Casting Calls: BettyConfidential Goes Inside the World of Reality TV

Insider Barbara Barna Abel dishes on everything from breaking into the business to Fashion Week and Rachel Zoe.

Casting Calls: BettyConfidential Goes Inside the World of Reality TV

Insider Barbara Barna Abel dishes on everything from breaking into the business to Fashion Week and Rachel Zoe.

-Barbara Barna Abel

 Rachel Zoe and Rodger Berman

Hey Bettys! Have we got a treat for you! Today we’re introducing our new columnist, Barbara Barna Abel, who just happens to be President of a major New York casting and talent development firm, ABEL INTERMEDIA LLC, specializing in REALITY SHOWS … and there’s the chance she’s been looking for you. Barbara is only writing for BettyConfidential and she’s going to share insider show gossip and how to launch yourself into this world. You can ask her questions and she’ll answer via the comments below! BTW – make sure you see what shows are being cast now…

Barbara Says:

It’s Fashion Week in New York. I get excited about this not for the usual reasons but because it’s a goldmine for would-be TV hosts. No experience? No reel? No problem! Grab a video camera (not your phone) and a microphone and hit Lincoln Center and start interviewing all the amazing characters who inhabit the Fashion World and descend on NYC twice a year. Is this a guarantee you’ll be the next Oprah? Absolutely not. But it is a chance to grab the bull by the horn and create opportunity.

And don’t worry if you’re not in NYC. Does your city have a boat show? A car rally? A drunken St Patrick’s Day Parade? A Beauty Pageant? Wherever birds of a feather flock there are characters. Find them!

A few words of advice: Be fearless but be professional. Don’t listen to your friends when they say you’re fabulous. You’ll likely be pretty bad if not downright awful but that’s why we practice. Nobody learns from success. Watch your tape and study like a tennis pro reviews her swing. It’s not so much about the first question you ask but the second. The key to interviewing is listening. Is your follow up question clever/witty/smart?

Not surprisingly, I obsess about red carpet shows!

Speaking of Fashion Week (check out BettyConfidential’s coverage!), I was flipping through the February issue of Harpers Bazaar (with Nicole Kidman on the cover looking Tigress-y) and LOVED the interview with Mr. Rachel Zoe, Rodger Berman. He’s witty and candid and down to earth and no, he’s not gay. They’ve been together 20 years!! That speaks volumes. You may be thinking “how sweet.” I’m thinking, wow! Dysfunction and narcissism are rarely measured in decades. There’s a whole lot more to the talented but super self-absorbed gal we love on the Rachel Zoe project (currently in production).

La Zoe, heavy with child, gave birth to her first collection this season. Totally cute, priced in the bridge line range ($250 to $700), but not sure who could wear it besides an Olsen twin or their up and coming little sister, Lizzie.

Rachel Zoe

Casting Call: ABC’s WIPEOUT is currently casting for their next season. Go to  to apply and be sure to check out their other shows also casting including ROMANCE CRUISE which is looking for up to eight  dynamic single women between 30 and 45.

About Barbara Barna Abel:

Barbara Barna AbelBarbara Barna Abel is the President of ABEL INTERMEDIA LLC, a Casting and Talent Development firm specializing in non-fiction, alternative and reality programming, private coaching and personal branding across the media spectrum. Visit her at

Barbara has a track record for recognizing new and emerging talent, casting a wide net in her searches to include genres such as television, online media, print, comedy, animation, off-Broadway, food, fashion, interior design, sports, music and film. Among her finds: Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’s Fab Five, Clinton Kelly of What Not To Wear, Adam Richman of Man vs Food and comedian Beth Melewski in the upcoming Cash Cab Chicago.

Prior to launching her own firm, Barbara ran the Talent Development department at VH1. Among the many projects she was responsible for at VH1, Ms. Barna cast channel and show hosts, many unknown at the time, including Jeff Probst (Survivor/CBS) on Rock and Roll Jeopardy and Wayne Brady (The Wayne Brady Show/ABC) on Vinyl Justice. She also helped create The RuPaul Show and Sex, Lives and Videoclips with Candace Bushnell (while the author was still actively writing her acclaimed “Sex and the City” column for The New York Observer), and was an original talent executive on the VH1 Fashion Awards.

Ask Barbara a question below!

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0 thoughts on “Casting Calls: BettyConfidential Goes Inside the World of Reality TV

  1. Betty & Barbara! This is a great union. I love Barbara, I had the pleasure of meeting her once last year, and I’ve been a fan ever since! She’s truly gifted and is a long time veteran in her industry. What a great addition to Betty! I’m hooked already, cant wait to read her future columns!!!
    xo Eileen Keshishian

  2. Barbara: This is a perfect gig for you! You are truly a casting guru, stellar media coach, and just incredible person! I will wait anxiously for your next post. Hurrah!

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