Alie + Georgia
Meet the Food Network BFFs Who Make It Look Easy
June 2, 2014 | The Future | Print #3
Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark are living a dream all too familiar to many of us – not just making it ‘big’, but doing it all alongside your best friend. On their new Cooking Channel show Tripping Out with Alie & Georgia, they eat and drink their way across the US – all the while putting Mad Men to shame in their A+ vintage duds. They then come home and do what any fabulous bffs would do – throw a giant party for their friends full of snacks-on-snacks inspired by their travels. If you know them from their famed “McNuggetini” cocktail video that launched them into YouTube fame, never fear, there are plenty of cocktails to go around here. These two bring us something that is surprisingly hard to find on food related tv shows these days – a genuinely enjoyable experience that is refreshing to watch because of their natural chemistry. The fact that they’re honest and wickedly funny also helps. We got to talk to these two wonderful ladies about karaoke, authenticity, and of course, the future.
Joanna: How have your lives changed since Tripping Out premiered? Anyone ever recognize you at the grocery store?
Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark: Since the show has aired, we’ve been recognized quite a few times, which is something we can’t imagine ever gets old. We’re usually asked “are you those cocktail girls?!” and sometimes told which episode of “Tripping Out” is their favorite. It’s pretty surreal and exciting. But we’re learning very fast that having terrible hair and wearing stretch denim is the best way to go incognito since no one recognizes us that way. Also that going incognito isn’t as much fun. So if we need an ego boost, we have to actually do our hair and wear make-up. We call this the “Paul Reubens vs. Pee Wee” effect.
Obviously the two of you wouldn’t have your own show if you didn’t work so well together – but doing business with your best friend has its advantages and its disadvantages. How do you keep business and friendship balanced?
AW: Whenever we get together to write or do work, there’s always a 15-minute debriefing session about what happened last night, the current state of our romantic lives, how our parents are doing, what new book we’re reading. It’s nice to start your workday with a therapy sesh with your best friend.
GH: We joke that we’ve monetized our friendship which, while true, is also one of the reasons it’s so important for us to maintain a good balance. This friendship has more at stake than one usually would, and because of that, we’ve both had to learn to listen and be more understanding. We’ve had our rough moments but think it’s made us better friends and made us both better, more empathetic people overall. We get a lot of comments on our great chemistry, and we think the sincerity and connection people like so much about us is due to both the ups and downs in our friendship.
Could you both tell us one “inconnu” (unknown) thing about yourselves?
AW: Being barefoot makes Georgia uncomfortable. Her feet almost never touch the ground.
GH: Alie even has a dedicated pair of slippers at her house for Georgia to put on when she comes over. Also Alie is not a natural redhead. Sorry, everyone.
Being the successful and badass ladies that you are, what advice would you give other young women that are looking to make it in their respective fields?
GH: It’s funny because I don’t think I would have thought of myself as “successful and badass” a couple years ago. I think the thing that lets me accept that description with pride isn’t that we have our own TV show, but the fact that we’ve worked those bad asses off up until this point. We had a goal and we did everything we could think of to make it a realization. We’re still working on it now, even though we got a TV show. I don’t think I could have gotten here without Alie by my side, which makes my advice to other young women is to find a friend who’s just as hungry as yourself and be each other’s allies (or Alie’s) and cheerleaders. Big wins are so much better when you have someone to celebrate with, just as failing sucks less when a girl friend is there to take you out for pancakes in the middle of the night and remind you why you’re rad.
AW: I’ve been of the mindset my whole life that if one works hard enough at something — especially if they enjoy it — they will be successful. So many young people, women especially, think it’s not their right to pursue certain goals, particularly the loftier ones. I wish more people recognized their own potential and had the confidence to apply themselves to the work they love with the drive to get what they want. It’s one of the most fulfilling feelings.
If someone had asked you five years ago to predict what your career would look like in 2013, how different would it be from how things actually are today?
AW: I majored in film & television and was working in this industry before I graduated college. I took a detour into print journalism, but this is where I’ve wanted to be all my life. I didn’t think it would happen from a joke cocktail video, but otherwise it feels on-track to have worked toward having a voice in this field. Five years ago, this is pretty much exactly what I wanted. Which is awesome and crazy and very gratifying.
GH: Back when things started gaining momentum after we made the McNuggetini video and Cooking Channel approached us to make web videos for them, we made a joke that McNuggetini was a game and we were going to win at it. It’s made all the work we’ve put into our careers seem like a high stakes challenge, more than “work.” The goal was always to get a travel TV show, even if we both acted like it was just a joke in the beginning (the name was going to be Bitches Abroad). Now the goal is to get a second season of that travel show.
In a time where celebrity chefs are almost like the new rock stars and everyone wants their own cooking show more than a record deal, what do you two bring to the world of food tv that audiences can’t find elsewhere?
GH: I think our genuine curiosity and excitement is something the viewers pick up on, and makes them want to be right there with us. Just like a rash, our giddiness is infectious. We have a code word that we say to the other when one of us is being fake or too polished. We aim to be as authentic as possible, which you can see in our beloved vintage dresses and the fact that we have to get bleeped a lot. Also you should get that rash checked out.
AW: A lot of women in this industry are pressured to present recipes to feed families and occupy more of a domestic space, but we’re really coming from the angle of enjoying life with and cooking for friends. And I like that we’re given the opportunity to establish a voice that’s a little different.
What does the future hold for the two of you – both together and separately? What would you like to accomplish other than continuing with Tripping Out?
AW: We daydream a lot about the line of vintage-inspired barware we could create, along with books on how to throw parties. A clothing line also seems like a natural extension since our style is so specific.
GH: And I’m obsessed with HGTV and true crime, so some type of murdery interior design show seems like a fun project. I’d also like to live in an apartment with parking and access to laundry, but now I just sound like a snob.
AW: I definitely would love to establish barware and possibly clothing brands, and take the show international. (Hello Iceland! S’up Japan!) I also want to adopt a dog that’s small enough to travel with us. Or maybe I’d just put it in a romper and tell people it was just a very ugly, hairy baby.
Could you give us a quick and easy cocktail recipe that represents this issue’s theme of “The Future”?
Well since the future most likely entails all of us turning into or being feasted upon by the walking dead, how about our
Zombie Gut Punch:
10 oz. vodka
5 oz. triple sec
2 oz. bitters
1 cup fresh squeezed blood orange juice
2 cups black cherry soda
grenadine for rim
In a large punch bowl filled with ice, pour vodka, triple sec, bitters, blood orange juice and black cherry soda. While stirring, laugh as though you are an evil zombie. Rim each glass with grenadine before filling with punch mixture, and serve. Stagger around menacingly, and threaten to eat strangers’ brains.
Illustration by Anna Grimal
Joanna just graduated from NYU with a degree in Food Studies and French. She hopes to one day be a big fancy restaurant critic/food writer/ the next Oprah. Her interests include Elvis Costello, diners and hoarding magazines.