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The Sopranos, Jersey Shore, Housewives of New Jersey, and Cake Boss are not the only hit TV shows originating in the state of New Jersey.
Style Network’s Jerseylicious is a reality show about The Gatsby Salon, an up and coming hair salon in Green Brook, New Jersey.
Christy Pereira and her mother, Gayle Giacomo, who own and run the salon, completely renovated the place and changed the salon’s location.
After a successful first season, the girls of Jerseylicious continue to entertain fans through their dramatic adventures on camera while cutting, styling and coloring The Gatsby into a premiere business.
TheCelebrityCafe.com was able to speak to Christy, the manager of the Gatsby, as she and the cast prepare for the filming of season two. She spoke about what it’s like being a part of a reality TV show, being a Jersey girl herself, and her expectations for the new season.
TCC: Why did you and your mother agree to participate in a reality TV show?
CP: We thought it would be a good experience and good for our business. We really didn’t know what to expect, but we figured we’d give it a shot. Not a lot of people get to have that opportunity and so that’s what we did and we decided to give it a go and here we are.
TCC: The Gatsby was originally your stepfather, Danny’s business. What you think he would say about all of this?
CP: He would be in his glory. He loved being in the spotlight. He used to do infomercials and 30-second commercials on cable TV and hair shows. He would always be on TV selling products. His dream was to have his products sold on QVC. This was before the Internet was big, so I think that if he was alive during the time of the Internet and reality TV he would be the first person to want to get involved in it.
TCC: Is there any significant meaning behind the salon’s name “Gatsby?”
CP: My step-father loved that era of time and loved the hairstyles that went along with "The Great Gatsby" and the roaring 20s. He just named the salon Gatsby after the era of hair designs that he loved.
TCC: Can you tell me a little about your background? What did you do before the show began?
CP: Well basically I’ve been working at the salon since I graduated high school and I’m 31 now. I’ve been working here full time since I was 18. I did go to school for both hair and skin care but I decided that neither one was right for me so that’s when I decided to help my mom manage the salon and work the floor and manage the phone and do all those things. I got married two and a half years ago and we are expecting our first child in August.
CP: Thank you.
TCC: What’s it like having cameras around all the time?
CP: In the beginning it was overwhelming and frustrating. I mean, you get used to it really quick and eventually you kind of don’t realize they’re there.
TCC: Do you think people change when the camera is in front of them?
CP: I think that some people have a tendency to change. You have to spice things up a little bit for TV because you have to keep people interested, but I made sure I was very true to who I was in season one. I didn’t want to portray myself as something that I wasn’t. So as far as everyone else goes, I think that everybody does what they want to do but I was very, very true to myself.
TCC: You seem to handle a lot of crisis on the show really well. What are your methods when dealing with disaster?
CP: Because it’s TV if something happens in the salon obviously you can see it because it's television and they have to have the cameras show it, but in real life we have a pretty smooth running business. We have about 40 operators and we are used to handling everybody. If there is a problem, my mother or myself or another assistant manager, we would handle the problem very discretely. We would take an employee in our office or take an employee off to the side. If it were something that had to do with a client we would do the same thing, extremely discretely away from the front desk and do whatever it takes to make the client happy. We do whatever it takes to make our employees happy too. We have a large staff that has been with us for 32 years. We really are like a family here.
TCC: How frequently do you film?
CP: We start filming season 2 on Monday and they will probably be here until late September. We film everyday but Wednesdays so we work full time in our salon and we film full time doing stuff for the show. We have a really busy schedule.
TCC: Why not Wednesdays?
CP: Oh, just because we have to have a day off and that’s the day they picked. No cameras on Wednesdays just to give everyone a break.
TCC: Do people recognize you around town or when you’re off camera?
CP: Yeah, they’re starting to. It’s kind of strange, I wouldn’t say all over the place, not as much as Tracey and Olivia because they definitely have a bigger role in the show, but people are definitely starting to recognize us and I’m sure by the end of season two people will be recognizing us even more.
TCC: I know the show has been referred to a “comedy docu-soap” and relies on the eccentric cast members for most of the drama and entertainment. What is the dynamic in the salon between cast members? Does what’s shown on TV accurately depict what really goes on?
CP: Well, you have to take into consideration that everything you see on TV a piece of it is real, but at the same time because it is television and we are filming I do think that the girls spice it up a little bit. The drama is a little bit more intense to make themselves more funny because on an every day basis would I allow people to come in here every day [and act like that]? Absolutely not. That wouldn’t be allowed, but for the sake of show obviously I cannot fire them. So as far as the employees that are on television a lot of it is real but it is entertainment. It is spiced up and hyped up a little to entertain people at home who are watching TV.
TCC: How do you think your show portrays people of New Jersey, females specifically?
CP: Personally I know that there are six females on the show. We’re all of different age groups. We’re all kind of doing different things in our life so the younger girls are portraying girls of New Jersey in a younger aspect, like dressing in going out clothes and doing that stuff. I hope people can oversee them and take a look at my mom and I. I’m in my 30s and my mom is in her 50s. I’m starting a family and starting a successful business. The girls portray everything great for the point they are in their lives, but I think my mom and I are a good example of what jersey girls are because we are at two different points in our lives and I think we portray the state fine.
TCC: What are your expectations for season 2?
CP: Well I hope it becomes a little bit more successful than even last season. It would be great if we got another season out of it. But also, like I said, we have a staff of 40 people and season one really didn’t show our full staff and what our salon really is like. We are a very, very fast paced, busy salon and they only showed the seven people that are on the show. My mom and I hope that season two gets expanded out a little bit and shows how busy the salon really is, how many operators we really have and more of the hustle and bustle of our every day life here.