If producers Angela Laster-King and Tina Crittenden have their way, a reality series featuring Atlanta-area lesbians will soon be on television.
“The Other Women of America” is a potential lesbian reality series envisioned by the two women, who have been a couple for almost a decade. They have been working on the project for two and a half years and got the idea while watching “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” and realizing there wasn’t the balance they would like.
“Most reality series are either all white or all black,” says Crittenden. “Everyone looks alike.”
King feels the same way.
“Every time I look for a reality show I can relate to, it comes to a screeching halt,” she says.
The cast for the Atlanta version is split down the middle racially.
The goal in bringing the project together was having a diverse cast, as well as focusing on the various backgrounds of the individuals so that everyone could relate to at least one person.
“We want to show women who are confident, know who they are and are successful,” says King. “These women have loving families and relationships. Each of them has a story to tell. We want to entertain and educate. We want to show America that we are no different.”
The series will follow the women through their day to day lives as they interact with each other. According to the producers, a lot of time was spent finding just the right mix of women.
The goal, according to a synopsis of the show, is “to dispel the myths on the lives of lesbian women, their families, their relationships, their careers, their social circles, their spirituality, and most of all, their place in America. The show’s focus and premise will be done in a classy, unpretentious, manner highlighting the women in their professional, family and personal lives to include the DRAMATIC intricacies they sometimes encounter.”
King, a business consultant, and Crittenden, a real estate consultant and a clothing designer, plan to produce a full season — consisting of eight episodes — and court networks such as VH1, LOGO, Bravo, WE and Oxygen. After the Atlanta version is launched, they will take the show to other cities, with San Francisco next in line.
According to Crittenden, more than 40 hours of the Atlanta version have already been shot. A trailer for the potential series is available on the project’s website – towoa.com.
The cast of the potential series were introduced at a press conference Feb. 13. The women are Kelli Duncan, an Atlanta firefighter with a hearing impediment; Nate Hall, a part-time nanny and creator of the Atlanta LGBT Families non-profit organization; Camille Thomas, a mother and businesswoman from New York; Paula Martin Larson, a mother of three, business owner and avid softball player; Antonette Currie, a student at Kennesaw State University and aspiring model who has lupus; Eleni Papandreou, who owns Buckhead Florist and whose mother still tries to set her up with Greek men; Michelle Alexander, known for her self-help series “A Girl’s Guide to Gettin’ It;” Sue Anne Morgan, who owns event planning company ideaLand; and Sara Lynn Gruba, owner of the local recruiting firm The Dakota Group. Crittenden and King will also be featured in the series.
India Alston, who also serves as one of the project’s executive producers, says the team hopes to have an offer by the end of March.
“It’s moving faster than we anticipated,” she says, adding they have talked to several networks and there is high interest. Chamique Holdsclaw also serves as producer. In light of the recent beating of Brandon White in Atlanta, Alston feels there is a huge “basis for a show such as this.”
King, herself an Atlanta native, thinks the city is a great place to launch the series.
“Atlanta was chosen because it’s a gay mecca and one of the largest cities for the LGBT community,” she says. “The LGBT community is very involved here. It also sits in the South. We are in the Bible Belt and we want to dispel myths.”
“In our next city — San Francisco — it’s different. No one cares (about one’s sexuality). In each city, you’ll see different culture.”
Most of the women from the potential series are mothers and many own their own businesses. Some are even quite religious, and all want to show what makes them unique.
Duncan, who is deaf in one ear, has no restrictions at her job and wants to show viewers “a disability doesn’t stop you.”
For Morgan, who along with her former partner was the first same-sex couple whose wedding ceremony was announced in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, it’s about a true reflection of lesbian life.
“This is not about ‘The L Word,’” she says. “ Those girls are trashy. I want the real women to be represented. There won’t be chair-throwing here.”