Of the seven women — make that “bad girls” — in the upcoming Chicago installment of an Oxygen reality series, Alex Rice has the closest ties to the city.
The 23-year-old daughter of former Notre Dame football star Tony Rice, the quarterback who led the Fighting Irish to the 1988 national championship, grew up in South Bend, Ind. She now lives in Milwaukee, where she graduated in 2012 from Marquette University.
Rice describes the Windy City as her playground and her workplace. She travels here to model for Chicago-based KISS magazine.
She spent last summer here — make that Highland Park — filming “Bad Girls Club Chicago,” debuting at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
From the producers of “The Real World,” this long-running reality show puts a group of female strangers with a penchant for yelling, fighting and twerking under one roof. In this case, a mansion. With a stripper pole.
“When I first found out it was in Chicago I was kind of heartbroken,” Rice said. “It’s like, dang, I’m always in Chicago. Give me something new and fresh.”
When her cast mate Linsey found out the setting was Chicago, the Brooklyn woman responded with a confused look.
“In Boston?” she asks producers in the premiere.
“She’s a character,” Alex said about Linsey, a volatile personality proud of the fact that her long, dark locks are extensions made of horse hair.
Linsey is featured prominently in the first episode, but she’s MIA in the network’s cast photos of these seven women who have more issues than KISS magazine.
Loren, whose dad has been in and out of jail since she was a kid, says her hometown in Alabama is so small she accidentally dated her cousin.
Jonica from St. Louis has cheated on “everyone I’ve dated.”
Alex, a self-described hothead, said her hang-ups generally involve other females — “I’m not really big on women” — and her rocky relationship with her father, who lives in Chicago. Last football season, he worked as an on-air analyst covering Notre Dame for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
“When my parents got divorced I blamed him a lot for it because it was his fault,” said Alex, the oldest of five children. “At 12 years old I’m telling my dad, ‘This is what you’re doing wrong and this is how you’re hurting your family.’ … He’s not one of those people who’s receptive to that.”
The show had a life coach make repeated visits to the house to counsel the women. When they weren’t working on self-improvement, they spent a good chunk of time shopping, partying and “turnin’ up.”
That didn’t always go over well with their Highland Park neighbors, who occasionally asked them to turn it down, Rice said.
“You’ve got seven bad girls in a house — we’re going to be loud,” Rice said. “But we were able to tone it down for them when asked. We tried to be respectful of the community. There were a lot of mixed reactions.”
Field trips into the city included a walk on the ledge at Willis Tower, Rice’s first taste of soul food at MacArthur’s restaurant on the South Side and hanging out at Castaways on North Avenue Beach, Bevy lounge in River North and the West Loop’s Lumen nightclub, “our favorite place,” Rice said.
The psychology and criminology major said her long-term career plan is to start a foundation to help victims of domestic violence.
“I’ve never experienced domestic abuse but I’ve watched a lot of women in my life go through it,” she said.
That actually sounds like something a good girl would do.
“Depends on your definition,” Rice said. “I’m going places. I do my own thing. That’s what we describe a bad girl as: dope as hell.”
When asked if she has any regrets about doing the show, Rice responded: “Hell no.”
“I took what I needed from it and I left what I didn’t,” she said. “I feel like I’ve become a better person, which is really weird because it’s ‘Bad Girls Club.’ ”