Following the major success of Mob Wives, it only makes sense that the VH1 network would expand the series with a spinoff!
Herein comes Mob Wives Chicago, which is set to début this Spring on the network! Even better, VH1 has also released the names and biographies of the five cast members.
The cast is pictured above, via the Chicago Suntimes, from left to right: Leah DeSimone, Renee Fecarotta Russo, Pia Rizza, Christina Scoleri and Nora Schweihs.
The press release states, Mob Wives Chicago will follow “the lives of five women allegedly connected to “The Outfit,” Chicago’s version of the Mob, as they bear the cross for the sins of their Mob-associated fathers. With lives that are right off the pages of a story book, each woman has chosen her own way to live her life in the city that was once home to Al Capone, sometimes in spite of and many times because of who her father is.”
So, what can we expect on this new series? According to VH1, “these women battle their friends, families and each other as they try to do what’s best for themselves and their children. But ultimately, it is the ghost of their fathers they battle, living and dead, as they try to overcome and persevere in the face of these men’s notorious legacies.”
Below are more cast photos and bios of each lady!
TELL US – THOUGHT ON THE CAST? ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT MOB WIVES CHICAGO?
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Last night’s Mob Wives was more about tricks than treats, with the women divided between two, that’s right, TWO competing Halloween parties. The horror!
Drita D’avanzo and Carla Facciolo are taking their kids to pick out some pumpkins for Drita’s upcoming Halloween party. Carla thinks it is going to be a fun, drama-free party based on the guest list. Both hope that Renee Graziano will attend, and for a little while she’ll be able to enjoy herself and shake off the funk of Junior going back to jail. Carla and Drita are worried about Renee and all the stress she unnecessarily takes on in her life.
Ramona Rizzo is dining with her friend Lina, who has known her since before she married her now ex-husband. She reveals that she got disowned by her father because she didn’t marry an FBI—full-blooded Italian. Ramona’s first husband was Arabic, and she was hoping that because he was from a different culture, she would be so far removed from the criminal lifestyle. She was wrong about her husband, just like she was wrong about her current boyfriend.
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It’s official. The world is probably about to end. Mob Wives‘ Karen Gravano’s book Mob Daughter, is currently number 18 on the New York Times bestseller list of hardcover nonfiction tomes. I kid, I kid…not about her achievement as an “author” but about the world ending. It can’t. I am still on the first installment of the Hunger Games, so the world is going to have to stick around long enough for me to read Karen’s book. And that could take years. And years.
Unfortunately, as it is with everyone who seeks fame, the backlash comes as quickly as the love. After hearing that some folks are boycotting an upcoming Barnes & Noble appearance to promote her book, SILive.com is reporting that Karen understands the discontent. After all, she’s a victim too, y’all. She claims to be on the same side of those who believe she is profiting off her father (Sammy the Bull)’s bad behavior (to put it mildly).
In an interview with Advance, Karen claims, “I’m on their side. I’ve said they were victims of this lifestyle, and the decisions that our fathers chose.” She continues, “I also lost a [my uncle] to this, so I just think it’s actually insulting at this point that they can sit there and call themselves victims but they don’t consider the loss that I felt — or the things that I went through because my father is Sammy the Bull.”
She’s referring to her father, Salvatore Gravano, who was known as Sammy the Bull. Sammy served as an underboss of the infamous Gambino crime family. He later turned tables and became an informant, sending John Gotti to federal prison until his death. Her book chronicles her life growing up on Staten Island and learning at young age about her father’s crime-spreeing ways.
As for people who think her book profits are blood money, Karen cites that no one seems to blame the Gotti Mafioso for their crimes. She believes her critics are solely focused on her father. She tells Advance, “I’m starting to become a little skeptical. Are they mad that he killed their fathers, or are they mad that [my father] cooperated?”
From there, Karen makes a bit of stretch. I know she probably wasn’t thinking fully about what she was saying, so I’ll give her a pass, but she compared the families of said mobsters to those who suffered on 9/11. If you think I’m wrong, please call me out, but that’s how I took her following statement. She says, “I never said families are not the victims — I will not say the men are victims. The people in 9/11 are victims. When you walk into something like that and you don’t know it’s going to happen, then you’re a victim.”
