The reality-television show “Little Women: LA,” featured the lives of a group of individuals who have a medical or genetic condition called dwarfism. These six girlfriends may have small bodies, but they have big hearts and huge personalities; putting them together in one room would mean lots of drama, funny antics, and complicated relationships. The show premiered in 2014 on the Lifetime cable channel, and has since then been rocking the TV ratings.
- 1 Know more about “Little Women: LA”
- 2 Meet the Original Cast
- 3 During the first season in “Little Women: LA”
- 4 Where is the cast of “Little Women: LA” after eight seasons?
Know more about “Little Women: LA”
The Lifetime cable network, the subsidiary of A&E TV network, has found a goldmine in “Little Women: LA.” The TV show gave the viewers an inside view on how little people navigate in the world of average-sized people. Instead of just doing a straight documentary of the everyday challenges and successes in their lives, Kinetic Content, a production company for Lifetime, incorporated the vibe of the popular reality-TV show “The Real Housewives,” into it.
This element gave a new spin on the narrative of the show, making it more viewer-friendly and it won a solid fan base, which resulted in several spin-off series.
The first season comprised nine episodes, and aired from 27 May 2014 to 22 July 2014. From the get-go, it garnered much buzz as viewers were curious about how little people see the world and how they survive it, with all the physical challenges that came with dwarfism. They garnered around 800,000 to 900,000 viewers a night for the first three episodes, got past six figures for the fourth episode, and never looked back.
Meet the Original Cast
They are a typical group of six girlfriends except that they are little people; all of them are between 3ft 8ins to 4ft 4ins (1.1 – 1.3m) tall, and prefer not to be called midgets; the politically correct term for them is little people. They all share the same mantra: ‘It’s not what they can’t do; it’s more like what they can do.’
Like all friends, they fight, but at the end of the day, there’s a lot of love among the girls. They are all tied together because they see life from the same perspective. They believe that they can do everything an average person can do, and sometimes even more or better. Here are the original cast of “Little Women: LA” and their situations during its first season:
Terra Jolé (4 ‘2” tall, Season 1 – 8)
Terra Jolé was born on 25 May 1982, in San Antonio, Texas. Her parents are both average-sized and were surprised by her dwarfism, but learned that it happens in 1 out of 40,000 children. While her height was considered average in the world of little people, there’s nothing else average about her. She has a larger-than-life personality, as she’s not only one of the main stars of the show, having been a full-time entertainer, singer and actress, but is also one of the executive producers. She’s said that if Ellen DeGeneres and Jenny McCarthy had a baby, it would be her.
Tonya Banks (4’0, Season 1 – 8)
Tonya Renee Banks was born on 7 July 1964, in Carson, California. Just like her bestie, Terra, Tonya works as an actress, and has been in the entertainment industry for about three decades including her time as a stuntwoman. Her friends call her “Little Boss”, because she might be small but she’s ‘large as life’ and in charge; she doesn’t have any problem telling people what to do. With her boyfriend Kerwin Johnson, she has an average-sized daughter, Angelique,. She could never forget when Angelique, with her hands up high, wanted to be picked up when she was about four years old, but she couldn’t do it since her daughter’s height was up to her nose. They both adapted to their unique situation. Her daughter’s in college and it’s making her very anxious. However, now that she’s gone, Tonya’s got so much free time to date.
Briana Renee (3’1”, Season 1 – 6)
Briana Renee Kealiher was born on 30 September 1982, in San Diego, California.
Growing up, she never thought of herself as a little person because her parents trained her to get over her short stature problems by finding solutions, instead of whining about them. She said that her parents used to tell her ‘to get a stool and get over it.’ From the first episode of the show, she was introduced as a newly divorced woman from ex-husband Leif Manson, who was the first little person who participated in the reality-TV show “Survivor: One World.” They have a daughter named Leaiana, who was four and a half years old at that time. It’s been nine years since she went out on a date, and she wanted her groove back.
Elena Gant (4’4”, Season 1- 8)
Elena Gant was born on 14 July 1987, in Russia, and has been referred to as the Russian bombshell. To correct her bowed legs when she was growing up, her average-sized parents tied her to a bed for two years.
