Tonight is the season premiere of the highly anticipated series from Bravo Real girlfriends in Paris. The show’s title suggests it will be a prequel to something like Real Housewives Of Paris, but it actually resembles it Emily in Paris, the Netflix series, in sound and format. Bravo fans will no doubt draw comparisons to the station’s discontinued cult hit Gallery girlswhich followed a collection of ambitious young women trying to break into the New York City art scene. Real girlfriends in Paris is about a group of six gorgeous and brave expats in their 20s who all want to make the City of Light their permanent home. When these Americans aren’t pursuing their various careers, their focus is on dating and finding love in one of the most romantic cities in the world.
After living in Paris for a decade, Anya Firestone serves as a mother of sorts, offering advice, hosting friendship gifts and even fixing a pesky fridge when maintenance refuses to come. Although licensed by the French government to give guided tours of all historical and cultural sites in Paris, Firestone’s passionate project remains Masion Firestone, her company which, in her own words, is “out of the box and out of -the-box curated”. The boutique experiences poised to reinforce brand identity through cultural engagement.”
Though she’s adept at mentoring fellow cast members Margaux Lignel, Kacey Margo, Adja Toure and Victoria Zito, Firestone’s bond with New Yorker Emily Gorelik is undoubtedly special. The youngest of the friends, Gorelik struggles to find her own way in Paris while fulfilling her professional duties for her mother’s interior design business. As she embarks on a prestigious internship in the fashion industry (which she has no experience for!), Gorelik will need her friend more than ever!
Via Zoom, Decider spoke to Firestone and Gorelik about the upcoming season and when exactly they first fell in love with Paris.
DECISION MAKER: You two are the first friends we meet in the premiere episode! How would you both describe your friendship?
EMILY GORELIK: Very simple. two words
Anya Flintstone: Mom. bebe
EG: I’m the Bebe. Anya is the oldest…
AF: I told her don’t say elders, say elders, that implies more wisdom. [laughs] I was in Paris once when Emily was old. I have experience when it comes to living, dating and finding out what you will be doing in Paris that I always share with Emily.
EG: I look up to Anya. You’ll see all the girls look up to Anya throughout the season. I aspire to be an American living successfully in Paris like Anya does. She guides us all. It guides me particularly because it can relate to being 22 and not knowing what you want to do in Paris or how to manage relationships and friendships and career choices and visas and so on.
AF: Also, I feel young! She tells me what the kids are doing on TikTok.
They’re both New Yorkers. When did you fall in love with Paris?
AF: I was 10 years old and the first vacation I took with my single mother was in Paris. I was always very attached to my mother and still am. I always sat next to her at all bat mitzvahs, not with the children. When we went to Paris I had no qualms about approaching people even though I didn’t speak French. I felt so connected to the city that I knew I wanted to come back here.
I was born and raised in Hell’s Kitchen, so I’m a true New Yorker. For me New York is like a brother who is your family, your blood, you love him but sometimes he sucks and you need to get away from him. Paris is like a lover you meet one day and you say, “Oh Mon Dieu.” You know you don’t need to see other cities. Paris is the city that speaks to my soul.
After that first trip, I kept finding ways to return to Paris. When I was 15 I convinced the principal of my orthodox Jewish school that the art history journey had to go to Paris. Since then, the school has gone on a cultural trip to Paris every year.
And now about you, Emily?
EG: For me, similarly, I was born and raised in the New York City and New Jersey area. My parents immigrated from the Soviet Union. Growing up, our mindset was always that America is the only place for our family. In America we did it. We could come from nothing, and it’s all thanks to this country that we have something.
In my opinion, exploring anything else at all was never an option. It was New York or nothing. When I started college, I went to NYU because I didn’t think I had a choice. However, I always had the feeling that something was missing. The summer after my freshman year at NYU, I bought a solo one-way ticket to France. I stayed with a mutual friend I met at NYU, and I soon knew I wasn’t going back to New York.
I called my mom and announced firmly, “Mom, I’m not going back to school. I’m not going back to New York. I’ll fix things and stay in Paris.” In Paris, I finally realized what was missing. Paris is the place where I was able to learn so much about myself in a way that I could never have done in New York.
Can you already reveal a bit about what the audience will see on your travels this season?
AF: I am the eldest of the girls. I’m beyond dating and I’m engaged [to Matthieu Rasset]. I’m in the next phase of life. I’m thinking about my wedding while trying to build my cultural business. You’ll see me reaching out to the biggest fashion houses, art galleries and museums in Paris, trying to promote my Mason Firestone concept in a city that so often says no. I’m really looking forward to people seeing what I’m going through to build my business.
EG: I’m on a very wild journey to find the right career and build relationships. You will see that I get the opportunity to do an internship at a big fashion design company here in Paris. I’ve never had anything to do with fashion, so I’m completely clueless. You’ll see me stumble a bit and run to the other girls for help and advice. At the same time, I struggle with my responsibility for my mother’s interior design business. You will see how I manage to reconcile starting one career and working in the other. I’m also getting closer to finding out who I am and what I actually want to do here in Paris. Of course you will also see some of my dating failures and successes. [laughs] But yeah, it’s all good stuff.
D: Is there another Bravo show that you’re currently keeping up with?
AF: Well, not really. I’ve worked with Ryan Serhant, but I’ve never seen him Million dollar listing New York!
EG: I’ll be honest, we’re both out of the Bravo loop just because we live in France and it’s harder to watch here. That being said, I’ve seen a few seasons of Real housewives from New Jersey and loved it. I’m a proud Jersey girl, I can relate to them!
Real Girlfriends In Paris airs Mondays at 9/8c on Bravo.