Bravo ‘Newlyweds’ Alaska and Kim Dish on Reality TV Instafame

While it was a bit more subdued than usual at Michael’s today with some of the glitterati off to Cannes and a few others up in Greenwich watching Prince Harry play polo (our invite must have gotten lost in the mail),  the usual mix of editors (Anne Fulenwider, Lucy Danziger) and media moguls (David Zinczenko) were in full power lunch mode celebrating each other’s successes and hatching their next big deals.

I was joined today by Kimberly Cherebin and Alaska Gedeon, stars of the new docu-series Newlyweds: The First Year, which premiered May 6 on Bravo. Also in attendance were the network’s PR marvels, Jennifer Geisser and Julia Nietsch, as well as the happy couple’s manager, Camille White Stern. The show is a hit, having snagged over 1 million viewers for the first episode. With Kimberly stuck in traffic en route from the studio where she was styling Justine Skye‘s new video, I got a chance to chat with Alaska first. I asked him what in the world would possess anyone to allow cameras to follow them during their entire first year of marriage. He told me he’d been absolutely opposed to doing the show at first, and Kimberly asked him “about six or seven times” before he finally agreed. Looking back on the experience (shooting wrapped earlier this year), Alaska said having the details of your daily life play out for all the world to see “forces you to raise the standard of who you are: how you treat others and especially how you treat your wife.” He then added brightly, “It’s like a mirror and like therapy.” So did he like everything he saw reflected back at him? “I just don’t think I’m that big of a jerk,” he said with a laugh. (After meeting him, I’m inclined to agree). “My sarcasm doesn’t always read well on camera.” He also told me that it wasn’t until after he viewed the scene where he and Kimberly discussed their bi-coastal marriage that he realized just how “heartbroken” Kimberly was at the prospect of their separation.

Alaska Gedeon, Kimberly Cherebin and Diane Clehane

When Kimberly arrived, I asked her why she was so enthusiastic about  doing the show, and she admitted that she didn’t exactly know what she was getting into. “At first, I thought it was one of those David Tutera>-type ‘planning your wedding’ shows, and I thought that would be fun, but it was nothing like that,” she explained. Once she did understand that she and Alaska would be agreeing to 10-hour shooting days over the course of year and be required to use their ‘Couples’ Cam’ on each other to capture intimate moments (not that kind, silly), she remained undaunted. “It seems like when you see marriages on TV you either see these fairy tales or something pretty terrible. We have really ‘extreme’ careers, and this was a chance to show how you balance it all.” 

The show’s use of the ‘Couple Cam’ when the production crew isn’t there gave Kimberly and Alaska some feeling of control during production. At one point early in filming when they got “into a slight scuffle,” they turned them off and dealt with real life off camera. “I was glad we could do that,” recalls Alaska. Still, he maintains, most of the important milestones of the couples’ first year were captured on camera for the show.

>Unlike a lot of reality show wannabes Kimberly, 29, and Alaska, 30,  are already well established in successful, high-profile careers. He runs the talent development agency A&R (Artist and Repertoire) and helms Blak Book Management which represents stars like Grammy winner Bridget Kelly. Kim is a stylist whose clients include Mary J. Blige (“She has exquisite taste”) and Usher. Both of them told me they have no desire to have a career in front of the camera, which seems odd for two people who signed on to be part of Bravo’s highly watched fishbowl of a network. “[Being on the show] has a value in that it raises our profiles for what we do,” explained Alaska. It seems he was bitten by the showbiz bug a few years back when he was modeling, a little fact he neglected to tell Kimberly about. She discovered he’d been a model when she saw him on television in an ad for Adidas. “I thought, ‘He’s a liar!'” Kimberly said with a laugh. Alaska chimed in and told me, “She also thought I was gay!”

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