Launching the careers of pint-size celebrities is anything but child's play. Mother of All Talent — TVGN's new eight-part docuseries — follows the day-to-day operations of Tribute Talent, a Staten Island, New York-based agency that caters to precocious kiddos and their ambitious stage parents. The only characters more colorful than the fame-hungry clients? The owners themselves: Lorri Tierney, 43, and her hilariously unfiltered 64-year-old mom, Nikki Galarza. The ladies give us the lowdown on their family business.
TV Guide Magazine: How would you describe your office dynamic?
Lorri: I'll be trying to work, and my mom will go off on a tangent. It's like Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm. The other day she was upset because she got a new eyeglasses case that didn't make a snapping sound when it closed.
Nikki: I wanted to hear it click! I had to return it. The best part of working together is that we get to see each other all the time. And we can argue and then, half an hour later, go to lunch. If I was in a regular office — with some of the things I say — I'd be out the door!
TV Guide Magazine: Speaking of which, Nikki, you seem to have a knack for telling it like it is — even if it offends people.
Nikki: I do. It's because I come from a crazy Italian family where we just say whatever comes to mind.
Lorri: It gets her into trouble all the time. Like when we're dealing with a [stage] mom, she'll say, "Did you not notice that your child's teeth are yellowish green?" She says things like that, and I cringe and have to rectify it later. I'm the good cop.
Nikki: Hey, the mothers want to know if there's a defect in their child.
Lorri: A defect? That's terrible.
Nikki: Well, kids shouldn't have a unibrow in the street, let alone at an audition.
TV Guide Magazine: Are stage parents really as much of a handful as they're made out to be?
Nikki: We booked a kid for a job on a soap opera where only one parent was allowed to go along to the set. They brought a whole entourage: the mother, father, aunts, uncles, sisters — and everyone had a camera.
Lorri: We've had so many crazy encounters! We've had moms spray-tan their kids orange just to meet us.
Nikki: Sometimes we'll have a mother who wants to live vicariously through her child, and that's not good. Go back to school! If you want this, take an acting or dancing class yourself.
TV Guide Magazine: You find most of your talent locally on Staten Island. What's your secret to spotting success?
Lorri: We both have an eye for it. By now we've seen enough kids to know who has the It Factor. The only issue with kids from Staten Island is that, once they reach about 11, they start to develop that heavy accent. You can't sound like you're from New York for a commercial that people are going to be watching in Idaho. At that point, I have to tell the parents to get speech lessons — we're not casting for The Sopranos!
Mother of All Talent airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on TVGN.