Earlier this week I spoke with Melissa Gorga. I had no expectations going into the conversation and I was very excited to get her perspective on the drama that has encapsulated her life since joining the Real Housewives of New Jersey.
First of all, I have to admit – it's very strange to speak to someone that you see on television. We as viewers are so close to these reality stars lives, yet so far away. We are offered a very limited glimpse of the truth and yet it feels far more personal than that. RHONJ has captivated fans more than any other Housewives series because, not only are the women
former close friends, they are family and their drama is palpable and relatable.
Melissa understands this and was candid about discussing it. Watching the show last season I had so many questions to ask the women directly and it was amazing to get the opportunity to do so in person.
Melissa was open, honest, and heart-felt in her answers and was very forthcoming about her family drama, her feelings on reality television, and the opportunities it has presented for her and her family. She strikes me as a down-to-earth person who has a supportive marriage and a positive outlook on life. I asked Melissa questions I wanted answers to and she answered each one willingly.
It was more like a conversation than an interview. Sadly, she didn't say "Thank you, Jesus!" once. I was hoping for it! An excerpt from our conversation is below:
RT: What was your first season of being on a reality TV show like?
MG: "It was crazy, I guess. I wasn't used to it, but now it's kinda – I'm easy with it. When it was airing last season I was a little uncomfortable. I was, like, what did I do? Why am I putting my life out there like this? But now, it's just a way of life. Our show, it's about family and it's real. Everybody goes through it with family. Everybody has in-law issues, and sister-in-law issues, so we just kinda put it out there."
"I've been very lucky," Melissa adds. "Things have been good."
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RT: Was it worth it to come on the show? Has it been a positive experience for you?
MG: "Yeah, so far, so good! There's always good and the bad. There's been so many made up stories; it's funny. There's always these people that come out on Twitter and say the most ridiculous things, and you're like where are they getting this from? You kinda realize it comes with the territory. It's what you have to go through when you're on a reality show. There's gonna be the ones that absolutely love you and there's gonna be the ones who don't agree with you."
RT: So, the infamous "stripper rumors…" How did Joe and your family handle hearing those things about you? Was it stressful?
MG: "That, I have to say, was probably the least amount of stress. It was just so absurd. It was so ridiculous. Joe [Gorga] actually used to come see me when I bartended there. I bartended when I was in college." (Meliss seemed to have a brain lapse over when she graduated! Minor detail? Right?) "He knows! From the very start, it was just ridiculous. It seemed very set-up; it was set-up."
"There's usually no men at the Posche Fashion Show," Melissa continues. Oh, the Posche Fashion Show. The paragon of NJ society. How I wait on bated breath to be invited… Anyway: "They don't really come. There's usually maybe one here or there, but to have, like, this table of men that have nothing to do with any of us. That happened to be the table that he's at – Mike (the man who supposedly was Melissa's boss at Lookers) - and he walks over to me. It was very fishy."
"I could see maybe I would get nervous or frazzled if there was any truth, but there's zero truth. It just seemed so fake. It just wasn't nice. I have three little babies at home – why start rumors that I was a stripper?"
"I'm almost sure the stripper thing is the finale," Melissa hinted. As for how she is feeling about the situation then and now, "I was a little upset at the time. I felt so set-up. And the other girls saw it and they were getting so upset over it. We just didn't who to look at; we didn't know who to blame. And you know certain signs point to certain things and there's little clues here and there. But until I watch it play out on TV…"
"I'm sure there's things that I don't know yet, that I haven't seen, that other people have shot. Until I really see it play out I'm not going to point my finger at anyone. In the long run, it doesn't hurt me." Melissa added that, thankfully, her children are too young to see gossip on the internet, and no one at school has confronted her children about the allegations.
Melissa admits that the guy who confronted her about the allegations during the PFS, actually spoke to her sister-in-law Teresa Giudice. "He didn't even say it to my face," she reveals. "And supposedly [this conversation], it went on behind my back with my sister-in-law and it didn't happen in front of my face. I wish he would have said it to me so I could have been able to defend myself. I wasn't even able to say 'that's not true!'"
RT: Why do you think he confronted Teresa with these allegations? This is where it gets really juicy!
MG: "Well, that's the tricky part. That's the part that we're trying to figure out. How it was all so conveniently Teresa had met him earlier in the day and Teresa had went to a salon and got her hair done and he just happened to be there and he just happened to come to the Posche Fashion Show… I'm not pointing finger at anyone, because I don't have facts and that's not fair. But it just doesn't feel right. I just don't wanna believe that anyone would do that to me, especially someone who is part of my family."
Melissa is waiting to see how it plays out on TV to get answers, "Bravo has magic," she hints. "We'll see which way they play it." Melissa believes the entire thing started with a group of people who want to get on the show and want to be Housewives, so they were starting drama to catch Bravo's attention.
RT: The power of social media with reality television has been amazing, to say the least. How do you respond to some of things you hear floating around the blogs and twitter?
MG: "I block a lot of them. I don't block anyone who has an opinion. I get when there's someone who has an opinion. That's all understandable, but when they tweet me the c-word, and they don't know me. It's amazing that they come up with this stuff. I block the nasty, vulgar stuff."
"It seems like there's this one little group, so I hear, that is just nasty and they're huge Teresa fans. And what they don't get is – if you're such a big Teresa fan wouldn't you root for our family to fix it?" Melissa feels her fans are a little more low-key, because she isn't as insane as some of her castmembers (ahem… Teresa!) "I'm not that crazy one, I don't scream around, I don't flip tables – so I don't attract them; which is fine."
