For five seasons, Lifetime’s “Little Women: Atlanta” allowed the world a peek into the lives of a group of small ladies with big personalities.
During the run of the show, viewers have seen these ladies build careers, get married, have babies, and celebrate milestones. Not to mention, the rollercoaster ride of some of their friendships.
However, this season the cast is turning things up a notch as they step even closer toward achieving their goals and making their dreams come true.
Through her role on the nationally syndicated radio show “The Rickey Smiley Morning Show,” and appearances on TV One’s “The Rickey Smiley Show” and “Rickey Smiley For Real,” most people were already familiar with Shirlene Pearson (professionally known as Ms. Juicy) prior to her becoming a cast member.
Last season, Pearson displayed her entrepreneurial side, managing artists, and is continuing on that path by representing Briana “Left Cheek” Barlup and Emily “Right Cheek” Fernandez.
“For right now, I am concentrating on (The Cheeks),” Pearson said. “I have a lot of people that I’ve been looking at as well, following their careers and their movements, but I haven’t decided if I wanted to take them on right now.”
This season, The Cheeks unveiled heir latest single “Why You Mad Sis?” and took viewers behind-the-scenes of filming the single’s music video.
“We wrote a song that was relatable for other females to vibe with because you always have haters,” Fernandez said.
Barlup added, “We made this song for other girls to be inspired by. We want to put an EP together or an album.”
Pearson was able to work her magic and industry connections to bring Atlanta music powerhouse, Street Execs, to the table to discuss a compilation album and tour; not just for The Cheeks but also for Andrea Salinas and Amanda Salinas, who go by The Tiny Twinz.
“I am the one who brought street execs to the entire table so the deal still can’t be done without me,” Pearson said. “They’re not as familiar with the music industry as I am.”
Pearson was able to create a major opportunity for multiple members of the cast in the form of a mixtape. Back by Street Execs, the mixtape is meant to showcase the talent of little people who would most likely be looked over in the music industry. It will also serve as an audition to be the opening act for a tour.
But, it seems as though castmate Ashley “Minnie” Ross has also taken an interest in artist management, and has decided to represent The Tiny Twinz and Abira “Lil V” Greene.
“No one would pick them up or want to manage them,” Ross said. I’m close to them so why not me. They trust me enough to manage them so I might as well pick it up and run with it.”
While Ross had some major disagreements with Greene in previous seasons, she says that they’ve since talked out their issues and made a mutual decision to move forward on better terms.
“I get along with the majority of the castmates,” Ross said. “Like the twins, they are my girls. I love them to death. (Abira and I), we get along. The Cheeks, I’m cordial with them.”
“Juicy, on the other hand, you have to pray for me about that. It’s a working progress. It’s a to-be-continued kind of relationship.”
And the feeling seems to be mutual on Pearson’s end as well.
“No. (Minnie and I) are not close,” Pearson said. “I tolerate her.”
“As a leader, I still encourage her to do the things that she wants to do. I just want her to find something that she really wants to do and to go full force with it. I prefer someone not to try to emulate me.”
Her relationship with Ross is quite unusual since Pearson is generally on good terms with all of her castmates.
“I typically get along with everybody on this show,” Pearson. “I do have disagreements with some because you’re not going to see eye to eye on everything with everyone.”
While the drama and arguments are definitely an aspect of the show, the biggest take away is how it depicts women with dwarfism; especially women of color.
“I think we display what everybody needs to see,” Pearson said. “I’m hoping the message that we’re trying to get across to everyone is that we might be small in size, and stature, but we pack a powerful punch, whether it’s in our career or in our life.
Ross says, the average-sized people look at little people as a joke and treat them as a “circus act.”
“That’s beyond the truth because we can do everything that an average sized person can do. Being little, we just have to fight ten times harder to prove to people that we can do it.”
Ross continues, “I would like for people to know that when we go somewhere people stare and point, people call us the ‘m’ word constantly. People sometimes discriminate on us because of our height.”
And her assumptions were confirmed when Al, CEO of Street Execs, was apprehensive to take on any of the acts that Ross and Pearson brought to the table because he didn’t want it to look like they were pushing novelty acts.
However, Pearson was not shocked by his reaction and says that it’s common for average-sized people to doubt the capabilities of a little person.
“Whatever the challenge is, it doesn’t matter our size,” Pearson said. “We can handle it and we can accomplish anything, and we can be better than an average-sized person.”
“Put us in a box if you want to, we’re going to break out of it.”