Kailia Posey, Who Inspired Toddlers And Tiaras' Viral Grinning Girl GIF, Is Dead At 16

Kalia Posey on Toddlers & Tiaras
(Image credit: TLC)

Kailia Posey, who went viral for her grinning girl gif after appearing on TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras, has died. As of this writing, her exact cause of death has not been confirmed. Posey was only 16 at the time of her passing. 

News of Kailia Posey’s death was confirmed by her mother, Marcy Posey Gatterman, via a post shared on Facebook. While the exact details have yet to be verified, TMZ alleges that the teen may have been involved in an accident in Washington. In her post, Posey Gatterman paid tribute to her late daughter with a recent photo and some sweet words:

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.

One of the TLC alum’s friends, a young woman named Biancha also paid tribute to her on Instagram. In her caption, she reflected on their friendship and referred to the late star as “an amazing, beautiful person inside and out.” Biancha also shared a sweet pageant-related memory, signifying her friend’s kindness:

Taught me my first routine the night before the pageant. Rehearsed your lines before Ms. Teen Washington. 'With an ambition to be flying in the sky as in Air Force pilot I am your teen Lynden USA Kailia Posey'.

It goes without saying that this is not an easy time for the young woman. However, it’s lovely to see how she’s honoring her late best friend. You can see her post in its entirety down below:

Kailia Posey was only five years old when she appeared on Toddlers and Tiara, which got into hot water a few times when it aired from 2009 to 2013. The pageant pro appeared on a fifth season episode of the TLC show, which launched the career of Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson and Little Rascals alum Eden Wood. In the installment, viewers watched as the young lady trained for the California Tropic Arizona pageant under her mother’s watchful eye.

Of course, the moment from the episode that truly stands out occurred during one of her interviews. It was during that moment that the young lady grinned enthusiastically. Since then, the shot has been used as both a meme and gif, which is still used by many across the interwebs to this day. It’s for that reason that she remains one of the most recognizable faces from the series (which can be streamed with a Hulu subscription).

Kailia Posey on Toddlers & Tiaras

(Image credit: TLC)

Today, the teen was still competing in pageants and was also beginning to forge a presence on social media. On her platforms, she began to chronicle both her competitions and her personal activities. It’s truly tragic that she’s no longer with us, but she certainly won’t be forgotten.

We here at CinemaBlend extend our thoughts to the family and loved ones of Kailia Posey during this difficult time.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.