There are some Golden Girls fans that take their love of the show to the next level, and Alan Ronay is one such fan! Alex uses his skills as a designer to construct amazingly detailed and accurate models of The Golden Girls set we all love. He also creates fun merchandise inspired by the show. In 2017 Alan’s art was included in the collector’s edition Golden Girls Magazine by Closer Weekly, and his work is featured in the September issue of DollsHouse and Miniature Scene magazine. I got in touch with Alan to learn more about his creative process and love for The Golden Girls.
How long have you been a fan of The Golden Girls?
I remember watching a few episodes in the late 1980s, during it’s original run, with family around the TV in the living room; but I really started watching religiously in the early 1990s when I would get home from elementary school and would watch a 2 hour block on Lifetime TV. I remember laughing during the promos because it would say, “You’re watching Lifetime TV, television for women,” and I would roll my eyes and think to myself, if they only knew…
When did you get started recreating the sets from the show?
Whenever I had to do any sort of presentation in school I would always make some sort of visual prop or diorama so the attention would be on that and not on me speaking. I was terrified of public speaking so it helped to bring something for people to talk about. So I loved making models and dioramas for as long as I can remember. One day I was talking to my sister, who is as much a fan of The Golden Girls as I am, and we were talking about how the floor plan of the house makes no sense so I told her I would make a model to show how the layout really is on the set. Soon after, I was moving to California from Florida and knew my models would not survive the journey so I put them online to see if anyone would want to buy them. Amazingly, The Golden Girls model went viral and I started getting requests for other shows.
I love your attention to detail! What have been some of your favorite objects to create for your models?
Thank you! I love spending the time to get the details right. It makes the model more authentic. My favorite part so far has been making the awesome Chippendale Chairs. I made them for the 8 inch dolls that came out a few years ago and there really aren’t many pre-made items for that scale, so I knew I would have to make them myself. It took some trial and error, but I came up with using toothpicks to make the chairs. Each chair takes about 2 hours to make, but I put on the show on my TV and it is very relaxing and enjoyable.
The Golden Girls is one of the few shows where the sets and interior design often connect with viewers as much as the content. Why do you think that is?
That’s a great point! I think just like we would all love to have a group of friends like the Golden Girls, we would all love to have a house like Blanche’s. Although it takes place in the 80s, it isn’t dated or old. They have style and elegance, and each room is decorated to fit the characters’ personalities. The house looks iconic but also livable.
You’ve also created lots of other fun items such as party favors, decorations, and even a printable Golden Girls Guess Who game. What inspires you?
Honestly, my fellow Golden Girls friends inspire me. For over 30 years there was nothing we could have or buy to show our love for the show, so I started making my own stuff. People started to notice and asked me to make them things so they could express their love for the show whenever they weren’t by the TV. The ideals and heart of the show resonate so loudly with people, and we all wanted a way to share that.
What other projects are you working on?
I’m working on a small vignette of the front door complete with the famous vaaaase. It’s proving a little difficult because recreating the vase at this tiny scale is taking longer than I thought but it’s a very fun project. I love thinking up new ways to pay tribute to such a wonderful show. It’s amazing that we’re sitting here over 30 years later and the fan base is larger than ever! It really speaks to the amazing talent that the show harnessed, both in front and behind the camera. And that talent has touched the hearts of many generations and taught us about love, understanding, inclusivity, and cheesecake.
Follow Alan on Twitter and Instagram for updates about his projects and fun Golden Girls Trivia! His printable models make great quarantine crafts and are available on his website and Etsy. T-shirts, face masks, and lots of other fun accessories featuring Alan’s designs can be found on Redbubble and Society6.