New Reality Show Features Trans Women

By Jamilah King Feb 18, 2010

Word on the street is that there’s a new reality show coming to town. The show, Boss Ladies, will feature a cast of five trans women of color based in Atlanta, competing to open their own fashion boutique in Los Angeles. According to a press release:

In the show, the "boss ladies" must navigate the personal and professional obstacles of the fashion and entertainment industries as they strive for success under the guidance of fashion designers and former reality TV stars. Viewers will follow the women on their dynamic entrepreneurial journey from conception to completion — from brainstorming for their line in Atlanta, moving to Los Angeles, and finally the much-anticipated opening of a clothing boutique on Rodeo Drive. Along the way, the ladies will face trials, tribulations and drama, in a reality TV adventure that is an exciting hybrid of "The Real Housewives" and "Project Runway."

I want to be excited about this show. I really do. But the problem with reality TV is that it’s seldom ever based on reality. Don’t get me wrong: sometimes it’s good to watch an hour’s worth of somebody else’s drama to make you feel better about life (I tend to prefer to the Kadashians…). And in this case with the trans community, it’s important — even on a very basic linguistic level — to introduce counter-narratives. But The Real Housewives comparison doesn’t read to me as "groundbreaking." It’s spectacle. So is the show a solid step forward? Of a good faith effort cloaked in essentialist tendencies? Guess we’ll have to watch and see. No word yet on when the show is set to debut.