Karen does concede that her father has gotten what he deserves and is paying his dues. Rightfully, his situation doesn’t cause her to think any less of him. She admits, “I can’t help that I love my father, the same way that they love their fathers,” she said. “All of them chose the wrong path in their lives, the men.”
By “they,” Karen means others in the lifestyle who have profited off books which detail their stories. While she calls them “hypocrites” Karen is quick to state, “I didn’t write this book to have fights with them. I wrote this book to shed light on the life I went through.”
Karen also discusses her three years’ probation after pleading guilty in Arizona to helping her father sell ecstasy. She even claims her father’s past as her reasoning to seek criminal involvement. Karen cites the leniency she received in her youth from law enforcement for being Sammy the Bull’s daughter. That, coupled with the reaction to her father becoming an informant, shaped her behavior.
“I felt like you only get respect when you’re bad,” Karen asserts. “It made me feel like I want to be bad, and I turned my life over to crime.”
She continues, reasoning, “It made me who I am. I know why I made my decisions. I know why I did it. I don’t put blame on anyone else. I didn’t say, ‘I’m going to deal drugs because my father hurt me.’ I’m going to deal drugs because it’s a choice that I made.”
As for her involvement on Mob Wives, she is adamant that the idea for the book came before the show. When asked about the over-the-talk drama we see every Sunday night, Karen explains, “When we do scenes or we do shows where we’re not bickering, people find them boring.”
Furthermore, Karen defends a past comment relating Staten Island to the “breeding ground for the Mafia.” She counters, “That’s what I’ve seen. I didn’t mean the whole entire Staten Island. I think that if anything, we’re not representing a borough, we’re representing ourselves.” Staten Island thanks you for clarifying.
As for her father, Karen is quick to admit that she felt “betrayed and hurt” when he cooperated with the FBI. Her book, she hopes, is about family, saying, “I was looking at it as a little girl whose father just left her.”
Karen hopes that her true supporters will view the book in light of how she has persevered. “How can I take this and spin it into a positive, where it can work for me, instead of against me, for the rest of my life?” Karen ponders.
“I can’t deny who I am,” she continues. “I’m a hustler and if I’m hungry and if there’s food in front of me I’m going to take it and eat it.” And by food, she means Drita.
[Photo Credit: D. Salters/WENN.com]
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF KAREN’S INTERVIEW? IS SHE A VICTIM OR IS SHE PROFITING ON HER FATHER’S WRONGDOING? WILL YOU BE READING HER BOOK?
In today’s Mob Wives update, the castmate everyone seems to love to hate, Karen Gravano gave an interview to the Huffingtonpost.com about her new book, Mob Daughter: The Mafia, Sammy “The Bull” Gravano, and Me!
During her chat, she opens up about the drama on the show, her take on what she calls “the lifestyle,” and the rift between her and father due to her involvement with the VH1 hit.
Why did you decide to write this book?
I just felt like my life came completely full circle and I realized why everything happened. I realized who we are as a family. I realized who my father was. I understand why he got into the lifestyle he did. For a long time, I didn’t understand why he cooperated [with the authorities].
You write that you were furious that your dad cooperated with the police.
All my life I was taught that it was something you never do. I was thinking, “That’s something you taught me all my life not to do. Why are you doing it?” When we grew up, in our circles, that was the worst thing you could do. It wasn’t like I had friends who had normal fathers. All my friends’ fathers were gangsters. Everyone I was around was into that life. When he did it, I knew people would turn their backs on us. I didn’t know [it would be] to the extent that they did. I felt like my whole life was over.
Why do you think he cooperated?
Because he felt that he was double-crossed. He heard the Gotti tapes and once he listened to those tapes he realized that John double-crossed him. His first initial thoughts were, “I’m going to fight my case and when I get out I’m going to kill him.” You know that’s how it’s done in that lifestyle. But then he felt disgusted by the whole lifestyle, so he decided to turn his back and walk away.
Do you think “Mob Wives” glamorizes the gangster lifestyle?
The show was pitched to me to show what the women go through, the struggle. All of us are single moms because our partners are in prison.
The show also focuses on a lot of bickering between the cast members.
