Is Miami the sexiest city in America? The cast of the new reality series "Miami Social" thinks so and viewers will be able to decide for themselves when the series premieres tonight on Bravo. With seven hot, successful and wealthy Miami residents working hard and playing harder, the show focuses primarily on their wild times and their always-complicated love lives. Two of the cast, Hardy Hill and Katrina Campins, talked to our Jim Halterman about being prepared for scrutiny by viewers, their thoughts on being compared to MTV's "The Hills" and why they love Miami.
With the seven cast members, how well did they know each other before filming began? "Well I can tell you personally I knew every single person that was cast on the show," said Hill. "I had either an acquaintance or a friend of a friend but I was always socially associated with everyone. Whether it be a direct personal contact or just by being introduced to them or being in the same social circle or you know are we all like best of friends? I wouldn't say that but I would say that we're much, much closer now."
The Miami nightlife wasn't the only through-line that joined the cast, according to Campins. "Hardy and I knew each other from the night life and beforehand. And [fellow cast member] Michael actually covered my wedding for People Magazine and so he and I had a relationship." Campins also said that filming did have an effect on the relationships between the cast members. "I've become much closer with certain people on the show."
Despite "Miami Social" not being their first foray into reality TV, are Hill and Campins ready to again be thrust into the public eye again? "I haven't really given it a whole lot of thought until just recently," Hill said. "And it's a little scary, it's a little frightening because you know you obviously don't want to be seen in a bad light. But at the same point in time you want to be seen in an honest light." The former "Big Brother" contestant added that he's "hoping that people will enjoy the show and see something in one of us or all of us that they either like love or hate. I guess they're just going to react how they want to react."
Campins took something from her time on "The Apprentice" in 2004 that would help with this new experience. "I was very young at the time," she said. "It was a very intense and surreal experience. And I learned very quickly that I had to have tough skin because people were very quick to judge before they knew me, especially because of my portrayal on the show. So this time around being 29 and having a completely different experience, because you have to remember that when I did 'The Apprentice' we had hidden cameras [that] would scrutinize, every move was filmed."
One staple of Bravo's reality shows are the gargantuan personal clashes, such as the recent tussle on "The Real Housewives of New Jersey." Will viewers see the same kind of drama on this series? Hill offered, "Any relationship goes through evolutions and changes and we're no different than anyone else. Are you going see some moments where you know people are on edge and at odds? Of course. You're going to see moments where we're all having a blast and singing Kumbaya? Absolutely. And every degree in between."
Campins agreed with Hills but added, "You're going to see drama but you're also going to see a group of friends from all walks of life, cultures, beliefs and we agree to disagree most of the time. And sometimes you know we definitely disagree on certain things but it's going to be an adventure to watch."
Campins gained some insight into herself and her rocky marriage by watching her life played out on television. "It was humbling to say the least. Because you don't realize the way that you react to certain situations until you actually see it on television. For myself, having seen a few clips from 'Miami Social' I would say that I've actually completely taken a different view of my marriage. I was able to see certain things in our relationship that I wasn't able to see when I was entrenched in the relationship. So filming it was kind of - I filmed while I was in the process of a divorce so it was definitely therapeutic in a way."
Asked if they would want to be anywhere else but Miami and both Campins and Hill were not shy about their love for the Florida party spot. "To be honest," Hill said, "there's no place I'd rather be than in Miami. I mean we've got it all here." Campins said she hasn't comes across a city yet that compares. "I travel all over the country for work and every time I come here I still get goose bumps when I go over the Miami Beach bridge. I just love the city. I was born and raised here and there's no place like it."
Both cast members are aware that "Miami Social" will be compared to MTV's hugely popular "The Hills" but they think their show will fill a different void for viewers. "I don't see any other show out there that has people in their 30s that are successful and that are in a city like Miami," Campins said. "I guess Hardy mentioned they play just as hard as they work. And so I think that this will fill the void for those people looking for another guilty pleasure aside from 'The Hills.'"
Campins said that another thing viewers will get from "Miami Social" is that there's more to the city than just the beach going during the day and partying at night. "People think that we're actually quite lazy down here because of the weather but I think they'll actually see for the first time in Miami will be showcased in a different light that we actually do work hard... you can work hard during the day and then there's always something to do here at night which is where Hardy comes in."
Hill, who is the President and CEO of the Hill Hospitality Group specializing in Miami nightlife, loves showing off the grandiose qualities of Miami in his line of work. "It's essentially a gateway to Latin America. It's vivacious, culturally diverse melting pot down here. It's got all types of different people, all types of different income levels. And the backdrop is absolutely spectacular. It's the American Riviera. So I think that when you put all those things together it's just got so many unique characteristics that differ it from the other cities that you had mentioned. Everyone has cultural diversity but the backdrop, the people... it's just really is a different type of energy down here."
"Miami Social" premieres tonight at 10:00/9:00c on Bravo.