Image Credit: TLCTLC’s newest reality series, Bama Belles, premieres Sunday night. I said a few weeks ago that I wasn’t so sure I wanted to watch a “relatable show” about a group of women from Dothan, Ala. But then the Belles sent me a screener of the premiere and called me up to chat about the new show. “We’re going to bust the stereotypes,” said Amie, one of the show’s stars. “I’m really tired of the south being portrayed as ignorant, uneducated people. I think they need to watch Bama Belles because, honestly, we’re just the opposite of that. It’s all about living life and enjoying life and genuinely loving your circle of friends and family.”
Confession time: I think I found another addition for my DVR. The five Belles Amie, Dakota, Jana, Melissa, and Val talked about what you can expect in the first season.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How do you all know each other?
Amie: I’m kind of like the cog in this whole thing. Imagine that! They are all in my circle of friends. A couple of them kind of knew each other as acquaintances, but our circle just kind of came together through my relationship with each girl.
So how are the five of you getting along?
Melissa: We’re definitely learning each other’s personalities.
Dakota: Our friendships are like any other relationships. I think we’ve learned how to complement one another. And when one has fallen short, we pick them up and carry them for a while and wait for them to be OK so they can walk on their own again.
Val, you’re from New York. Did you have any culture shock moving from NYC to Alabama?
Val: I miss my friends and family. That’s the first culture shock. You’re out here all alone. The other thing was that I lived in a house with a farm, a lake, and animals all around. In New York City I live in an apartment, and there’s cement around me. It was definitely challenging, but that’s part of it. And I also learned that you can never have a good hair day. Your makeup just melts right off! [Laughs]
Tell our readers a little about Dothan, Ala.
Amie: It’s about 65,000 people. It’s funny because the Dothanites like to consider Dothan a big city. We consider this metropolitan because we have our rural areas where we have the farms and all this. It’s just crazy because we don’t like to think of ourselves as a small town, but really we are.
Dakota: Here in San Antonio I know I passed at least 65,000 going to work today and that was only 10 miles.
Jana: And we’re the peanut capital of the world, hello!
What makes this show different from other shows like the Real Housewives franchises?
Amie: First of all, there’s nothing that’s not real about this show. We don’t have nine nannies, and we don’t throw multi-thousand dollar birthday parties for our children. We’re just every day women who are independent, goal-oriented, career women. We just happen to be living our lives in front of the camera. There’s nothing fake about what you will see on Bama Belles.
Jana: People are going to sit back and say, “Oh my god, she’s just like me!” or “They’re just like us. I thought we were the only ones who did that.” I think it’s just more relatable in the sense of family, friends, and how we do things.
Dakota: I am not from the south. I was born and raised in North Dakota. I love back home, but I fell in love with the south. For the first time since I left North Dakota I felt like I was back home. I just don’t have to deal with the below zero temperatures or the snow. When I was growing up, it was a big deal if you got a new Ford pickup truck, and it was a diesel power stroke, and it had hemis on it. You were stylin’. Same thing in Dothan. There’s not an Aston Martin just on the street corner because we’re not rollin’ like that. That’s OK with us!
Any behind-the-scenes stories you can share with the viewers?
Val: Amie introduced me to some little hole-in-the-wall fried chicken. Amie what was that place, was it a gas station?
Amie: Oh, when we left Booger Bottom? Yeah, we made Val try things that she’s never tried before. You’re probably not going to see a lot of that on camera but it’s hilarious just to see her reactions to some of the things that we eat and do. Unfortunately, there’s only so much time per episode, and I think the viewers are going to miss a lot of that.
What did you eat?
Jana: Boiled peanuts!
Val: Fried Chicken and grits that looked like it came from a back of a gas station!
Amie: Don’t be slamming on the gas stations, Val. That’s where you get the best food! [Laughs]