Has anyone watched the premiere of Empire Girls? It's a new Style Network reality show that follows former Cheetah Girl Adrienne Bailon and TV personality Julissa Bermudez as they work to make their dreams come true in New York City.
I don't know much about either lady but I have to admit when I saw the previews for the show I was intrigued. Then I totally forgot about it until I was up late and saw that the network was re-airing the premiere.
This first episode showed Adrienne getting some lip from her manager and her musical mentor Ne-Yo for not being focused and prepared. Both Ne-Yo and her manager were really getting on her lack of motivation. It took me back to the tough love days of Making the Band. In Empire Girls, though, I appreciated how authentic their dialogue seemed and how distraught Adrienne was for her mistakes.
But I was even more interested in Julissa Bermudez's story and here's why.
1. Julissa is working hard in the city to follow her dreams. She lives at home with her parents in Queens until she can get her own spot. How real is that? I love that the show is showing that her real life is not all glamorous, and that's ok.
2. She's a Latina with a pretty thick Dominican and New York accent. Her agent tells her she needs to "fix" it so she can get more work. I hated hearing that. I think accents are beautiful, and her accent gives her vibrant character even more character. I know in journalism you're supposed to report with neutrality and everyone needs to understand the information you're sharing but she's a TV personality, and that accent adds to her personality. Unless she's auditioning for a specific role as an actress I don't think her accent should be an issue.
Apparently, it is, but either way I think showing a minority experiencing certain challenges in the industry is refreshing.
3. Although Julissa has done amazing things she's still working hard to pursue her dreams. I love seeing programs sharing authentic stories about the journeys of people trying to do big things. Matter-of-fact I think a show following a diverse group of ladies trying to make it in the big city is a great concept overall. With a more interesting cast MTV would have been close to the mark with The City, which was a more scripted version with Whitney Port as their feature.
Showing real people make sacrifices to reach their goals (or not) is exciting and makes for inspiring TV. This aspect has me rooting for Julissa even with us being only one episode in.
What do you think? Have you watched the show? If so, will you continue watching?