Here we go! Five days to go until the big season two premiere of Transcendent on FUSE! Can you STAND IT? Are you waiting on PINS AND NEEDLES? I recently sat down with Executive Producer Nikki Calabrese and asked her what we can expect from the luscious ladies of AsiaSF this time around. The answer? DRAMA! DRAMA! AND MORE DRAMA!
JAMES ST. JAMES: Can you tease a little fun stuff that happens this season to whet our whistle?
NIKKI CALABRESE: Let’s see… Last season, everyone talked about how Nya had a wall up and we didn’t get to know a lot about her. This season, we learn much more about her and what makes her tick. The stakes are really high for her this season and she gets really emotional, which she didn’t really do last season. She becomes vulnerable, as a manager, as the leader of the team, and breaks down – which shows a completely different side to her. It’s surprising and really, really interesting.
Another big thing that happens this season was our trip to the homeless shelter. We found out that Bionka was a drug addicted prostitute on the streets. We see this redemption story in an episode basically with her. And she’s so beautiful, strong, and incredible… She was just like “Yeah, I used to work these streets, I was addicted to drugs, I was homeless.” Its cool to be right there and see…
JAMES: … how she’s grown and how she’s changed. Interesting.
NIKKI: Yes, exactly. And then she breaks off from the group. This season we kind of see the girls as a fractured family and the question becomes if they will stay together. Its sort of like “what will happen to these girls?” “What’s their future?” Bionka is one of the girls who will tease the idea that maybe she doesn’t need to be a part of this anymore. She’s going to embark on her singing career, she hired a manager, she does a radio show – so you’re going to see her stepping away from the group and try to do her own thing.
It’s not necessarily a question that will be answered this season but, as an audience, you will start to wonder will they all stay together? Is this long-term thing?
JAMES: So what are the differences between the first season and the second? It sounds like we’re getting to know the girls a little bit more separately. Is that fair to say? In the first season we saw the group dynamic. Now they are sort of fracturing off, and we’re getting to know their back stories a little more and seeing their own personal struggles.
NIKKI: Right, exactly. We’re getting a lot more in depth with what their lives are like. And what drives them and who they are. There’s a lot less footage from in the club this season, and a lot more outside of the club. We spent season 1, rightfully so, with “what is this place?”, “why are they here?” and “who are they?”…
JAMES: Establishing them as an ensemble…
NIKKI: Yeah, that’s the deal. Now all of that is changing…
JAMES: So tell me a little more about the challenges you faced this season and how shooting it was different?
NIKKI: The challenges this season, other than their crazy schedules, was that they were more aware this season. They are aware of their dynamics. As much as the they trusted us and loved the final product, they were still very anxious, right out the gate. They were aware that they were on a show, and they were aware that there was so much story to get in, in a short amount of time, and so everybody was kind of clambering to make sure we were aware of where the conflicts were. So none of the conflicts were made up, EVER, it was never bullshit, but it was like “oh you’re here, well let me just shovel my entire life story into 30 seconds”. So it was like the first week of shooting, everyone was very much hyped and anxious to get their stories out. So it was real. But they were great once we got into a rhythm.
JAMES: I can’t wait! Thanks, Nikki!
Transcendent Season 2 premieres Wednesday, June 8th on FUSE (11:30! Set your DVRs!)
Behind-the-scenes photos below by Nikki Calabrese