Miami Social is Bravos latest docu-reality series to put a group of vaguely acquainted people under the microscope for our viewing (and judging) enjoyment. The series follows a group of thirty-somethings as they live their lives in the glamorous go-go-go amtmosphere of South beach. Out caught up with the shows two gay cast mates, Michael Cohen and Ariel Stein, to chat about how they were cast, gay life in Mimai, and, oh yeah, why they cant stand each other.
Out: Hey guys, how are you?
Michael Cohen: Im okay, a little nervous this morning. Tonight is our red carpet thing here. You know, like our premiere. Usually Im on the other side. Im usually the one interviewing people.
So how did Bravo find you guys? Like how did the whole thing start?
MC: Well, I knew about it because I was in the entertainment business -- I was working at Us Weekly as their Miami editor. I knew that there was a casting and I thought, Wow, I should really find out more about this. So I called the production company and I said I wanted to be on the show. I thought if I did the show itd be like a new opportunity in life, both professionally and personally. So why not go for it, you know, if it was right there? And I thought about how Miami has changed a lot as a city. Im originally from New York and I think that people have this notion that Miami is just a bunch of partying fools when in fact, its really not like that. There are so many people here that actually work and are movers and shakers -- that kind of stuff. And I thought Id be a good representation of making Miami a little more legit than it has been in the past.
Ariel Stein: A best friend of mine asked me to kindly take him to this casting. So I decided to take him, and I guess while he was in his interview, I was kind of sitting there, and he started talking about things and other people in the interview, so I kept on stopping him on camera, saying, Hey, watch what you say about those people. They just kept on staring at me, and then they asked me, So are you going to interview? And Im like, Honestly, Im really hung over from the night before. I looked horrible, I was wearing a fedora and suspenders and a pink shirt because I came from my apartment, it was like, next door. I looked great, though. I looked phenomenal. So they said, Please come to casting, wed be so interested. I sat down and they talked to me for about forty-five minutes or an hour. I didnt know it would be so long, [my friends] was only like fifteen minutes. I got a call three months after that from [the producers], asking me if Id like to be on the show. Thats really how it happened -- I didnt look for a reality show or anything. It just kind of came to life. And it was very exciting -- a very exciting experience.
Were you guys friends beforehand?
MC: I knew Katrina since 2004. I wrote her wedding story to Ben for In Touch Weekly. And I knew everybody [else] because were all kind of in this same crowd of people who go to events and if anything happens, you see their pictures in magazines. So we all knew each other. I would definitely say our friendships have gotten better since the show. Obviously we hung out more for the show. It wasnt like -- its not seven strangers, put it that way. We all know each other.
Is South Beach really this glamorous as it looks on TV?
AS: South Beach really is glamorous. It really is. Its a phenomenal town. Its sexy, its vibrant, its colorful. The people are very laid back -- theyre very nice. Its a lot calmer than New York where the people are very strong and theyre very cautious about who they meet -- in complete competition. You really have to overdress so that its almost cheesy to look good. Its kind of fake. And Miami is more of a real hometown. When you come here its very easy to adapt and you fit in right away. But it is so glamorous.
MC: I kind of think the city, Miami, is like the eighth friend on the show. For me, its like the American Riviera. Its a city on top of the water. Its gorgeous. It is a glamorous city. Its sunny, it has beautiful weather. Theres something sexy about Miami -- whether its the smell in the air, whether its the people, whether we dont dress as much as other cities may. You know, you cant help but have this perpetual kind of tan here because youre in the sun all the time. But its definitely a lively city to live in. I love Miami.
Whats the gay scene like in Miami?
MC: There isnt really a gay scene in Miami, to be honest. Today, and especially in Miami, its all one big mix. Its all across the line. In Miami, there are what, three gay bars here? Theres Twist, theres Score, and theres Halo. For a big city like this to just have three gay bars -- I think it says a lot. Like where I go, we dont really think my friends and me -- this place is gay or this place is straight. Its just are you going to a cool place tonight. And I think thats the difference. All my straight friends, all my gay friends, and all the ones that say theyre bi [Laughs] -- were all one big mix.
AS: I dont technically go to the gay events, so I dont hang out in the gay circle. All the gays know who I am, but theyre so afraid to talk to me. Im a really friendly guy, but I dont know, for some reason theyre afraid of me. Im always in the press in Miami. I guess theyre a little insecure. Its weird because in Miami, its almost like everybody is bisexual. And the hottest guys you meet are in a straight venue. And theyre beautiful, theyre sexy, whether theyre closeted, theyll come out at four oclock in the morning when no ones around. I mean, in Miami, theres no label to the gay scene. Its so widely accepted. But there are gays who just hang out with gays in gay bars, and then there are people who are just so comfortable and free with their sexuality, they can go to straight bars and make out with a guy in front of a million people and it doesnt mean anything. So the entire town is pretty much sexually interested in both men and women. Its fascinating.
