'Toddlers & Tiaras'–Inspired Energy Drink? God Save the Pageant Queens

Alexa and her mom, Tori Hensley. Photo: Courtesy of Tori Hensley.Pop quiz: After admitting on national TV to plying her 2-year-old daughter with frequent cups of coffee, as well as a pre-pageant “tinker tea” concoction of Mountain Dew, sweet tea and Pixie Stix, “Toddlers & Tiaras” mom Tori Hensley has received:

A.)   Angry hate mail

B.)    An offer to develop her very own brand of energy drink for children

C.) All of the above

Yep, you guessed it: The answer is C.

“We’re just in the negotiation stages,” Hensley confirmed to Yahoo! Shine, following a report about the impending product by Radar Online. She said she’s currently working with the unnamed, “big” company to create the drink, which would be marketed to children involved in pageants or dance, as well as—get this—to kids with hyperactivity disorders.

“Caffeine actually reverses it in some children, not all, and can calm them down, instead of putting them on all these pills,” explained Hensley, adding that “of course we’re going to have different doctors, lawyers, everything like that,” involved with the product’s development, “or else the FDA would be all over us.”

Hensley said she will be endorsing the product, and though there’s no official name yet, “We’re hoping it will be Tinker Tea.”

In case you’re not up to speed, that’s the name of the homemade, brownish-greenish liquid that caused a recent blogosphere scandal after Hensley was shown mixing it up for her 2-year-old daughter, Alexa, on and episode of “Toddlers & Tiaras.”

“We tried Pixie Stix alone, and we tried sips of Mountain Dew,” she said, explaining the tea. “But during pageants, she’s known for throwing fits on the stage. She just didn’t like ‘beauty’ [portions of pageants]. The music’s too slow. So we said, let’s try to figure something out to pick her up and keep her motivated and happy.” Hensley stressed to Shine that Alexa only drinks the pep potion a few times a year, for pageants, which can require the toddler to be active from 6:30am to 7pm without a break.

In the same “Toddlers & Tiaras” episode, Hensley was shown giving her daughter a cup of coffee, and explaining that it’s been a part of her daughter’s diet since she was 19 months old, because she likes it.

"Tinker tea" keeps Alexa "motivated and happy" for pageants, says her mom. Photo: Courtesy of Tori Hensley.“Whenever I drink it, she drinks it,” she explained. “But I drink a lot of iced coffee, so it’s not hot or anything.”

It’s unclear how successful a Hensley-endorsed energy drink for kids would be, considering that the American Academy of Pediatrics has officially recommended that children not consume energy drinks.

“Caffeine—by far the most popular stimulant—has been linked to a number of harmful health effects in children, including effects on the developing neurologic and cardiovascular systems,” announced the AAP in a press release for a 2011 study, “Sports Drinks and Energy Drinks for Children and Adolescents: Are They Appropriate?”

The study’s authors, Drs. Marcie Beth Schneider and Holly Benjamin, concluded that energy drinks are “never appropriate” for children or adolescents. “In general,” the report warned, “caffeine-containing beverages, including soda, should be avoided.”

But Hensley said she has her doubts about all that, and is undeterred. “Alexa is very, very bright for her age,” she said. “She learned Spanish off apps on her iPad, and she started walking at 9 months old. So for my child, I disagree with that. I think each child is different.”

And, while Alexa does snack on up to three ice pops daily, she added, they are sugar free. “And her favorite thing is asparagus, and she grew up on Slim Jims, so she’s not your typical 2-year-old.”

The barrage of negative press that has followed the now-infamous “tinker tea” episode of “Toddlers & Tiaras” has at times affected Hensley, she admitted.

“It’s very nerve wracking when there are people saying I’m an awful mother,” she said. “I’ve gotten death threats, and people say they’re going to kidnap her. One woman emailed and said [Alexa] would grow up and be a coke addict. So you have to have a tough skin for this newfound fame.”

Finally, she added, “A lot of people are very quick to judge you on an hour-long program. But they don’t see her playing outside or eating a pork chop or broccoli. It’s reality television, but it’s not real.”