by Lia Armistead
VH1’S “Hot GRITS,” Girls Raised in the South, premiered last Wednesday, showing the world Valdosta’s southern hospitality and what (some) people here are all about.
The show follows a group of born-and-raised South Georgia girls – Emily, Bear, Rachet, Sarah, Hailey, Jenna and Jennifer – as they go about their business in Valdosta.
“The South is more than the ‘typical redneck’ stereotype,” Chelsey Partain, aka “Rachet,” said. “You have your southern belles, your rowdy country girls, but more than anything the ‘South’ has class and charm.”
Comments on VH1’s website under the first episode reveal that while some think the show is great entertainment, others feel the show damages Valdosta’s image.
“This show makes me feel ashamed to say I live in Valdosta,” user Gingersaur said. “They must have hunted down the most ignorant women in South GA for this show.”
“Hot GRITS” was filmed in many different places in Valdosta, according to Jay Hamelet, a production assistant and senior education major at VSU.
These places included Lucky’s Bar, an area around Moody Air Force Base, The Bistro, Friends Bar and Grill, and Austin’s; however, most scenes were shot at the girls’ houses.
“America has their view of the South,” Hamlet said. “This may justify their view or this may change their view.”
The producers chose Valdosta as the base for “Hot GRITS” because its location is the southernmost point in Georgia, but mostly because of the bond between the girls.
“We have a bond that is indescribable,” Partain said. “Filming with (the girls) every single day was by far the best part.”
The network filmed the friends for two and a half months during the summer of 2014.
“The only time we were not filming was when we were sleeping,” Partain said. “We worked our asses off for a great show and got little sleep doing it.”
“Hot GRITS” airs every Wednesday at 8 p.m. on VH1.