Ariel, this isnt verbatim, but in the opening of the pilot, you say something along the lines of, Im not straight, Im not gay, Im a rockstar. Whats that about?
MC: When I saw it, I was thinking, Are you kidding? I couldnt believe it.
AS: Its not about being gay or straight. Ive worked in fashion so much, I really enjoy working with girls. Theyre such an art -- the female body is beautiful. But at the same time, its disgusting. Like its something that I dont find attractive, but just to look at, its beautiful. The way they move, the way they handle themselves, the way they seduce. Its just glamorous. And like I said, I dont really hang out in the gay scene. I am gay, but its like a degree of gay. I just love having fun, and if youre hot... Ill kiss a girl in a nightclub, Ill make out with them drunk. Not in private though. In private, its always with a guy. I just enjoy kissing beautiful things. I cant see why a gay guy wouldnt want to kiss a Victoria Secret supermodel. You know, not that Im kissing Victoria Secret supermodels, but Im kissing pretty much close to that. You know, I think its just fun. Simply an act of interest. But, yeah, I am gay. Im desperately seeking the man of my life. Im single just waiting for that perfect somebody.
From what youve seen, do you feel youre going to be portrayed fairly on the show?
MC: From the clips Ive seen, I feel that I was myself. There were times we were filming and there was no getting ready to shoot a scene or anything like that. We went through our daily lives. There were times where Id show up and I didnt shave or I didnt get a haircut. It was like, lets roll. Its pretty raw. The fact that I am single and I kind of put it out there. I had a crush on my trainer. I feel like the loser who gets a crush on their trainer [Laughs].
AS: I have seen some parts of the show, and I think my character is a little bit not really who I am. I mean -- it is who I am. I am who I am -- I dont change for anybody. I have a lot of respect and Im a very giving person. I dont hurt peoples feelings. I may say things on the show, but they dont see what happens after. You know, Im really nice to people that arent fortunately good looking. Sometimes theres a not so good looking person at the table and nobodys paying attention to him -- the town can be a little superficial. And I saw a couple of the clips where, for instance, [I said,] Get the fat girl out of my table. There was a publicist once who I was working with who had something against me when I was at a fashion show. She didnt treat me with respect, and I was kind of shocked. I said, What are you doing, why are you doing this. So she ended up showing up to my event. She sat down at my table with a bunch of people and started making herself drinks. And I had people, my cast members, who wanted to go to the table. I didnt want to go to the table because I was like, what is she doing at my table? So I asked my assistant to clear her out. Not clear her out, but say, Excuse me, this table is reserved, can you please move. So when I said, Get the fat girl out of my table, I didnt know her name, but I just knew that she was disrespectful. I was always so nice to her. I was so nice to her -- I even gave her front row when I was producing shows. Im nice to people that are evil to me. I like to do that, I love to kill them. If theyre going to be mean to me, Ill just be so nice to them. They just feel so weird when Im nice to them.
Finally, whats up with the dynamic between the two of you?
AS: I never knew Michael really well. He made a comment, like, Oh, hes so bad at what he does, like, hes so unprofessional. Ive never lost a job in my life in eleven years. Im the creator and own the worldwide patent to the wearable towel, which is the new summer Snuggie, which is being unleashed throughout the entire world right now. We just started our national business. For a 26 year old to do something like that means hes got a brain. It means hes very smart. I put together my own fashion label and now Im working on jewelry. I have produced shows for great designers and have always given the best work Ive ever done. He didnt really know me to say, Oh, hes so unprofessional at what he does. He was attending my events having no idea I was producing them. So he said some comments to me sometimes that really hurt my feelings. Whatever Michael Cohen has against me, thats fine. He just does not mesh with me. I dont know if hes jealous -- if hes envious of me -- but Im a hard worker, a nice person. I think maybe he wishes he could have my life at 26. I think its a whole identity issue with him. Im unprofessional? But hes lost every single job. Ive never been fired. Whatever Michael Cohen has with me, he has with me, but I really dont care. I would never really even hang out with him anyway.
MC: I feel like Ariel is my little gay brother that says bad things at the dinner table. He says things sometimes and Im just like... You know what it is? I dont like dislike Ariel, I dont dislike him for sure. I just dont like the things he says sometimes. I feel that he has his talent, he just hasnt harnessed it the right way yet, and I think that comes with maturity. You know, hes still trying to prove himself and whatnot. Theres a difference between us. I gave him advice once to tone it down a little bit and stop trying to prove himself. And he just says some ridiculous things sometimes. Its not that I dislike him, its just that I make fun of him more in that big brother kind of way. Big sister kind of way whatever [laughs].
Miami Social premieres on Bravo on July 14 at 10 PM EST.