RT: It's interesting how emotionally attached viewers become to the show and the ladies… You guys put yourself out there and, to me, seem the most real.
MG: "It's really intense. There's a big misconception that there's problems between Joe and Teresa, between Teresa and I because of the show. That is so not true. Whatever you see going on, we were like this – for years. It has nothing to do with the show. And there are times during this season coming up that Teresa and I get along so perfectly and we have such a great time and that's what I'm looking forward for people to see."
"We are a true family. We go through ups and downs, and if you really, really pay attention – it's nothing that insane. We're bickering; it's very normal. It's not that crazy. I think people area making it seem much more than it actually is."
"To me, these are normal sister-in-law problems. The Christening, not normal, by no means would I say that's normal, but if you look beyond that to everything else that's going on; it's sister-in-law bickering. We're very passionate people."
"I love my family; I love Joe's family. I've given up so much of my family, at times, just to be with his family. People don't know the backstory and they see one hour of a twenty-four hour day."
"It's a job, I just live my life, I do what I wanna do. As long as me and Joe are good, as long as my family is good, there's nothing they can do to hurt me. Then I consider it good. There's success that comes from it too. And whether the cameras are there or not, we're not going to be perfect. Our family was like this before the cameras."
Melissa feels viewers find it more interesting to believe she and Joe came on the show to take Teresa down, but she insists producers reached out to her.
RT: What's next with your music?
MG: "The next song that comes out is called How Many Times and you'll see it in episode two. It's a ballad that I wrote for Joe. There's no effects. It's just raw voice singing. I'm so excited about it." (I'm afraid!) Melissa adds, that she truly loves to sing and that's not just a storyline for Housewives. "I'm not looking to become rich and famous. We're just trying it," she tells me. "Later on, it's a song called Rock Star, which is another party song. I do choreography with Chris Judd. He's amazing." Melissa adds that she will be doing a huge performance for 5,000 people that will be featured in the show! Whoa…
RT: What else can we expect from you this season?
MG: "I think you get to know Joe and I a little better. I think you get to see a lot more of Joe and I without the drama."
RT: What is the relationship with Teresa like right now?
MG: "Right now… we try. It's always, like, up and down. The adults don't see a lot of each other. I always go to everything that has to do with the kids. We're trying to get through something. There's some forgiving that needs to go on. Everybody's a little upset. We just need some time. But we'll get through it. I know we'll get through it. That's just how we are."
RT: Is there anything that you'd like viewers to know about you that we don't see on the show? Or is a misconception?
MG: "You have to push me first, I will never make the first move. I will never go and hurt you. You have to kinda and egg me on to get me going. I don't come in with problems. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I love everyone. I'm a chameleon. You could put me at dinner with Obama and I'd try to find a way to work it out and you could put me with the Rock of Love chicks and I'll get along with them too!"
"I'll never, ever throw the first punch. I think you'll see more of that on season four. I don't know what viewer's perception is."
RT: Sometimes viewers see what they want to see…
MG: "Exactly! They choose a side and then that person can do no wrong. When someone picks a team, they pick a team and they stick to it. There's a lot of loyalty going on – on both sides. If I ever see anyone tweeting really negatively towards my sister-in-law, I don't want that. I don't look for that. If you're gonna support me, support me. Don't hate on someone else; just support who you like."
"In the beginning it was not easy for me. They threw me in and they took every kinda sassy thing I said and put it into the first two episodes. Somehow I've managed; I'm doing great. I've gotten a really over-whelming good response. I came in with the odds against me."
RT: Has it been helpful to have Kathy [Wakile] join the show with you?
MG: "Yes, of course. We didn't know this world. I'm not from a world of hate. I'm happy for everyone. I've never felt that jealousy bug. We both were not like that, but to hear negative comments, at first I would take it to heart and so would she. And then as it went on, this is just what it is. We just started to ignore it."
Melissa also talked about how the rest of her co-stars helped her through the process of joining the show.
"To be honest, Jacqueline [Laurita] too – and Caroline [Manzo]. Everyone kinda put their hand out and was like be careful, watch what you say, and helped lead the way. It was nice. I got along great with everyone. They were all so helpful; they were all so sweet. Jacqueline, was like, 'Be ready…,' but at the same time, it was scary. It's part of the job. Teresa, was upset that I accepted the invitation to be on the show. So there was a lot of tension in the beginning. It wasn't a pleasant time, to be honest with you."
"Teresa and I were not speaking before the show. Do you think that would have happened at the Christening if we were a happy family? By no means did we go behind anyone's back to get on the show. Bravo is smart, they know exactly where you are. They did call me. It took me months to sign that paper, I did not want to do it."
"I told my husband I didn't want do it. I left it up to him, because I told him 'You know what, Joe – it's your family' Ultimately, Joe made the decision, because of the opportunity. He's a go-getter, just like his sister."
RT: How do you keep everything normal when you're in the middle of all of this?
MG: "You would be surprised, how normal it is over here. I have no extra people working for me, there's no extra housekeepers, there's nothing going on different. My children don't feel it, they don't know anything. My life has not changed at all. It's just the kind of work that I do."
** Reality Tea is currently working with Teresa Giudice to procure an interview. We are hopeful we will be able to speak to her personally very soon.
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