She’s an entertainer/impersonator, who opened a mini- Britney Spears show in Las Vegas before she joined the cast of “Little Women: LA.” Elena was newly married when the show premiered on TV, after dating average-sized Preston Gant for only three months, having met him when she flew to the US to attend the Little People of America Convention in 2014. From the get-go, it seemed that Terra was insinuating that it wasn’t a romantic whirlwind relationship, but that Elena only married Preston for the Green Card.
Christy McGinity (4’0”, Season 1 to 8)
Christy was born on 19 August 1977, in Burbank, California. Just like her friends, she’s an actress, but also works as a financial adviser. She was a stand-in for child actors in commercials, and had minor roles in movies such as “Austin Powers in Goldmember” and “Death to Smoochy.” Some of her friends called her the “hot mess,” but she has a motto – ‘if you don’t like her, she doesn’t have time for you.’
She said that she won’t kiss Terra’s ass even if everyone kisses her ass. She has a boyfriend named Todd, whom she described as the most amazing man she’s ever met; he moved from Ohio to LA to live with her. She has two teenage kids named Trenton and Autumn from a previous marriage.
Traci Harrison (4’0”, Season 1 to 2)
Traci Harrison was born on 20 November 1975, in Loma Linda, California. Among the group, she was the conservative one, so she considered herself the saint and the others, the sinners. She said she’s a freak but she’s a Jesus freak. She has a fiancé named Erik Tsou whom she met on the dating site for little people called DateALittle.com. They’ve been dating for two and a half years; they don’t practice pre-marital sex, as Traci said that they were saving something special for after they marry; they live together in one house but in separate rooms.
During the first season in “Little Women: LA”
Terra said that they’re professional climbers, not because they want to be but because the world doesn’t modify them, so they modify themselves to fit with the world. Take away the physical challenges of being a little person, and their lives weren’t too different from average-sized people. They might be little, but they still get married, have children, and get divorced. During the premiere episode, they both signed up for a “Sexy Camp Class” with Aisha, one of the top-notch choreographers in Hollywood. They were joined by Briana, who’d just been through a divorce, and her friends want her to have her sexy groove back.
Terra and Elena both worked as entertainers/impersonators. There weren’t many jobs for little people performers, and Terra felt that Elena would be her biggest competition, saying that Elena’s energy sometimes rubs her up the wrong way.
She practically invented Little Britney as a performance character, and Elena just created the same character. They may be a tight group of friends but they are all competitive – Elena felt this competitive vibe from Terra, and believed that her friend saw her as the younger, hotter, and sexier version of herself.
During the sexy dance workshop, Traci couldn’t stay longer, and do what the others do, saying it wasn’t for her – everything was too sexual for her, and way outside her comfort zone. Terra convinced her to return, because she felt that they are like the little musketeers – one for all and all for one. She said it wasn’t vulgar but just sensual, and it’s not as if she will do it in front of her church, but only behind closed doors.
Christy and her boyfriend Todd went furniture shopping, and she said it was a great couple’s therapy session in which both parties learned how to compromise with their choices.
She told him that there would be a divorce party for Brianna, and wanted Todd to be there because she wanted to show Brianna that Todd is hers – apparently, Todd and Brianna dated in the past. During the party, it created some friction between them especially since Todd was seen getting too interested in Brianna, who on the other hand invited a date to the party, who was a friend of Elena’s husband. However, it seemed he was more interested in Tonya’s daughter.
The season ended with Christy planning to marry in Las Vegas, and the girls had a blast during the bachelorette party. The girls purposely flew a day earlier than their partners, so that they could enjoy a night without them hovering on their shoulders. However, on the wedding day, the groom and the bride had a heart-to-heart talk just minutes before the ceremony began, and it was called off, as both Christy and Todd realized it would be better if their families were included in the celebration.
They went back home to plan a big and traditional one ceremony.
Where is the cast of “Little Women: LA” after eight seasons?
Of the six girls from the main cast, only four remained in its eighth season. Traci left the show after the second season, and Brianna said goodbye after six seasons with the show. They added two more girls, Jasmine Arteaga Sorge and Brittney Guzman to complete the magic six. While Jasmine stayed with the show until the eighth season, Brittney only stayed for one.