That’s why my book is so important to me. Again, when you’re on a show and there’s four women, you’re kind of caught up in the situation. I’m definitely not saying it’s other people’s fault because I definitely contribute to a lot of the drama. I felt like I came home and got sucked into it. I’m sick of the bickering, it’s not who I am. For me, I can be that person, but I feel like my story is so much bigger than that and I feel like out of all the women on the show, my father, Sammy the Bull, he’s the biggest name. The show isn’t scripted by any means, but you realize there are cameras and you kind of get caught up in the moment. It’s all very new to me to talk about the lifestyle, admitting it. We never said the word “mob” growing up.
Does your dad like the show?
He definitely didn’t like the name, but after he started watching it, he realized it’s about the women, so he was okay with it. But now he’s like, “I hate the fighting, I hate the arguing, the cursing,” so I’ve also had to deal with that. My father is totally disgusted and hasn’t spoken to me over the show. Hopefully I can make up for it.
So, he’s not talking to you now?
He’s angry, [but] it’s not like we’re never going to talk again. He’s really pissed off about the show. So he doesn’t want to talk to me right now. He’s just mad. He doesn’t like watching the show. He doesn’t like the arguing, the cursing.
Don’t you want to say, “Who are you to give me etiquette lessons?”
No, even though he did that, he always wanted better for me. It’s not like he’s not talking to me because he doesn’t want anything ever to do with me. He feels like I’m bigger than that. It’s not that he’s saying it because he’s judging me; he’s saying it because he cares about me. It’s two different things.
In other Mob Wives news, everyone’s favorite addition Angela “Big Ang” Raiola is channeling her inner Marilyn Monroe on a recent photo shoot for NEXT Magazine. VH1 shares some of her best shots from the spread on its site. I could swear in the third picture she’s humming “Happy Birthday, Mr. President!” but I can’t be sure. Enjoy those pictures below!
WHAT DO THINK OF RENEE’S INTERVIEW? DO YOU BELIEVE THAT SHE’S ABOVE THE DRAMA? COMMENTS ON BIG ANG’S PICTORIAL?
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After going under the knife last year for a full body makeover, Mob Wives star, Renee Graziano, is now showing off the labor of her plastic surgeon’s hard work!
The 41-year-old showed of her new slimmer body in a blue two piece bikini over the weekend as she visited Hollywood, Florida.
Renee, who was on vacay with her 17-year-old son AJ Pagan, was pictured lounging at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on Sunday.
Renee has recently spoken out against plastic surgery after experiencing some serious life-threatening complications following hers last summer. If you recall, Renee lost six pints of blood and had to stay in the hospital for over 15 days during what she has described as, her near death experience.
Last night’s Mob Wives had the mobsters coming clean to their lady loves about their prior bad behavior. It was quite the confessional!
The episode begins with Drita D’avanzo heading back into the boxing ring. Her trainer is upset to hear that she’s been fighting again. Drita believes she could curb her street fighting if she was able to rid douchebags in her life. Her memory of beating up d-bags extends all the way back to kindergarten. Her temper is in no way to blame for her penchant for hitting other people. Okay.
Karen Gravano and Ramona Rizzo meet for dinner. As much as they are willing to invite Carla Facciolo into their inner circle, they blame Drita for brainwashing her. The two respect the fact that Carla is loyal to a fault, even if it’s to Drita. Karen and Ramona plan to change that. Ramona chalks it up to the double-D factor…no Drita, no drama. After all my time watching this fiasco, I can honestly say that Drita may not be the only cast member who stirs the pot.
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As you know on Mob Wives, one day your archenemies, one day your having shots with the woman who was just screaming in your face. One afternoon you’re lunching with Big Ang (don’t I wish!), the next your ex-husband becomes a government snitch against your father. Such is life on Staten Island.
No one knows that better than the matriarch of the series, Renee Graziano. She’s been up and down as of late, with her horrible plastic surgery ordeal and her attempted reconciliation with ex-husband Hector “Junior” Pagan who turned tails on Renee’s dad as an FBI informant. Renee is quick to say that her show isn’t just about the mafia drama, but about showing others how to cope with extreme hardship.
