Following the release of Freeform's newest reality show The Come Up, Tracy E. Gilchrist of Advocate Today sat down with influencer Ebon Gore discuss how the series is changing the genre through representation.
The Come Up follows six Gen Z New Yorkers as they build careers in modelling, photography, fashion, acting, and nightlife organizing. Taofeek Abijako, Fernando Casablancas, Ben Hard, Claude Shwartz, Sophia Wilson, and Ebon make up a diverse group that encapsulates youth culture.
Freeform writes on the show: "The series follows six young disruptors as they emerge from downtown New York to follow their dreams and pursue love and art on their own terms. The show follows the creative NYC underground, giving viewers an exclusive look into how the next generation of icons define themselves and how culture is created.”
Gore is an nightlife organizer who captured audience hearts through her budding romance with her boyfriend, Starr. As a trans man and trans woman, the two have been praised for showing the joy in queer relationships, something rarely seen on reality shows.
"My main thing was that, as a Black trans woman, I want to be seen in a positive light," Gore says. "I don't want a lot of drama. I need for people to see this positive life that I live. I'm very fortunate to be able to live in New York and have a family who cares for me."
Gore shares that the series intended to capture positivity, especially following the difficulty experienced in the past few years by New Yorkers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
"I think the main focus was joy, especially because we're throwing these parties after the pandemic," Gore adds. "Me and my friends were not able to see each other -- the whole world wasn't able to see each other. And I think the beauty of New York is having those underground locations and having those places."
Nightlife was severely interrupted during the height of the pandemic, forcing Gore and her collaborators to get creative with their meetup locations.
"We were throwing parties under the bridges, under highways, and cops weren't shutting them down. Cops were like, 'No, guys, keep partying. Y'all need this,'" she shares, laughing.
Gore says she's excited for the opportunity she has to share their life experiences.
"I'm so happy with how we're portrayed. I'm so happy people could watch this," Gore gushes. "These are our stories and we're the only ones who can tell them."
Watch the full interview below.