Too bad the title Mean Girls was already taken. The cast of Bravo’s newest reality series, Gallery Girls, really packs a wallop. The show follows seven young woman trying to make it in Manhattan’s art world. and if this is the kind of behavior that goes on over there, our advice would be to stick to Wynwood.
Chantal Chadwick and Claudia Martinez are struggling to run their own business; Angela Pham is an exhibitionist and “artist.” Maggie Schaffer is an overworked (read: possibly exploited) intern at Eli Klein Fine Art, where Miami native and the show’s apparent villain, Liz Margulies, has just taken her job. Awkward!
Another local, Amy Poliakoff, is portrayed as the pampered princess, who lives in an Upper East Side apartment that belongs to her father. Though Poliakoff seems down to earth and perfectly competent, the cameras would rather document her taking bubble baths and getting painful eyelash extensions. The only seemingly “normal” cast member is Kerri Lisa, a stunning Long Islander who comes from humble roots.
The first episode, airing 10 p.m. Monday, captures the women at their worst — negative, whiny, catty, desperate. Likely the point.
Margulies bonds with Schaffer, but that’s about it. She’ll take someone down for having lipstick on her teeth. Poliakoff, whom she met in fifth grade at Gulliver Academy, is another target — Margulies disses her for being too complimentary, then later for acting intoxicated.
“I wouldn’t say we’re friends,” Margulies says from New York. “Not everyone is bound to get along.”
Poliakoff, now a gallery publicist in Manhattan, was surprised by the attacks.
“I was excited to begin the show and thought it would be a unique experience to collaborate with Liz,” she says, adding politically: “Every girl has to grow, and Liz is still growing. That’s what our 20s are about, and I hope one day she becomes mature to the point where she’s open-minded and respects people for who they are.”
Margulies has pedigree — her father is famed Miami collector Martin Margulies, but she won’t ride on his name.
“In New York, everyone is trying to succeed. You don’t see people sitting around for a reason,” says Margulies, who is currently studying graphic design at the School of Visual Arts. “Everyone’s fighting for the same success.”
The new series is getting compared to dearly departed Sex and the City, maybe because the character of Charlotte ( Kristin Davis) made being a gallery girl look glamorous.
Margulies sees a few parallels.
“I mean as far as everyone being different, with different issues and viewpoints, yeah,” she says. “And drama. There’s definitely some drama going on.”