Bubbly, bubble bath loving Amy Poliakoff is one of the stars of Bravo‘s newest show Gallery Girls. Though she appreciates a great night out on the town, don’t underestimate her hustle. Recently I spoke to Amy about her career, her relationships with the other Gallery Girls, and bringing Bravo to a new generation of fans.
TBB: Hello Amy. What inspired you to pursue a career in Art and Art History?
AP: Paula Harper, the first feminist art critic, recently passed. As my professor, she sparked the fire that fueled me to follow my passion for the arts. She was a creative soul who captivated her students the minute they walked into her class. She had a way about her that didn’t just dictate why we should like art or why a movement is a certain way. She was one of the few people whose passion expressed how she loved art, allowing her explanations to be weaved with the stories or the artists and cultural time periods. She created a contextual world that surrounded all her students and immersed them in the creativity of self-expression. Sadly, her narratives will never be seen again, but will live on through her students. It was Professor Harper who also led me to study abroad in Rome, an experience that provided me with introspection into the period of Renaissance Art, which still inspires contemporary artists today. Living in Italy fostered my creativity through its cultural immortality.
TBB: You came to New York City to further your career, but you are originally from Florida. What are you able to do here in the art world that you can’t do elsewhere?
AP: I think the galleries opening in Manhattan have some of the best dealers in the business and New York is the center of art world. There’s a culture here you can’t find in many cities, the museums carry international expeditions, there’s a diversity you can’t find anywhere else.
TBB: I’ve seen you referred to as a “serial intern”. How long does it usually take someone in your field to secure a salaried position?
AP: It actually depends on the person and the timing. Someone could spend a month to years as an intern. The gallery business is so cutthroat. Sometimes there’s just no space and you have to wait for an opening. It also depends on the financial markets. There’s no single factor.
TBB: I’ve also read that, despite your impressive resume, your taste in art often doesn’t agree with those of the people you have worked for. Is having your own opinion frowned upon in the art world?
AP: It’s most important to have a hard work ethic and be open to others’ opinions while maintaining your own. Having your own opinion makes you unique but being humble is even better.
TBB: What lead you to Bravo and Gallery Girls?
AP: My best friend knew the casting director. They called me because they thought I’d be a good fit.
TBB: How many of the girls did you know before the show and has it changed your relationships with them?
AP: I knew one of the girls before the show and it changed our relationship, a lot.
TBB: Are you referring to Liz (Margulies)?
AP: Yes, as you probably have seen already.
TBB: Is there anyone who you are particularly close with since filming?
AP: I think all the cast members are very strong women and I respect them all. I do however think very highly of Angela (Pham). I think her spirit and personality are so fun! I think she is very rational. I also have a mutual respectful friendship building with Maggie (Schaffer) as our relationship changes as the show progresses.
TBB: You have been very up front that your father supports you so that you can intern and enjoy Manhattan nightlife. Are you worried that people perceive you as spoiled?
AP: I think that whether or not you have financial support or backing says nothing about your work ethic. Never be ashamed of your background. NY is a tough city to make it in and it helps to have family support. I’m fortunate. But I think it’s important for people to realize that having that financial support when you first come to the city doesn’t mean you won’t some day make it on your own. I’m very young, but I am trying to stand on my own two feet. I currently have a job where I earn an income to support myself. I’ve been very lucky to have additional support and for that I am grateful.
TBB: Right now you are the youngest cast on the channel, do you think you are bringing younger viewers to the Bravo Network?
AP: I do. My brother is at Duke and when he made his cameo he said that the entire university was watching. I’ve gotten a lot of comments from the students. I like that I’m exposing college students to new career options. The show is also a good window for them to see what it’s like trying to making it after college.
TBB: What was most difficult for you when filming Gallery Girls?
AP: Struggling with being myself and what the viewers perceive and the conflicts with the other cast members…and giving up control. You always worry about your own self image.
TBB: And the best part of filming was?
AP: In the last episodes you will see us in Miami. Filming there was a great opportunity! Like New York, it offers an international outlet for the art world, and it’s where I’m from!
TBB: How do you think the show will forward your career?
AP: I think the show is a platform that allows my voice to be heard. Being on a show like Gallery Girls makes people curious about you and that curiosity welcomes opportunities.
TBB: Thank you for talking with me today. I have one more question, what kind of bubble bath do you use? I can NEVER get my bubbles that full and frothy.
AP: (laughs) A little bit of shampoo in the water makes extra bubbles!
Tune into Gallery Girls on Mondays at 10/9 Central on Bravo.
Follow Amy Poliakoff on Twitter @Amypnyc