Talking about bad, bad girls: Observations of a reality TV show casting call

A "flighter not a a fighter" survives The Bad Girls Club open casting call.

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Going down to the audition I was filled with anxiety. I have never been a ‘bad girl’ in the show’s sense of the word. I do like to have a good time, a little more than the average. But a lot of the time I spend my Friday nights going out to dinner with my mom or sitting on the couch with my pets and a Criminal Minds marathon (bottle of wine included).

I’m a flighter not a fighter. A wimp, some might say. In seventh grade a fellow female student punched me in the side of the head and I never fought back. Later in the day, the puncher made me take her picture so I could show my friends who hit me. I took the picture and just said she was a girl in my P.E. class.

Back to the present: On the day of the audition, I walked up to the Blue Dog Bistro in Centro Ybor, still feeling anxious. There were girls of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities on hand, all holding audition sheets.

Surprisingly, quite a few had toddlers in tow. I heard of a rumor of a fight earlier below on Seventh Avenue between two hopefuls. Cops were constantly lingering, the real not the rental kind.

Thoughts of seventh grade came to mind, so I retreated quickly to a safe place to get a little liquid courage before I braved the crowd. I grabbed a seat in the safe haven of Hamburger Mary’s and ordered a bloody mary. After a few sips, I spotted a couple of possible Bad Girls across the bar. Courage sunk in and I went to talk to them.

Alecia Overstreet, 22, of Odessa was done with her group audition and was relaxing over a double tall vodka drink and fried mac and cheese with friend and supporter Bianca Pittman, 22.

Unlike me, Overstreet was not confused as to why someone would want to be on the show. “ It seems so fun, ever since it first came out. You get to party for free and fight for free.”

Looking at this girl, I could never imagine her pulling someone’s hair as they talk shit about their momma’s momma. But when asked if she fought a lot, “I do,” she replied.

She is unemployed “because I got into a little bit of trouble.”

Overstreet, a Tampa Catholic graduate, wants to play the silent but deadly role. “I’m sneaky. I want to see what’s going on. …Then I’ll sneak in there and go for the kill.”

I finished my bloody mary and went outside to tackle the rest of the bad girls.

On the patio, I saw Julisa Abad waiting patiently for her group interview. “Abad, as in a bad bitch,” she stated proudly, is transgender. She hopes to be cast to spread acceptance throughout the reality show world. “Everyone needs to be a little more tolerant and (have) acceptance of the transgender community, and just know we are here, we do exist, and I want everyone to see what I go through on a daily basis. “

I felt a little partial toward Abad, compared to the other tramp-stamped and overly made-up girls.

She seemed to have a little more of a purpose for auditioning. I think the audience would also find her refreshing, not the typical Bad Girl in the least.

“And hopefully if I do get picked, by the time it’s over I have tolerance myself for people that aren’t as open-minded.”

To me, she seemed like a casting director's dream.

“I’m a Bad Girl in the aspect that I’m independent. Whatever I want, I’ll go get it. ... I’ll always stand up for what I believe in. Good or bad. So it can be a good thing, but it can be detrimental as well.“

Abad, who is unemployed as well, would love to see the show take place in diverse New York. “Then they can just leave me there.”

Thankfully, I made it through the casting without getting punched. Individually, all the girls seemed approachable and, for the most part, well-behaved. It’s up to the casting directors to get that perfect cocktail of crazy to get the ratings.

Overstreet and Abad were especially nice to me, but I was on their good side. If I had to see their bad, I’d probably, no definitely, run like hell.

click to enlarge Transgender Bad Girl hopeful Julia Abad is transgender. - Photo by Stephanie Powers
Photo by Stephanie Powers
Transgender Bad Girl hopeful Julia Abad is transgender.

  • Bad Girl hopeful Julia Abad is transgender and a welcome standout.

I had never watched the Bad Girls Club until I was assigned to cover the open casting call in Tampa, Wednesday, Oct. 26. Don’t get me wrong; I did not watch it because I am morally above it. My DVR is full of messy, guilty reality shows. (Much to my friends’ dismay I have been known to quote the Jersey Shore on occasion.) I just happened to have missed this one.

After watching it, I had immediate anxiety about interviewing anyone that considered being on this show. It's billed as a show to help bad girls deal with psychological and emotional issues by having them live in a house with girls with similar problems. There is no Dr. Drew, or some random lesser-known Oxygen channel version thereof, in sight. Occasionally, one of the girls nudges so hard at another that someone snaps and a fight ensues, but only the assaulter is asked to leave. Usually, there is an instigator who causes more than one girl to snap throughout the season.

Half of the girls sound like they have been smoking Marlboro reds since the womb. Most have bad tattoos and some have arrest records. They have drinking problems that make Lindsay Lohan look like Mother Theresa. Some aren’t as bad as others, but most can hold their own.

About The Author

Stephanie Powers

Freelance contributor Stephanie Powers started her media career as an Editorial Assistant long ago when the Tampa Bay Times was still called the St. Petersburg Times. After stints in Chicago and Los Angeles, where she studied improvisation at Second City Hollywood, she came back to Tampa and stayed put.She soon...
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