Lifetime’s looking for a few good belles

Published 12:35 am Wednesday, April 16, 2008

NATCHEZ — Do you don your hoop skirt during the day and drive the soccer mom van in the evening?

If so Lifetime Television may be looking for you.

The network will be in town Friday for a casting meet and greet for an upcoming documentary-style series.

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The producers of “Southern Belles” hope to capture the new and old South through the eyes of well-established Southern women, casting producer Dawn Stroupe said.

“It’s about the relationship between the women,” she said. “We are looking for people with big full lives.”

Evolution Media, the show’s production company, narrowed their selection of Southern towns to Natchez and Mobile, Ala. Crews spent last week in Mobile meeting potential cast members.

After the Natchez casting call, producers will pick either Natchez or Mobile. And the decision will be based on the women, Stroupe said.

“We want to really look at Southern women who are basically straddling the old and the new,” she said. “They live their lives, they raise their children and a lot of them are working. But they do all the things that the traditional women do too. They are members of a garden club. In the case of Natchez, they are trying to get their daughters into (Historic Natchez) Pageant. There is a volunteer organization they are members of and activities they have to do.”

Once a town is chosen the producers will select a time to shoot the show. It will be within the next six months, Stroupe said.

Shooting will last approximately six to eight weeks and will focus on four or five women.

The show — considered a docu-soap — won’t include all-day footage, instead it’s appointment-based, Stroupe said.

Film crews will visit garden club meetings, Bunko games and other social events based on the women’s schedules.

Show producers decided to consider Natchez based on a recommendation from Lani Riches, who with her husband Ron, owns Monmouth Plantation.

“We came and scouted it and fell in love with it,” Stroupe said.

The meet and greet will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday at Monmouth Plantation.