Don't Miss Out, Sign Up Now!
Terra Jole is best known for her gig as the star of Little Women: LA and Terra’s Little Family. The long-time entertainer and performer began appearing in both shows in 2014, and also serves as executive producer. She reached even more success after participating in and finishing in fifth place on season 23 of Dancing with the Stars! The reality star recently wrote her first memoir, Fierce at Four Foot Two, so we’ve compiled a list of the 15 most shocking revelations from her book!
Terra Jole’s parents were not expecting her diagnosis because they are both average-sized people. When Jole was born she had club feet that “looked like my feet were wrapped around my legs,” and her head was so oversized that she had to be born via C-section. It wasn’t until the doctor asked them if they had any “extremely short” people in their family that they realized something serious was wrong. Right before they were discharged the doctor told Jole’s parents that she had achondroplasia, a bone growth disorder that causes short-limbed dwarfism. Back in the ’80s there was no genetic testing or anatomy scans to prepare parents for this type of diagnosis, and back then doctors didn’t know that all average-sized parents have a 1 in 30,000 chance in bearing a child with dwarfism. A year later they adopted her brother, Bourn, who also had dwarfism.
Terra Jole’s describes her parents as being complete opposites. Her father, Richard Odmark, was a contractor who “loved his steaks rare and his drinks strong,” while her mother, Karolyn Eaves, was much earthier. She was an environmentalist and animal rights activist. When Terra Jole was born, her parents were on the brink of divorce due to her father’s drinking, but Jole seemed to bring her parents back together. It didn’t last long. By the time she was 6-years-old, her parents were divorced. Richard’s drinking only got worse as she got older, and it wasn’t until she was in high school that she truly understood just how bad it was. When his company went under, he bounced around from job to job, never paid child support, and was in and out of rehab.
For as long as she can remember, Jole wanted to be a performer. From the time she was preschool, she was entering talent shows, but unfortunately, her size affected how others viewed her talent. The first time she experienced any kind of discrimination was in preschool when she was supposed to sing “Sandy” from the 1982 film version of the musical “Annie.” On the day of the show her mother told her it was cancelled because of the rain, but years later Jole found out “the school had decided it was best I didn’t perform because they didn’t want me to be made fun of for being different,” she wrote.
As a student, Terra Jole loved being apart of the show choir. She’d excelled at it and was encouraged by her teachers until she got to high school where she ran into who she refers to as “Mrs. Crabapple.” Each year Jole tried out, but didn’t make the cut. She’d be devastated, but just assumed it was because she needed more practice. It wasn’t until the end of junior year that she found out the reason she wasn’t making the choir was because Mrs. Crabapple felt like she didn’t “fit in.” She was being cut from the choir because of her size. She was finally let into the group when her friend Ashley stood up for her and quit. A few days later, Jole found out her and Ashley both made the final cut for Premier choir.
At the end of senior year, Terra’s friend Sam, began showing interest in her. They were at a party and had stayed up late talking when he suddenly kissed her. After that night they began dating and she would sneak out of the house to see him. They never had sex, but were “very intimate.” Things between them were good, but Terra began to notice that Sam wouldn’t go out in public with her on their own. He was the one who initiated their relationship, but then would say things like “I feel like I’d be holding my daughter’s hand instead of my girlfriend’s,” and she eventually ended the relationship out of respect for herself. Throughout the book, Jole is open about the fact that she’s dated quite a bit — both average-sized men and LPs (little person).
Terra met Joe for the first time while working for Radio City in Detroit. Joe was also doing Radio City in another city, but drove to Detroit to visit a friend in the same cast as Terra. They all went to a party and immediately Terra and Joe hit it off. Unfortunately, they were both in relationships with other people at the time, but ended up kissing each other at the end of the night. The next day, Terra heard from another friend that Joe had been talking about their intimate moment which totally pissed her off. They didn’t end up talking again for years, and when they did cross paths down the road, their relationship continued to be hot and cold because Joe had a hard time letting go of his ex-girlfriend. They dated on and off and were even engaged at one point, only to call it off a few weeks later! Now they are happily married with two kids.
Before Terra Jole became a reality TV star, she was famous for being a mini impersonator. Some of her best acts were Mini Britney and Mini Gaga, but even before all that, she was apart of a group called Mini Kiss! She’d been living a home and had almost given up on a career in the entertainment industry when she reached out to an old friend, Joey Fatale, who led a Mini Kiss tribute band. He invited her on board to play a Mini Paulina Stanley, and a week later she was on a flight to LA to perform on an episode of The George Lopez Show. They performed all over the world — Sweden, Mexico, Turkey, Canada and every major US city.
There were many times when Terra Jole was living paycheck to paycheck, especially when she worked as an entertainer in Hollywood because the work was never steady. To make it by in some of those hard months, she started earning a second income by selling designer bags on eBay. She described herself as a ‘total thrift shop junkie.’ Her favorite thing to resell was Louis Vuitton bags because most thrift stores sold them for a base price of $200 and she would resell them for $500 – $900. “The most money I ever got was for a two-piece set of Louis Vuitton luggage. They were totally beat up; the linings were ripped and the big piece had a huge stain. I thought maybe I could make a hundred bucks resale because the shipping alone was a hundred, but I ended up making a little over $1,200 in all,” she said.
