Freeform’s first-ever reality television/docuseries is here. The Come Up follows six young creatives thriving in New York as they pursue love, art, and friendship. The cast is diverse, ambitious, and action-oriented – showing Gen Zers can grind too. Rounding out the cast are Taofeek Abijako, Fernando Casablancas, Ben Hard, Claude Shwartz, Ebon Gore, and Sophia Wilson. They are successful in modeling, fashion design, photography, acting, and nightlife promotion.
Premiering on Sept. 13, the current generation of hustlers will appreciate what they see. Ahead of the show’s debut, Shadow and Act Unscripted spoke with the cast about what the idea of a come-up means to them, being the first series of its kind on the network, chasing their dreams in New York, and much more.
Freeform is committed to providing content to bridge the gap between the Gen Z crowd and the millennials. With both demographics being the busiest, most successful, and flexible in their careers, Casablancas says the show is a natural fit for their lineup.
“I think that this show specifically is perfect for Freeform because I think for their target audience and for the kind of people that are going to be engaged with this show. Freeform is the is a place that it’s perfect to foster this show that’s a curated reality,” he told us. “It’s reality that’s elevated, and I think that Freeform does a really good job at like supporting people like us, like queer people, people of color, people of every kind.”
Until now, Freeform has focused on original series and classic films for different campaigns including their popular Halloween and Christmas programming lineup. But they haven’t delved into reality. Gore says it feels good to be the first.
“If I’m correct, please don’t quote me on this, but I believe we are the first reality-based show on the network,” she told us. “So that is very special to me personally. I know a lot of us, we are kind of the guinea pigs. We are very excited that showcases what we have going on. It’s something new for Freeform, just like it’s something new for all of us.”
Not only is the cast young and killing it in their respective industries, but they are doing so in the hardest cities imaginable: New York. Wilson says it’s the perfect mashup, especially taking into account that many feel Gen Z tend to be lazier and more entitled. But with the cast’s collective resume, they prove to be anything but.
“New York puts you through the ringer. It’s the most difficult, challenging, but also an aspirational place to live,” Wilson explained. “And there are so many people that are also trying to make it and that is also on the come up. So being able to meet like-minded individuals is something that you could only do in New York. Also, the opportunities that are in New York or nowhere else, like you wouldn’t have gotten scouted for a TV show. Just being yourself, living in a different place.”
Everyone is on the come-up in some way, but Hard says the show details the real. On what the come up means to him, he says it’s a combination of things.
“To me, it means being yourself and building yourself up,” he said. “Living life, gaining experience, gaining friends, growing, trying new things. All those things add to your come up and building your little mountain and owning your little mountain.”