That's right, people, it just gets weirder. Just when you wrap your head around the 7-year-old "Single Ladies" dancing in
lingerie dancewear, or the 8-year-old Brazilian Lady Gaga impersonator, this week brings a new low to the age at which young girls are looking way too sexy in viral videos. The latest "sensation"? Three-year-old Kiera Ladrow, who took the fast track to fame last week when the video spoof of Lady Gaga's "Telephone"-in which she plays the platinum-haired provocateur- hit You Tube.
"But how does a toddler "play" Lady Gaga?" the sane among you ask. Well, she wears a bunch of weird outfits, a lot of makeup, a pair of handcuffs, and a pout, looking, for all practical purposes, like a toddler in drag. She also lip-syncs. (Note to self: Add "lip-syncing toddler in drag" to list of things you never need to see again).
While the video has since been made private on You Tube, clips of it can be seen in a CBS "Early Show" interview with Jake Wilson, the director of the video, and Heidi Ladrow, Kiera's mom. As flashes of the unhappy looking toddler surrounded by scantily clad women fill the screen, Mama Ladrow maintains the video was "something that came about because of [Keira's] personality. She's very energetic, she's very outgoing." When asked if she had second thoughts at any point along the way, for example, when she realized her kid was in drag, or wearing handcuffs, or slathered in makeup, or surrounded by real live jiggling woman parts, Ladrow was similarly nonplussed. "This is a spoof on Lady Gaga," she says. "It has to be outrageous because Lady Gaga is a little outrageous." When asked if the thought of pedophiles watching her little girl go Gaga on video disturbs her, Ladrow explains, "This went gangbusters quite quickly. This was a little project that we put together as a spoof, as fun for our friends and family…I had no idea that this was going to get as large as it was."
So here we have it: The new stage mom of the viral video age. Unlike her predecessors, who have vied for titles (see: Toddlers in Tiaras) or acclaim for their children's talents (see: Dina Lohan, Lynne Spears) the new stage mom is in the brilliant position of being able to push her child into the limelight while claiming that it was all just a lark. Little Kiera just made national news? Oops, we did it again.
C'mon, seriously? Are we really going to pretend that is even a possibility? With a year that has brought us a myriad of underage, overnight sensations-from the baby dancing to Beyonce, to David's trippy trip to the dentist, to the awesome tiny affirmation queen-we know darn well how quickly our You Tubed kids can be seen by just about everyone on earth. Even if you lived in a vault and happened not to see any of these insta-hits, last month's aforementioned Single Ladies dance-off, performed by ladies so young that to not be "single" would actually be illegal, set off a similarly toned brouhaha. The major difference? Where the parents of those girls were visibly upset that a dance competition video had been taken out of context and made public, Heidi Ladrow put her 3-year-old in the hands of a "director" and served her up for public consumption.
I'm not saying Heidi Ladrow is a horrible, cruel mother. In fact, from the looks of the interview, she seems like an articulate, loving mom who let herself and her daughter get swept up in a moment. But later in the interview, when she says, "I'm not trying to put her out there to be the next childhood star, let me just be clear about that," I just don't believe her. For all her talk about how her daughter is a "very self-actualized" 3-year-old, Ladrow seems unable to own up to the fact that all of this-from the ill-conceived video to its spread through the internet-was some also serious self-actualization. Her own.