As par for the course, the children of the Real Housewives of any location are always dragged into the mess that is the show – and sometimes being on TV isn’t so fantastic. Glamour Magazine recently interviewed the adult daughters of some of our favorite (and least favorite) Bravo moms. The girls were candid about their experiences on the show and how it has affected their lives.
Lauren Manzo, Pandora Sabo (née Todd), Briana Culberson (née Wolfsmith), Tierra Fuller, and Victoria de Lesseps spoke out about what it’s like to be on reality television and how they’ve handled their moms’ dramatic experiences on the shows.
Interestingly, some of the girls would love to do reality TV in their own right, while others have absolutely no desire. “I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t get caught up in being on TV for a little bit,” Lauren admits. “I said to my boyfriend, Vito, a while ago, ‘I found a ring that I want. Go buy it, and we’ll get married on TV.’ And then I said to myself, That’s not what I want right now. It doesn’t make sense to get married. I need to become a woman on my own. And I don’t think I could do that right now with a ring on my finger.”
Pandora, who did get married on TV, and whose wedding was featured in last season’s finale of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, confesses she had to seriously consider letting such a personal moment be played out in public. “I’m a more private person than my mother is. So when Jason proposed, we had to think about how we were going to do this wedding,” Pandora shares.
“My mother’s [Lisa Vanderpump] life is on television, but mine really isn’t. I didn’t mind that the planning was on TV, because, to be honest, it’s quite nice to have a record of all that. Who else gets to relive picking out their invitations or their bachelorette party?”
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“I didn’t let Bravo film any of the wedding. I had a regular videographer like many people do. I edited the footage, then chose what I wouldn’t mind people seeing, and we gave eight minutes of it to Bravo to use.” Pandora adds that Lisa was totally supportive and encouraged Pandora and Jason to decide what they wanted to do.
As for whether or not she would do a reality show, the answer is no. “I wouldn’t sign up for a reality show myself,” Pandora explains. Adding, “I didn’t even get through watching the whole episode of the season-two reunion. It’s hard to see someone you love being attacked. I’ve had urges to fight my mother’s battles for her, but she doesn’t like me to. She can handle herself very well.” Yeah – take that, Adrienne Maloof!
Sheree Whitfield‘s daughter Tierra has a decidedly different feeling about appearing on TV. She loves it! And claims she gets asked for autographs all the time around Atlanta. “A woman approached me about being on another reality show. It was going to be about people my age being spoiled, always getting what they want. I guess they didn’t end up selling the pilot, but I was interested,” Tierra reveals. “My boyfriend, Damon, and I spoke about doing our own reality show. I think it’s not a bad idea.” Maybe they are saving their proposal for their own series!
Tierra dishes that her reason for having an interest in reality television is the opportunities the platform presents. “My mom is doing her thing; I’m trying to get her to make her own workout DVD or her own juicer. A lot of opportunities come out of reality shows, and my mom is my role model.”
Although Tierra wouldn’t mind doing a show of her own, she admits sometimes it’s difficult hard to watch Real Housewives of Atlanta. “I find myself getting very angry when I watch the show. Then I’ll talk to my mom, and she’s like, ‘You know, you can’t get too emotional about it,’” Tierra says.
“The whole Marlo [Hampton] thing was hard for me. That fight was really intense. You want to protect your family, and that’s my mom! If I’m watching and something goes down, I’ll send her a text, like, ‘Wow, why did you two start arguing? Did that really happen?’ And then she’ll give me the background.”
Victoria, the youngest of the ladies who is barely beyond her teenage years, admits growing up on Real Housewives of New York has been a challenge. “I was 12 when my mom [LeAnn de Lesseps] told me about doing the show. I’m not a person who loves to be in front of the camera all the time. But my mom said to us, ‘I understand if you and your brother don’t want to do this, but you know, it would mean a lot to me, blah, blah.’ And so we both agreed to do it.”