Jole has been intertwined with the entertainment industry for a long time. She toured all over the country and in Europe performing as Mini Britney, went on tour with Ozzy Osbourne, T-Pain, appeared in an episode of CSI: Miami, and landed a role in the film Jackass 3D! As she gained more attention, Jole got extremely picky about the gigs she would perform because it wasn’t uncommon for her to have bad experience. While performing as Mini Britney, she included a clause in her contract that barred venues from using degrading language. “If a venue promoted me using the M-word (or any degrading language regarding my stature), my contract stipulated that I didn’t have to perform and the venue would still have to pay me. At least twice before, I’d actually been in my car on my way to a performance when I heard some plug on the radio from the venue promoting me as “Midget Britney.” Every time, I turned right around and went home,” she said.
After landing a scene in Jackass 3D, Terra Jole attended the wrap party at a club in Hollywood. Of course, the party meant a lot of drinking, and it doesn’t take much to get Jole drunk! The last thing she remembered was being at the party having fun when she woke up in her car around 3:00 am. “I was parked at a meter, puking my guts out, and a cop was asking me if I was okay. There was puke on me, puke all over my car, puke on the side of the road. I was so out of it I refused to take a Breathalyzer, so they took me down to the station. Because I admitted I was driving, they charged me with a DUI,” she wrote. Jole was placed in a cell around four or five in the morning. In the end her license got suspended, was fined $10,000, had to attend 16 mandatory AA meetings, three months of sobriety classes and 30 hours of community service.
Once Terra Jole felt like she’d accomplished all she could touring as Mini Gaga and Mini Britney, she began thinking about what was next and thought about creating a show like that focused on little people. She came up with the name ‘Little Ladies: LA’ and convinced a few friends to come on board. Once she had six friends on board, they shot a pilot at her best friend Tonya’s fiftieth birthday party. Oddly enough, around the same time, Jole was contacted by Kinetic Content about casting a reality show with a small group of little people girlfriends. When they saw her 8-minute homemade teaser from Tonya’s birthday party, they loved it! They agreed to partner up and eventually changed the name of the show from ‘Little Ladies’ to ‘Little Women.’ From then on it was up to Kinetic to shop it around to networks.
Not long after Miley Cyrus’ controversial performance at the 2013 Video Music Awards, Terra was contacted by Miley Cyrus’ production company to join her US/European Bangerz Tour which was set to begin in January 2014. Leading up to that, she performed alongside Cyrus on the Today show and back-to-back concerts for I Heart Radio, but a few months before the tour was set to begin, she got a call that Little Women: LA was going to be picked up by Lifetime. Due an overlap in timing, Jole was forced to pick between the tour and her new show, and she of course chose the show, but stated that her time working with Miley Cyrus was one of the most positive experiences of her career.
When Terra Jole landed her gig with Miley Cyrus, she should have been extremely happy because for once in her entire life she was having success in both her professional and personal life. She and Joe were finally on track in their relationship and her show Little Women: LA was gaining traction with networks. But at the same time her father, who’d been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver in 2011, was in the hospital undergoing his second liver transplant. He was always told by doctors to stop drinking, but he never took it seriously until he was put on the transplant list, but by then it was too late. He had drank his health away. After his first transplant, he seemed to get better, but then they discovered that liver was infected with cancer. During this time Jole made sure to visit her father every other month and in September 2013 he finally got a second liver. On the day he was supposed to be released from the hospital, he suffered a massive heart attack and died. Jole had to perform on the Today show four days later. After the performance she flew home for a few days to be with her family. A few weeks later she learned that Little Women: LA was picked up by Lifetime.
When Terra Jole came back for season two of Little Women: LA, she found out she and Joe were pregnant with their first child. It wasn’t planned, but once they found out it just seemed right. They found out from the ultrasounds that not only were they having a little girl, but she’d be achon like Jole. The whole pregnancy was worrisome over concern about the strain it would put on Jole’s body, and because they found out she might have hydrocephalus, a condition where fluid builds up and puts pressure on the brain. After Penelope Charlevoix Gnoffo was born she was rushed to the NICU, but eventually she and Terra Jole recovered well! To this day, the birth of Penelope on Terra’s Little Family is the highest rated episode out of all the Little Women franchises.
Right before Penelope was going to go in for her decompression surgery, Terra and Joe found out they were pregnant again. This time they didn’t find out the gender of the baby ahead of time and had picked the names Primrose for a girl and D’Artagnan for a boy. They’d picked the name D’Artagnan because of a Citizen Cope song (their favorite band), which reminded them both of Joe’s father, and decided on Vincent as his middle name, named after Joe’s father. When they ended up having a boy, Joe feared he would get made fun of for having such a unique name, so they changed it to Grayson Vincent Gnoffo. To Terra’s surprise, Grayson was born perfectly healthy with no preexisting conditions, although there is still a chance he could develop Joe’s form of dwarfism, but they will not know until he’s older.