Bravo’s “NYC Prep” is Real Gossip Girl Featuring Snotty Hotties and Loads of Drama


prepWhen the latest installment of “Real Housewives” finishes on June 23, Bravo will give us another guilty pleasure to get us through the summer months: NYC Prep. Promoted as a real-life Gossip Girl, from the preview of the show it’s more like Lifestyles of New York’s rich and bratty. “Prep” yourself for the latest drama-fueled NYC cast yet.

“NYC Prep,” which premieres on Bravo June 23, follows five students from prestigious private schools and one from an elite public high school as they lead their fabulous, and underage, lives while trying to edge each other out in the social standings. “I don’t want to apologize for having money!” Camille Hughes, 16, a junior at Nightingale-Bamford School, says in the premiere. “It’s good.” Hughes is the overachiever of the group and hopes to earn a perfect score on her SATs and get into Harvard. Sound like Blair Waldorf?  Peter “PC” Peterson, 19, the grandson of billionaire investor Pete Peterson, who just graduated from Dwight must have read the Chuck Bass handbook because he’s a spitting image of the Gossip Girl character with perfectly tailored suits and an attitude to match. Peterson dreams of an acting career, which is why he signed up for the show. “I did reality TV because I want to be an actor, it seemed like good practice. This isn’t reality, it’s a docudrama, you can’t say ‘staged,’ but they wanted me to be like Sybil and have different personalities all the time.” Appearing on a public radio show on Long Island last weekend, PC made sure to distance himself from other Bravo reality stars, including the Real Housewives of New York, whom he called “trashy pieces of sh-t who are not in real society at all.”

nyc-prep-groupThe other cast members are also pigeonholed into a Gossip Girl character: Jessie Leavitt, 17, a senior at Dwight and aspiring fashionista (Jenny Humphrey) brags, “I’ve had a personal sales associate at Barneys since I was 13.” Kelli Tomashoff, 17, a junior at Birch Wathen Lenox, lives on the Upper East Side with her brother while her parents spend all their time in the Hamptons (Serena van der Woodsen) and claims she never does homework. Sebastian Oppenheim, 16, is a sophomore at the Ross School in East Hampton, who brags: “Some girls like it if you’re an ass- – – -.” Taylor DiGiovanni, 15, a student at Stuyvesant HS, is the token public-school kid who hopes to join the Upper East Side scene and one day landing a rich husband. “I’m not going to take boy advice from my mom,” she says. “She’s divorced and doesn’t have a boyfriend.”

nyc-prep-preview_0Parents and alumnae of the Nightingale-Bamford School were sent an e-mail recently from Head of School Dorothy Hutcheson addressing the publicity onslaught that will come from the Bravo reality show. Camille, who is a student at the all-girls’ school, will likely receive a lot of press so Dorothy A. Hutcheson, Head of School at Nightingale-Bamford sent an angry letter to parents, assuring them that junior Camille Hughes’ “decision to participate in the show was made by the student and her parents without consulting Nightingale’s administrators.”

The decision to participate in the show was made by the student and her parents without consulting Nightingale’s administrators. We counsel our girls to avoid such exposure, knowing that the best intentions are usually subsumed by a media machine that too often simplifies the many facets of a Nightingale education into a shallow and stereotypical view of independent schools. (As with most series of this genre, the show is “reality” in name only.) Ultimately, though, these decisions reside with the families themselves. Our goal at Nightingale has always been to help each of our girls find her unique voice; it us up to each of them to determine how and when to use that voice.

nyc-prep-600x310Camille is the only student on the show from Nightingale and comes off as a role model her school could be proud of. While other kids are shown out partying, she often stays home discussing her SATs and her goal of attending Harvard. Nonetheless, the principal gripes in her letter, obtained by The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog, that “the show presents a skewed version of our world.” The show does not name the school, but Hutcheson said an “undue level of attention from the press and from people at large” prompted her to send the letter.

New Yorkers, it’s going to be one steamy summer.  Xoxo.

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