Victoria believes the show has had some negative effects in terms of how people treat her – particularly at school – and amongst her peer group. “When I was at boarding school, there were some instances when I thought teachers were harder on me because of the show,” she asserts. A YouTube video of Victoria smoking weed and making a racist comment surfaced around the time of her parent’s divorce.
“People ask me, ‘Has being on TV changed how people treat you? Are people nice to you for the wrong reasons?’ In a way, it has made it easier for me to see who’s really my friend,” Victoria describes. “This guy friend of mine, we kissed once, and he said, ‘I could introduce you to my friends and tell them you’re from the show.’ I was like, ‘That’s the first thing you’d tell your friends about me?’ I’ve never had any boy luck from the show. Maybe guys are just intimidated.”
Finally, Briana, who has been on Real Housewives of Orange County since it’s first season and is really the OG of Housewives children speaks out about how the show has changed her life.
Briana confesses that though it’s traumatizing to watch the show, she does it anyway. “It’s hard to watch them,” she says. “It’s weird to see yourself on TV. It’s really tough to see the family things replayed, like my parents’ split. I’d experienced it six or eight months before, then had to relive it on TV, and that’s when it becomes public. People are approaching me, saying, ‘I can’t believe your parents are getting divorced!’ And it reopens the wound.”
Strangely, the show has brought her family closer. “But it’s kind of like therapy. Most of the time our family’s not very open about our feelings with one another, so we see each family member on TV talk about their reaction to the divorce. It’s nice because you can sit down and say, ‘Oh, Mike, I didn’t know you felt that way.’ It allows us to recognize what each other is going through.”
As for how being on TV has changed over the years, Briana still can’t believe people have such a vested interest in her life or her family, and says she has learned to ignore the public’s reaction. “The first season, we were kind of shocked because you would Google our names and we’d come up. That was huge. At first we were like, ‘Why are we so important?;’” she shares.
“Then people would say, ‘Briana looks like this’ or ‘Vicki [Gunvalson]’s fat,’ and we’d all be crying about it. Since the first season we haven’t looked at any blogs. I try not to read the press or dig around and see what everyone’s opinion is of us.”
And Briana, a very private person, has no desire to make reality television a part of her own life. Briana, as you recall, eloped last year and did not even tell producers she was engaged. “I’m not looking to make my own fame off this show. It’s just not me,” Briana states. “I’m an E.R. nurse, and that’s my priority. I don’t want people to look at me differently. I’m just Briana the nurse.”
“Sometimes at work, I’ll be changing a diaper or putting in an IV, and a family member at the bedside will be like, ‘You’re that girl!’ And I’ll say, ‘Yes, but this is my real job.’ You’ve got to put things into perspective.” Has she told Vicki that lately?
Lauren also admits that dealing with issues on Real Housewives of New Jersey has been a challenge – particularly over her weight, but she’s gotten a lot of support from viewers who can relate to her struggle.
“When we first began the show, my biggest fear was viewers noticing my weight. I knew I was heavy, and I knew people were going to say something, but I did everything I could to hide it and act like I was confident.” Lauren decided to incorporate it into the storyline because teen fans reached out to her and said it was inspiring to see someone who wasn’t a size two on TV.
My mom [Caroline Manzo] and I have always been open about my weight. I’ll say stuff like, ‘Oh my God, my stomach is so big today!’ We’ve learned to joke about it,” Lauren says. “When she said on the show, ‘I’m not going to tell Lauren she looks perfect when she needs to lose a few pounds,’ that didn’t bother me. What upset me is when people wrote and said, ‘Your own mother thinks you’re disgusting.’ Not because they’re calling me fat but because they’re going after my mom.”
[Photo Credit: Glamour Magazine]
THOUGHTS ON THE INTERVIEW? ARE YOU SURPRISED HOW MANY OF THE WOMEN DO NOT ENJOY REALITY TV? DO YOU BELIEVE THEM?