Reality TV has made North Texas its home. With everything from some Housewives to a Shark, the DFW area is involved in enough shows to fill its own channel.
And now there's Little Women: Dallas, which will premiere on Lifetime on Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 9 p.m. The series is an addition to the popular franchise, which has outposts in Atlanta, LA and New York and a couple of other spin-offs. And a bona fide star in Terra Jole, who is burning up the floor on Dancing With the Stars.
Bri Barlup, affectionately nicknamed "Left Cheek," and her friend, Emily Fernandez (aka "Right Cheek") were in the cast of Little Women: Atlanta before they made the move West. They were asked to be on Atlanta, "because we were pretty well-known." The duo did music videos and hosting and bookings.
But on one beautiful day in October, they were enjoying all that the State Fair of Texas had to offer, with cameras in their wake. And admirers were stopping them for pictures and autographs, from which they demurred.
"We were watching y'all this morning," said a smiling and excited Rebecca Rodriguez, 33, who had her kids with her at the fair when her husband spotted the cast and crew.
She didn't get a picture, but she was still excited. She knew all about Little Women: Dallas and says she's just "waiting for it to come on."
Reality TV has a reputation, warranted or not, that it's scripted TV passing itself off as real-life.
Little Women: Dallas is not that show.
During the time filming at the State Fair, only one audible direction was given to the cast, which includes husbands and boyfriends, during almost two hours on the set.
And when they took a break from shooting, the camaraderie among the cast was evident. Some of them wanted to eat and some of them just wanted to play games on the Midway. Most importantly, they wanted to do it together.
The excitement for the Midway notwithstanding, everything isn't fun and games.
Fernandez's infant son died in August, prompting her move to Denton to be closer to family.
"I'm really comfortable here," she said. "I came right here because of my son's health complications. And my son's father's family is here."
Faithful friend Barlup came with; she said her son's father "was born and raised in Denton, too."
Fernandez says they've also been here five to six years.
The show is genuine and so are the friendships.
Some of the women know each other from when they were kids and going to conventions. And their families also participate in the filming that can go up to seven hours a day. That loving feeling is carried through to the show.
There were nods at the table when Asta Young declared that they all liked each other and get along really well.
Said Caylea Woodbury: "At the end of the day, we're all one big family."
Young finishes it, though, with a review: "This is more fun, and thrilling. I feel like this show is gonna blow out any other show out there."
Big Tex, meet Little Women. Little Women, meet Big Tex.
Bri "Left Cheek" Barlup
Group dynamic: Simmering volcano
Key quote: "I would say I'm the quiet one of the group, but certain things can make me pop off."
Do you know her? Barlup and Fernandez used to do music videos for rapper Lil Chuckee. He gave them their nicknames. "And then it just stuck with us."
Group dynamic: The "girly-girl"
Key quote: After someone says "I don't think anyone's ready for us," she answers, "Coming in, small and hot."
Do you know her? You will soon. She may already know you, though: She's a hairstylist. As those of you who frequent salons know, they know everybody.
Emily "Right Cheek" Fernandez
Group dynamic: The loud one (photo above)
Key quote: "Even though I've been through a lot, now I'm kinda getting back into my groove.
And I'm not afraid to say anything. So ... I'm very loud. And obnoxious."
Do you know her? See this touching People magazine story and "Left Cheek," above.
Group dynamic: "I'm the certified bad-ass of the group."
Key quote: "I'll do anything you put me up to."
Do you know her? Loy is a top competitive bodybuilder and personal trainer. She trains out of Destination. The women have done her boot camp.
Group dynamic: She's the youngest of the cast, "21 and having fun." Her birthday is a focal point of the first episode.
Key quote: "If it's not going one way, it's going my way."
Do you know her? The youngest of the bunch, the native of New Hampshire garnered a nickname when she used to work at clubs: "Lil Twerk." But her castmates call her "Princess Caylea."
Group dynamic: Born in Hong Kong, she's the self-proclaimed geek. She moved to Dallas couple o
Key quote: "I goof off a lot."
Do you know her? Young is a cosplayer with more than 15,000 Instagram followers. She is invited to and attends many comic conventions. She moved to Dallas a couple of years ago; she and her husband also work at a local bar.