Fans of Bravo and/or shows with the word “girls” in the title may have come across an interesting (and, if you’re us, addictive) new series called Gallery Girls this season, the finale of which airs tonight. The reality show centers around twentysomething girls living in New York and trying to establish careers in the art world. The result is sort of like a trainwreck you can’t stop watching. There are creepy bosses preying on young interns; gratuitous trips to Miami Art Basel; spoiled rich kids who’ve been to rehab, amazing quotes like “I’m not going to be just another hipster. I want to be a cool fashion photographer,” and much more.
The show establishes a pretty clear uptown/downtown dichotomy. Or Manhattan/Brooklyn. The “uptown” girls, mostly blonde, are all working unpaid internships for dealers or gallery owners, while the “downtown” girls run a small gallery/boutique space in the lower east side called End of Century. From the very first episode, the uptown girls and the downtown girls do not get along.
Aside from being a guilty pleasure, I think our fascination with the show stems from two sort of legitimate things: One, it’s the first reality show (aside from The City, which was scripted) to somewhat accurately depict “millenials” living in NYC and trying to establish careers in a creative field. And two, it’s the first show to shed light on the reality of the economy’s impact on that job market in the form of 25-year-olds still working unpaid internships and/or trying to keep a small business afloat–even if that business is very, very hip.
We popped by End of Century–a truly lovely space with a great inventory of independent clothing and jewelry designers–last week to chat with co-owners Claudia Martinez-Reardon, 25 Chantal Chadwick, 24 and Lara Hodulick, 26, who are definitely real people who told us about how they’re making it, what filming the show was like, how it’s impacted their business, whether there will be a second season and much more. Read on for our interview!