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Joke between friends 'Made' into reality TV show

Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 10:09

Maeve Gallagher

Photo by Edwin Shaw

Maeve Gallagher, a senior secondary education and special education major and athlete, was 'made' by MTV into a pageant queen for an episode that will air Oct. 18.

When MTV’s reality show, “Made,” came to campus last semester for a casting call, Mackenzie Pinto signed her friend Maeve Gallagher’s name up as a joke.

“She wasn't too happy with me, so my intentions were that she would never follow through with it,” Pinto, a sophomore sport, arts and entertainment management major, said. “But when she got the call back, I was automatically shocked … I knew we were in for an adventure.”

On Oct. 18, the 12th season of “Made,” a reality television show, will feature Gallagher, a senior secondary education and special education major, as she transforms from a tri-athlete to a pageant queen.

“It was one of those things you do and you never think there’s going to be repercussions to it,” Gallagher said. “The casting director was like, ‘I’ll give you a call next week.’ I forgot all about it. We just went on with our daily lives and then, I really got a call next week.”

During the casting interview, Gallagher spent about an hour delving into one “typical extreme to another extreme” and said it was a lot of fun. She actually missed MTV’s initial call because she was at a double-header for softball.

 “I checked my phone in between games and I was like, ‘MTV just called me and they’re going to come here,’ … and we were all just jumping around and screaming, being jag-offs.”

As confirmed by her choice of words, Gallagher is Pittsburgh born-and-bred. She grew up in the South Hills and came to Point Park University to play softball, soccer and basketball. The show harbors a tradition of surprising its stars by introducing their coaches completely out of nowhere in the most unexpected of circumstances, and Gallagher’s episode is no exception.

“When we first met [Maeve], we went to her softball game, and she was swearing and told us to get … away from her, so it was comical,” coach Gina Cerilli said in a phone interview. “They wanted Elena [LaQuatra] and I to show up in glitzy cocktail dresses, with our sashes on and high heels, and we’re at this recreational, little softball field … We were definitely out of place.”

Cerilli and LaQuatra are titleholders with the 2010 Miss Pennsylvania USA and Teen USA crowns, respectively, which is what introduced them to each other. LaQuatra, a junior broadcasting major, is about two years younger than Gallagher and Cerilli works full time and attends law school at Duquesne University, so for possibly the first time in the show’s history, two coaches were hired to work as a team. 

“It’s funny. We go out to dinner on the show and they think I’m like an animal, like I’m going to stand up and start beating my chest and throwing food,” Gallagher said. “I’m a person, guys, calm down.”

They met five to six days a week for about six weeks from June to the end of July and practiced runway walking, interviews and a talent in Point Park’s Goerge Rowland White Dance Complex.

“Maeve is an athlete, so she’s very competitive and expects perfection from herself, so she was kind of hard on herself whenever she realized being in a pageant is actually hard,” Cerilli said. “She thought it was going to be a slam dunk, easy, ‘I can do this. Put me in a dress and heels and I’ve got this’.”

But as Gallagher realized, that was not exactly the case. Even the “dress and heels” part was hard.

 “It actually is not just walking in heels, which I assumed it to be, and I was bad at that to begin with,” Gallagher said in the Starbucks in Market Square on Friday. “It’s a whole different walk. It’s like learning a dance routine.”

However, she was naturally talented with interviewing.  

“We did the first mock interview with her, and I’m thinking, ‘Oh, great. This is going to be a nightmare,” Cerilli said, “And she answered those questions so amazingly. At the end, I was like, ‘Maeve for president.’ It was perfect.”

And after all of the typical reality show “temper tantrums” and hard work, it all came together the night before they left for the Miss East Coast USA pageant in New Jersey.

“We all got frustrated with each other and we all wanted her to do amazing,” Cerilli said. “We had a dress rehearsal and everything just clicked. She put on her gown for the first time since she bought it. She acted like a pro.”

It was a national competition, so Gallagher was up against girls that have been doing pageants forever, and Cerilli was proud to say she looked like a veteran, not a rookie.

“I was dreading it,” Gallagher said. “I was so nervous. But my family came, and not just my immediate family, but my aunts flew in, and about 15 to 20 friends came. It was really cool, because they made fun of me [at first], but they were actually into it, cheering for me and freaking out.”

A “jock” had become a pageant queen, but for Gallagher, it meant a lot more than that. An important component of pageants is the platform, which allows participants to choose a cause they are passionate about and gives them a voice. Gallagher’s voice spoke for Karissa Kunco’s.

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