Amber Johnston Of 7 Little Johnstons Shares What Makes Her TLC Show Different - Exclusive

One of TLC's most popular, most enduring reality shows is 7 Little Johnstons, following the lives of an average American family of seven who are typical in every way but one: Each member of the clan is a little person. Trent and Amber Johnston are parents to five: their two biological offspring, Elizabeth and Jonah; and three adopted kids, each adopted from a different country where being born with dwarfism brings additional challenges and stigma beyond those that exist in the U.S. As a result, the couple adopted son Alex from South Korea, while daughters Emma and Anna come from China and Russia, respectively.

In an exclusive interview with The List, Amber Johnston shares her thoughts on why the show — which first hit the air in 2015 — continues to go strong all these years later, and what makes 7 Little Johnstons stand out from other shows featuring little people, such as fellow TLC series Little People, Big World or The Little Couple.

Amber Johnston and her family are relatable

One thing that Amber Johnston believes makes the show so distinctive is the fact that the 7 Little Johnstons showcases the family going through much of the same stuff most American families do — just with the added challenge of being smaller than everyone else.

"All of us would agree that we're very relatable. We're raw, and as far as what we share and the fact that I feel like when you watch our show it's a show about a family that is loaded with adventure and doing things themselves, and they all happen to be little," Johnston explained. "It's not a little people show, that they do some stuff. I think we definitely stand out from the two main ones that are going on right now in that we don't revolve our lives around the fact that we're little, we just have the mentality that we happen to be in this body, but it doesn't stop us. It doesn't slow us."

She added: "And then I think our parenting, our lifestyle is very different from what the other shows display."

Despite some acceptance, little people still 'haven't had their civil rights movement'

While 7 Little Johnstons is one of many reality shows on the television landscape these days to feature little people, that certainly wasn't always the case. Back in the day, it was rare to see a little person on television, let alone an entire family. Certainly with all these shows airing on television, attitudes toward little people must have changed, offering more acceptance and less stigma.

"It has changed, but it hasn't changed enough," Amber Johnston declared. "We still have a long, long, long ways to go. And the thing is ... I had a producer tell me years ago, little people haven't had their civil rights movement, and that's exactly right. And we're such a small group, a lot of people say, 'Oh, well, there's a lot of little people shows.' Really, there's not. There's a few, but when you look at it, how many average-size people shows are there? There's far many [more] average-size people's shows than there are little people shows? And I hate for them to be titled, average-size or little, because we don't go around titling, like, 'Oh, it's Average-Size Show.' No, we just say it's whatever TV show it is."

The family's normalcy is what makes them different

While TLC's Little People, Big World has been engulfed with familial drama, including infidelity, divorce, and remarriage, Amber Johnston believes the fact that 7 Little Johnstons has none of that kind of stuff going on is precisely what sets the show apart. Allowing viewers a fly-on-the-wall look at their everyday lives, she hopes, will help average-sized people gain an understanding that little people are really just like them, with all the hopes, dreams, talents, and foibles as anyone else.

"Like I said, with our show, it's a reality show based on a family that happens to be little people. And that's the mindset that we not only have, but ... Our crew has filmed on other little people shows, and they quickly realize on our show, 'Yeah. It's different,'" Johnston explained. "And I think that until society realizes that, 'Yeah, they're human beings that just happened to be in a little person body,' there won't ever be enough little people shows."

Season 6 of 7 Little Johnstons premieres Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on TLC. Catch the mid-season finale on February 16.