It was never explained why the show stopped airing in August 2019. Fans were hopeful that it wasn’t canceled, and would be back on TV for its ninth season, most believing or hoping that filming was halted due to the movement restrictions brought by the Covid-19 pandemic. In the meantime, here’s the latest on what’s happening with the girls:
Christy and Todd turbulent relationship
In the final episode of the eighth season, Christy revealed many shocking things about her marriage to Todd.
One was that the marriage was never consummated, because Todd didn’t want to have sex with her. She thought the feeling of being in love and the companionship they shared were enough, so she never complained, however, the relationship became volatile as he became physical with her during arguments. The worse part was that she had let him handle their finances, since he had experience working in a bank. Unfortunately, she found out that he mishandled the money, and took out loans on her behalf just to buy his stuff. She filed a temporary restraining order and it was granted – they separated in April 2019, and Christy initially filed for an annulment, but later on agreed just to get a divorce, granted in May 2020, a month before she gave birth to a baby with the new man in her life, Gonzalo Carazo. However, her daughter Violet passed away at two weeks old, after which she moved to New York to be with her fiancé.
Elena’s kids with Preston
Elena and Preston have three kids: twins Xavier and Kairo born in 2016, and daughter Aurora in 2021. Kairo and Aurora were both diagnosed with Pseudoachondroplasia dwarfism, but Xavier has turned out to be average-sized. She’s busy uploading vlogs about her family, and make-up tutorials on her YouTube channel called “Elena’s Day.” Elena earned a college degree in Interior Design from Orange Coast College through online schooling. She will soon publish a book and release a make-up palate.
Tonya’s love life, health, and friendship with Terra
At the beginning of “Little Women: LA,” Tonya and Terra considered each other as homies. However, their relationship went sour in the seventh season, when she launched her own wine line with one called L’Tonya Renee. A few months later, Terra also created her own wine line, and requested that Tonya be the face of her alcoholic blends which she called Black Girl Moscato.
Understandably, Tonya was upset about this, and since then everything has changed between the two. Her love life also took a different turn, as she broke-off her engagement to Kerwin, the man she was with for 30 years.
Health-wise, Tonya was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, a medical condition that has a paralyzing effect on the facial muscles, sometimes making it hard for her to close one of her eyes. There were times she wore an eyepatch in the show, and even joined Elena to try cold therapy for her condition.
Terra and Joe’s marriage and her multimedia successful career
After dating for quite some time, Terra and Joe were married on 21 June 2015, and now have three kids: Penelope (2015), Grayson (2016), and Magnolia (2020), all of whom inherited dwarfism from their parents. Due to the success of the show, Terra became one of the executive producers of its spin-off series, such as “Little Women: NY,” “Little Women: Atlanta,” “Little Women: Dallas,” and “Little Women: Terra’s Little Family.” She was also busy with her other TV appearances, including in “CSI: Vegas,” “Chelsea Lately” and “The Doctors,” as well as competing in the 23rd season of “Dancing with the Stars.”
She cemented her status as a multimedia star when in 2016 she released an album called “Penny’s Playlist,” published a book entitled “Fierce at Four Foot Two” in 2017, and produced music videos for her songs through her YouTube Channel called “Mini Mama.” Terra invested in her wine line called “Mini Mama Moscato” in 2018. She accumulated some hate because of the TV show, but whether some of it may have been scripted or not, it worked to her benefit. Joe posted on his Instagram account in September 2021, ‘Last pic is my favorite!!! A petition to kick me and Terra off the show.’ Apparently, someone made a petition on Facebook to have them booted out of the show, and another even made a fake police report about them. However, he said it won’t work, as Terra would never stay down and would continue fighting for the family.
These reality-TV stars agreed to stay in the show for eight seasons, to give the average-sized people a peek at the lives of little people. They wanted to help create awareness about them, and to inspire everyone that physical limitations should not deter anyone from pursuing their dreams. Their loyal following continues to wonder if there will be a ninth season but there’s no official news yet from its producers and the Lifetime network.