What does it take to be a socialite? Well, a few things.
In the previous millennium, it was probably all about your net worth or being a member of a prominent family with an 'aristocratic' background.
The two would allow you to attend social gatherings, where you would be fêted simply because of your standing in society. Most times, you didn't even need to have a job, just access to wealth.
The definition has changed over the decades and become all about being fame-adjacent, whether it's through who you know, where you work or how many followers you have on social media.
The socialites of yore are depicted in “The Gilded Age”, which airs on Tuesdays on M-Net at 8.30pm.
It's about the Russell family who is new money and has built a palace on Fifth Avenue in New York, much to the disgust of the old-money crowd, who do everything to close the doors of high society to the Russells, no matter how hard they try to use their wealth to wedge their way in.
I was reminded of this while watching “Diamond & Dolls”, a new reality series that is streaming on Showmax.
The group of socialites have clearly not been accepted into South Africa's high society and celebrity circles and, instead of being crestfallen, they create their own fiefdom where they rule with enough champagne to fill the Nile. Something the Russells should have done.
“Diamonds & Dolls” is a six-episode series that follows Tebogo Ramokgadi, who brands himself as a musician and social media influencer, and his four friends on their journey to fame and fortune.
Like Truman Capote and his Swans in 1960s New York, Ramokgadi, who calls himself the African Diamond, is always seen with the four women (his dolls) who are all somewhat successful club promoters, bloggers, social media influencers and ladies about town.
The dolls are nightclub promoter Inno Morolong, nightclub hostess Eva Modika, sports star manager Lumi Jemma and fashion blogger Lolo Mlunjwana.
“We set the tone on how to dress and party in the City of Gold. It’s opulence at its best,” the African Diamond says in the first episode.
“We bring the glitz, glam and champagne lifestyle. We don’t hold back on the drama either.”
When I first came across the trailer, I remarked: "Who are these people?" No one had an answer.
See, I like to know more about the people on our screen in order to see whether I should watch.
However, since I did give “Made In Mexico” and “Bling Empire”, which are similar concepts, a chance, I decided to give “Diamond & Dolls” a chance.
It is unapologetically gauche. It is social climbing on a level even the “Real Housewives” dream of.
The name-dropping that happens in the cast members' conversations is so ridiculous, it’s almost unbelievable. Even President Cyril Ramaphosa gets name-checked as a neighbour of one of the dolls.
The show is terrible. Really. It’s so bad, I wondered why Showmax gave “Diamond & Dolls” the light of day.
Was it a favour to someone? Was it cheap to acquire? Did the streamer need a show to compete against Netflix’s “Young, Famous, & African”, which premiers on Friday, March 18? I don’t know.
And yet, I couldn't stop watching. It's like a car-crash scene, only this time the viewers are the victims of the accident.
After admitting that this is a travesty, I started looking for possible reasons why this show was greenlit. I found none.
The claim that they host the best parties, was immediately proven as false. Those were definitely not A-list worthy parties.
Instead, they are filled with drama, look boring and even though they are hosted at expensive venues, they just look, for lack of a better term, ashy. I don’t know anyone who would want to attend.
I’m surprised that these people are friends when they are so horrible to one another. But then again, people love to be famous and actively do things that will bring them the attention they crave and, hopefully, lead them to some sort of fame.
Tebogo claims that he is rich and famous.— Thenjiwe Khumalo (@10GEE_Khumi) March 10, 2022
1. We haven't seen his house
2. We haven't seen his cars
3. He has been carrying the same Gucci sling bag and the same shades through all these episodes.
What a waste!#DiamondAndDolls
The show could have been saved if there was a story. I kept on rewinding to check what I had missed. It is disjointed.
I don’t even know what the purpose of the show was. I also have a feeling the episodes were not in order because there was no flow.
Production values aside, at least give us a story we can follow. Instead, it’s just the messy lives of Joburg’s party girls and their friends. And it doesn’t even show them in a good light.
What’s funny to me is that they’re so sure that they’re serving luxury 💀💀#DiamondAndDolls— Samkeh (@SamkehNgubane_) March 8, 2022
While they can afford the finest champagne and designer brands, they are lacking the one thing that would make them easily accepted into the circles they are craving to be in – decorum.