Folks -- especially those who have called and emailed me the last year with tips and secrets about where they spotted the MTV camera crew while they were here -- tonight's episode of "16 and Pregnant" is the one you've all been waiting for! It's Kayla Jackson's episode, the former Mankato West High School student who now lives in Winthrop with her dad and her son, Preston, born Nov. 4.
Plenty of Mankato area places and people will be on TV! How fun. Be sure to tune in at 9 p.m. on MTV. Otherwise, the episode repeats a billion times this week.
Here's some background if this is all news to you:
For almost a year I have been hearing buzz about MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” reality TV series. Kayla Jackson, 18, who gave birth to her son, Preston, when she was 17, is on the third season of the hit series, which kicked off weeks ago.
Already -- or, perhaps more accurately, still, after all these months -- people are talking about it. Dining at Dino’s in North Mankato one day, I overheard several people talking about how they might see the restaurant on the show because Jackson was filmed dining there last summer. In a class at Minnesota State University, I overheard three students talking about how they knew someone who might be seen in some of the footage. A woman even e-mailed me at one point saying Jackson’s pregnancy was part of a student pregnancy pact (untrue).
MTV, you clearly have our attention. Jackson herself, who moved to Winthrop to live with her dad, has been mum, perhaps due to a confidentiality agreement. Jackson’s mother e-mailed me last summer to say her daughter wasn’t at liberty to discuss the show. That may have changed, as she has a Kayla Jackson Official Fanpage on Facebook, which she and her sister and friend administer, where she interacts with people’s posts and has photos and biography information displayed. But so far, she hasn’t responded to interview requests.
Here’s what I can glean from the fanpage: Jackson is finishing high school and plans to graduate in June 2011. She has plans to live on her own this summer and attend college in the fall or next spring. She and Preston’s dad, who isn’t named, are not together, but he is involved in Preston’s life.
According to a couple of sneak peek videos and trailers, which can be viewed on the fan page or MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” web page, one angle the episode explores is Jackson’s battle with an eating disorder for which she was hospitalized at age 13. In one clip she’s lamenting to a friend about how she feels fat, to which her friend responds: “You’re not fat. You’re pregnant.”
So far, about 1,600 people have “liked” Jackson’s fan page, with more to come when her episode airs, I’m sure. She posted that she created the page because more than 50 people per day were trying to friend her on her private Facebook page.
But so far she appears to be OK with the attention. Ashley Brown posted the question: Do you think you will regret doing “16 & Pregnant” after seeing the negativity all the other girls have gotten? “No” was Jackson’s response.