Renee insists that she wouldn’t be on the show if she didn’t think it could help others. She tells Naughty but Nice Rob via the Huffingtonpost.com, “I remember the day I gave up drinking because that was the day that my father was arrested. Anthony Graziano is his name and he just came home [from prison]. My ex-husband got him arrested [again] — trust me.” Yikes. Renee gave up the Chardonnay? I guess we’ll see that next season. More power to her!
Speaking about Junior’s extremely disloyal conduct, Renee admits, “The truth of the matter is, it is the ultimate betrayal. I don’t think it could have gone any worse than that. It is very hard and heart-wrenching to watch my son go through this. For me, I am strong.”
Continuing, the tormented reality star adds, “What makes [me] so strong? I think it’s the truth and I know that sounds silly to people, but I think God really put me on this earth to learn and teach so I think [H]e is letting me go through everything I have asked for. I believe I am here to help someone else and I think that’s the greatest gift.” Amen to that! I do hate Renee has been sidelined by so many awful situations. I do think that if anyone can handle the drama and strife, though, it’s her.
Thankfully, Renee has one thing going for her…her friends are reconciling their differences in order to appease her because of how much they value her friendship. The blog HollywoodLife.com spoke with Ramona Rizzo about her recent confrontation with cast mate Carla Facciolo. The women have been going at each other all season to anyone who will listen…except each other. However, on Sunday’s episode, Carla and Ramona had a terse meeting that ended in what appeared to be “frienemy” status.
In a an interview with the site, Ramona elaborates, “Whatever you need to do to smooth the way so that you know at the end of the day you made it better where everyone can be in a room together, that’s all that matters. I knew we were possibly going to have to be together because of Renee.”
Citing the spa party, Ramona tells the blog that she never wants others to feel uncomfortable or unwelcome in her presence. Of that horrendous excuse for a party, she recalls, “I said ‘I don’t want anybody to ever have to say they don’t want to come to Renee’s house because I’m there.’”
Apparently, Ramona figured out that fighting with someone you’ve really never spent time with is just a drain of your own personal energy. She admits, “It just came to the point like enough. Let’s just do this. Let’s just be friends. Just nip it already or just go for it. I told her what I knew that she had said. We’ve moved on from it.”
According to Ramona, the pair is far from being biffles, but they are able to spend time together sans shouting, showdowns and table flips. While they will likely never be seen getting manicures amid giddy girl talk, Ramona reports, “We’re cordial to each other. When we see each other, we act like ladies. She has no bearing on my life and I have no animosity towards her.”
The bottom line for Ramona is that she’s happy the pair have declared a truce. Of their face-off meeting, Ramona remembers, “It went well. Honestly I didn’t expect it to go any other way. I didn’t expect Carla to get up and be crazy. If you talk, you can work out your problems. Carla is not a person that is going to raise her hand and neither am I unless someone is going to raise them to me. It went the way I expected it.” That’s good too, because I have seen Ramona once raise her hand to someone…on a balcony…at my main main Derek Tabacco. All’s well that ends well, of course, and it’s nice to hear these ladies are getting along.
On this Sunday’s episode, Drita D’avanzo has to face her toughest critic, daughter Aleeya. She’s curious about the things most young girls her age are wondering…like does mom get into fist fights and what is a “rat” if it’s not an animal who lives in the sewers and is often subjected to science experiments? Thankfully, Drita is saved by the bell from this inquisition when the phone rings…or is she? Watch a preview clip below!
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF RENEE’S INTERVIEW? THOUGHTS ON RAMONA AND CARLA’S PEACE TREATY? DO YOU THINK IT WILL LAST? IF SO, HOW LONG?
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After that pesky little football game sidelined the Mob Wives last week, the ladies were back last night with extra drama to make up for their absence.
The episode opens with Renee Graziano speaking with ex-husband Junior Pagan about how she feels an impending sense of doom. However, she believes it is because of her loony friends having such heated arguments with each other. She wasn’t too keen on hearing that Ramona has been talking smack about her all over town. Renee is also stressed about Junior’s upcoming indictment. The lady has a lot on her plate.
Drita D’avanzo discusses the state of her relationship with Lee with her daughter. She brings up the “D” word, and while I am glad she’s talking about this to her daughter, it is irking me that she’s doing it on camera. Her daughter tells her that Lee has promised to take all of the family on a vacation and she’d like to go to Hawaii. Drita gets choked up by this revelation.
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