'Kim of Queens' Kim Gravel: 'Beauty pageants get a bad rap'

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kim-gravel-kim-of-queens-lifetime-325.jpg"Kim of Queens," Lifetime's latest reality show featuring girls in tiaras and mothers in snits, premieres Wednesday, Jan. 1.

The show, which will then move to Tuesdays following "Dance Moms," focuses on Kim Gravel, a pageant coach who, with her mom, Jo, and sister Allisyn, works with young beauty contestants.

In the pilot, Gravel sees a diamond in the rough in Addison, a sweet rural girl who likes shooting and clogging. Gravel gives her some finesse, along with pageant hair and makeup. Addison and her mom are pleased.

The other girls all but shoot her daggers, and that's kind compared to how their mothers react.

"I hope it is a lighthearted family show that also has a bit of 'This is something they can apply to their own lives,' " Gravel tells Zap2it. "I am so into seeing people grow."

Far too many youth are entitled, with parents doing too much for them, she says. Gravel hopes to show girls how pageants can help them.

"The message is: You are your own competition," she says of her no-nonsense approach. "You are as good as you want to be. Quit comparing. Women are the worst at comparing themselves."

At 19, Gravel was Miss Georgia.

"It changed my world," she says. "I was able to go overseas and be a goodwill ambassador to Japan."

Pageants, she says, "get a bad rap. But if you know what you are doing and keep the main thing, [and] the main thing is personal growth."

Tips for competing:

  • Read a book. Become well-versed. "I am shocked at how many of these girls come to me and are not knowledgeable about what is going in the world," she says.

  • Exfoliate. Take care of your body and your skin.

  • It is not what you spend on makeup. It's how you put it on. Learn the tips on how to apply it properly.
Photo/Video credit: Lifetime