A Flossmoor native currently living in Brooklyn, New York, is gearing up to hit the small screen with her breakout role in Bravo's latest documentary-styled reality show. Claudia Martinez, daughter of Dunning's Gourmet Market owner Maureen Martinez, will star in "Gallery Girls," which will premiere Aug. 13 at 9 p.m.
According to Martinez, the show is about documenting the real lives, struggles, and experiences of two groups of young women in different ends of New York's art world.
"It's sort of about these girls who live on the Upper East Side, or kind of more Uptown and Manhattan, and then myself and my two friends who live in Brooklyn," Martinez said. "So there's this sort of Uptown versus downtown feeling, or you know, Manhattan versus Brooklyn mentality. We do run into each other sometimes at gallery openings. We have different groups of friends, we are very different people, which I think is kind of what makes the show so interesting, but then at the same time we just go through so many of the same struggles and ups and downs and relationship issues, so it's all kind of united on that front."
While she enjoyed the experience of filming the show, Martinez said it took some time to feel comfortable being constantly filmed as she went on with her work and her daily life.
"I don't think it affects doing your job," she said. "It's definitely something you get used to. It can feel, at first, a little uncomfortable. You're kind of aware that there's a camera there, and this feels new and strange, but you kind of get used to it pretty quickly."
Martinez moved to New York to attend Sarah Lawrence College, and has stayed there to pursue a career producing art shows and galleries. She said New York was a drastic change from her days growing up in Flossmoor.
"Being from a small town, it's like a readjustment, thinking in terms of, you know, not everybody knows me, not everybody knows my mom, not everybody knows my dad," she said. "You really need to make new relationships based on who you are. But I feel like that was the biggest difference. At the same time, New York ends up feeling like a small town in its own way after you've made those kinds of connections. It's strange, the crossover."
Despite her busy schedule, Martinez said she tries to make time to come home and visit at least three times a year, and her mother makes the trip to New York to visit as often as she can. Martinez particularly enjoys coming home and stopping by Dunning's to see the way the store brings people together.
"I grew up in Flossmoor, so I have so many memories there, and I love going back and visiting [my mother] and the store and all of her customers," Martinez said. "She's had it there for over ten years now, so I've seen everything change. It really feels like a meeting place for a lot of people in the community, so it's a nice place to come back and visit."
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