Sex And The Beach
By Gregory Miller
Miami Social is Bravo's 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 show's 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 can't stand each other.
Out: Hey guys, how are you?
Michael Cohen: I'm okay, a little nervous this morning. Tonight is our red carpet thing here. You know, like our premiere. Usually I'm on the other side. I'm 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 it'd 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. I'm originally from New York and I think that people have this notion that Miami is just a bunch of partying fools when in fact, it's 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 I'd 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 I'm like, 'Honestly, I'm 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, we'd be so interested.' I sat down and they talked to me for about forty-five minutes or an hour. I didn't know it would be so long, [my friend's] was only like fifteen minutes. I got a call three months after that from [the producers], asking me if I'd like to be on the show. That's really how it happened -- I didn't 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 we're 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 wasn't like -- it's 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. It's a phenomenal town. It's sexy, it's vibrant, it's colorful. The people are very laid back -- they're very nice. It's a lot calmer than New York where the people are very strong and they're very cautious about who they meet -- in complete competition. You really have to overdress so that it's almost cheesy to look good. It's kind of fake. And Miami is more of a real hometown. When you come here it's 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, it's like the American Riviera. It's a city on top of the water. It's gorgeous. It is a glamorous city. It's sunny, it has beautiful weather. There's something sexy about Miami -- whether it's the smell in the air, whether it's the people, whether we don't dress as much as other cities may. You know, you can't help but have this perpetual kind of tan here because you're in the sun all the time. But it's definitely a lively city to live in. I love Miami.
What's the gay scene like in Miami?
MC: There isn't really a 'gay scene' in Miami, to be honest. Today, and especially in Miami, it's all one big mix. It's all across the line. In Miami, there are what, three gay bars here? There's Twist, there's Score, and there's Halo. For a big city like this to just have three gay bars -- I think it says a lot. Like where I go, we don't really think ' my friends and me -- this place is gay or this place is straight. It's just are you going to a cool place tonight. And I think that's the difference. All my straight friends, all my gay friends, and all the ones that say they're bi [Laughs] -- we're all one big mix.
AS: I don't technically go to the gay events, so I don't hang out in the gay circle. All the gays know who I am, but they're so afraid to talk to me. I'm a really friendly guy, but I don't know, for some reason they're afraid of me. I'm always in the press in Miami. I guess they're a little insecure. It's weird because in Miami, it's almost like everybody is bisexual. And the hottest guys you meet are in a straight venue. And they're beautiful, they're sexy, whether they're closeted, they'll come out at four o'clock in the morning when no one's around. I mean, in Miami, there's no label to the gay scene. It's 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 doesn't mean anything. So the entire town is pretty much sexually interested in both men and women. It's fascinating.