In late 2009, Houston's hometown princess of Bachelor fame — the one and only Erica Rose — was courted by VH1 to participate in a new reality series, The Good Life.
"They said they'd fly me out to LA and it would be nonstop shopping and partying for eight weeks," Rose says, "and even though it sounded the same as The Hills, I just knew it was going to be a lot of fun."
Arriving in Los Angeles, Rose and her eight fellow contestants quickly learned that they would be participating in a different show entirely: You're Cut Off! — a reality rehab for spoiled party girls, in which participants were swiftly detached from family funds. "Of course I wasn't happy," she attests. "But I knew it was going to be good."
The ladies spent the duration of the show completing daily chores and, according to VH1, "learning hard lessons ... taking responsibility and understanding there is more to life than material wealth." Ultimately, Rose found the true screening to be the experience she was really seeking.
"It was about my own personal journey, becoming myself," she says. "It was a very regimented program. We worked with a professional life coach."
Coming from a world in which the phrase "You're cut off!" is more likely to be associated with unwanted body fat than trust funds, the transition to life sans mani-pedis and bottle service was at times traumatizing, and Rose encountered stereotypes as the daughter of a renowned Houston plastic surgeon.
"I made some friends. But I also made an enemy or two," she explains. "It's to be expected of nine girls with very strong personalities."
Regarding the learning experience, Erica feels that she's undergone a sea change in perspective. "I'm still going to prefer a nice lifestyle," Rose admits, "but I can't go back to being as extravagant as I once was."
Rose still speaks to three of the show's girls at least once a day, along with the life coach. In a recent CultureMap interview, she divulged, "They're the only ones who understand what I went through," adding, "I'm a work in progress."
Rose has been back in Houston for one month, and will be celebrating the June 9 premiere in New York with the You're Cut Off! gals. The second episode's June 16 premiere will be celebrated at recently-relocated socialite hotspot, Masraff's, and will benefit Tony Masraff's Prostate Cancer Research Foundation.
You're Cut Off! is part of VH1's unveiling of the most comprehensive lineup of original programming in its 25-year history. Before the year is out, the cable network will introduce 44 new series, each of which will align with one of three genres: Music, celebrity and "real life stories."
"Speaking as a princess, it was a very challenging, but, like, very rewarding experience," Rose concludes.
Having temporarily reduced her courseload at the University of Houston Law Center to film the show, Rose has simultaneously devoted 120 hours as a research assistant and will enroll in summer classes. "To take a complete leave from law school - my parents would never allow it," the studious local celeb explains. Rose intends to return fulltime to complete her law degree — eventually.
"There's really no rush," she says. "One day I'll be a producer or lawyer in the entertainment industry, so when I get an opportunity, I take it."