As the sun sets on the MTV’s infamous Jersey Shore series, a group of affluent Long Island 20-somethings are about to make their reality-TV debut when Growing Up Gold Coast premiers this month—but don’t expect as many dramatic fights and drunken plights.
The Lifetime series follows the lives of North Shore residents as they try to start careers for themselves in that other suburb in the shadow of New York City. But the cast isn’t planning to make their fame by proving who can drink the most without getting their stomach pumped or who wins the most beachfront bar brawls.
“The kids around this area, what sparked me is their ambition,” Jim Kelley, the show’s director, said during the premiere at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington on Monday night. “Instead of a reality show where girls fight, it’s a competition of getting ahead and starting out on their own.”
The show starts out with a montage of some of the most beautiful historic Gold Coast mansions, expensive cars and a private jet. it concludes by mentioning that these young LI socialites are rich, but nameless—they’ve barely begun their 15 minutes of fame.
“Anyone from here would be proud to say ‘yes, I’m from here,’” cast member Christopher “Gucci” Gucciardo said. The 28-year-old Fort Salonga resident is introduced in the show as trying to find his own success while working for his family’s contracting business.
He’s not the only cast member who wants to distance themselves from their legacy. Cast-mate Anthony “AJ” Scordio of Sands Point quit his top-notch job on Wall Street to be a waiter.
“I want to make my own success from the ground up,” Scordio said in his introduction during the show’s promo.
But not all of the Gold Coasters have a fiscally envious background.
Holly Maurer is a grad student working two jobs. As she’s introduced in her humble King’s Park home, she laments the sacrifices she makes to reach her success. While her cast mates are seen jumping in to Olympic-size pools and cruising in luxury cars with shiny rims, Maurer drives a modest four-door sedan and spends her downtime playing with her dog.
The ringleader, Kristiana Maroudes, of Oyster Bay Cove, introduces herself as a blossoming district manager of her parents’ Hollywood Tans stores. She’s also looking for a little success in her love.
The cast and their friends partake in a pool party, a networking date at Mac’s Steakhouse in Huntington, meeting potential suitors at Sugar Night Club and some boy drama typical to any group of girls at the Raphael Winery in Peconic.
Kelly said the show began filming in late September and is still filming due to Hurricane Sandy-related setbacks. Growing Up Gold Coast premieres 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 25 on Lifetime.