in TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras pageant. But for the rest of the world, we may most fondly remember her as the ‘Grinning Girl’ meme. A pageant competitor who had been on the circuit since she was 3-years-old, Kailia was described of as being an accomplished young woman with a lifetime waiting for her ahead.

Tragically, it has since been announced by her mother on Facebook that Kailia had died by suicide on Monday (2nd May 2022) in Washington. She was only 16-years-old.

“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.” she wrote.

Appearing on a number of episodes from the popular pageant reality television series, the then 5-year-old Kailia achieved Internet stardom after a short clip of her grinning during a segment of Toddlers and Tiaras was turned into a meme and was widely shared across social media.

She then went on to achieve further successes in a number of other pageants held in the United States, before being cast in the role of Agnes in the 2019 Netflix horror flick, Eli. A capable athlete, Kailia had also performed alongside established acts in the sellout Cirque du Soleil as a contortionist and had managed to even attract professional touring offers, according to a statement released by her family.

Kailia was turned into an overnight Internet sensation after a clip of her grinning on the TLC show 'Toddlers and Tiaras' was turned into a meme. Image credit: NBC
Kailia was turned into an overnight Internet sensation after a clip of her grinning on the TLC show ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ was turned into a meme. Image credit: NBC

Prior to her death, she had announced that she would be competing in the Miss Washington Teen USA competition and had just set-up a brand-new Instagram account to showcase her talents as a contortionist.

“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 to American tabloid TMZ.

A fund has been set up in her name with the Whatcom Community Foundation by her family to provide aid to students who are suffering from crisis.

May she rest in peace.

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