Yesterday Reality Tea had the opportunity to chat with Victoria Gotti about her feelings about reality TV then and now, her decision to return to reality TV in Growing Up Gotti: 10 Years Later, and what’s changed in her life after reality TV. Victoria also shared an update on her sons’ lives.
Victoria was candid, unapologetic, a dedicated mother, and exactly what you see on TV – which was a refreshing. She was adamant that the ‘blame the editors’ adage so many reality stars cling to is ridiculous, but she also admitted that reality TV has changed over the years. I take it her recent experience on Real Housewives Of New Jersey led her to that conclusion.
Victoria is excited to show viewers how her family has grown since we saw them on Growing Up Gotti, and she maintains that her experiences on that show, and on other reality shows, have been a positive ones, which is why she decided to open her life up the cameras again for an update.
Quoting Al Pacino from The Godfather III, Victoria joked, “‘Just when I think I’m out, they call me back in.’ No pun intended. But I think once you do it, that’s it!” Victoria says she has “no regrets” about participating in the original incarnation of Growing Up Gotti – and neither do her sons. “I loved it! When I was asked to come back, do this, I didn’t hesitate.”
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Growing Up Gotti: 10 Years Later will also feature Victoria’s larger-than-life sons Carmine, Frank, and John. “We all have grown, the boys astoundingly so, but myself as well, and I think everyone’s going to be pleasantly surprised,” says Victoria of the show’s premise.
Victoria says at first her sons were “ambivalent” about participating in the update, but ultimately decided to sign on. “As much as they won’t admit it, they missed it,” Victoria shares. “We sat down as a family, we decided as a family, and then did it. And afterward, I spoke with each one of them – everybody loved it. They were happy with what they did, they were happy with the end result, and I think overall they were really glad they did it.”
They also decided doing the show made sense from a professional standpoint. “We could do what we love with a purpose,” Victoria explains. “It’s a real big gift for me; a special gift. It not only gives me the excitement that I love in my life, to do what I wanna do – write, be in the entertainment industry on the other side – it gives you kind of a bird’s eye view and then to be able to do it with my children, it’s incredible!”
Reflecting on why reality TV has been such positive experience for her, Victoria reveals that it all comes down to working with her family.”I love, love, loved traveling and working with the boys. For me, I have what a lot of people don’t have, I have not photo albums of my children growing up, I have a series.”
As for what Carmine, Frank, and Joey are up to now they currently own their own steel plant business. They aren’t “out there partying,” Victoria says.”They’re very hard working kids. The business works – it’s a very successful business. They don’t always see eye-to-eye, but they generally get along, they know what it takes to make it work.”
“It worries me,” Victoria does admit, “because I think all they do is work. I’m proud of them for that, but I do worry – there’s a lot more to life.”
Initially Victoria’s sons weren’t to be a focus on Growing Up Gotti, which was planned to be about her work in the entertainment industry as a correspondent and columnist, combined with her being infamous mobster John Gotti‘s daughter. Per the show’s original goals, Carmine, Frank, and John were to be “background noise in my crazy, busy life, as the network phrased it, ‘as a socialite’ – they felt that was a glamorous enough life, and then coupled that with who I am, my father’s persona, they thought was exciting enough,” recounts Victoria.
A “cameo” from the boys during the first episode took off with viewers. “And Boom! It’s the birth of a whole new show,” Victoria recalls. “It was a complete revamping from what I had signed on for – I had a little bit of reservation in the beginning. My biggest concern was if I saw any one kid where he was kinda floating off the ground, even an inch, I would be there to pull him right back down. That’s not the way my children were raised and that’s not the way they were going to be raised. Having said that, having done that – looking at them now: No regrets.”
Victoria feels that one reason her family was able to be successful with reality TV is that they never let the show define them. “We’ll never be that family – I’ll never be that person – that will come out, and I know a buncha people that have done it who I can name off the top of my head, ‘Oh my God, the reality show ruined my life.’ or ‘Oh my God – we went here and we did this and we were broke and my kids went amok…’ We never looked at this as some sort of future or financial gain. We did it because I, at the time, decided to do it.”
“I don’t believe in that whole thing ‘reality cameras ruined my life.’ Hey – somebody made that decision,” Victoria adds. “We are all responsible for our own choices in life, good or bad, and no one forces anyone to do anything for any other purpose, whether it be money, whether it be fame, whether it be some sort of gain. So, every decision I make in my life, I try to weigh out very cautiously. And every decision I make, even now, while they’re much older, I ask myself, ‘How will this affect my kids?’ and then, ‘How will this affect me?'”
“I feel like people look for scapegoats too, ‘Oh no, it wasn’t us – we’re not the weak-minded people, it was the reality show, it was those guys, it was everybody else but us,'” Victoria states. “Take responsibility – it was you, it was your family maybe, everybody has trouble, everybody is human, no one is perfect, there is no normal today, but the labeling elsewhere – I don’t believe in that.”
And Victoria knows firsthand about labeling – she has been fighting a battle against her father’s legacy her entire career, and how that reflects how people view her. Victoria doesn’t think it will ever be cleared up. “I can show you who I am, what I do and that’s it. They’re always going to suspect you – I can’t change that.”
Victoria does concede that reality TV has changed over the years. “When we did it… it was before anyone else did it – and there was nothing we were ashamed of. There was nothing in our lives at the time that we were hiding from cameras – it was what it was, good and bad. It just was… reality,” Victoria describes. “Today, I think they’ve gone just way too far in some outlets.”
Despite enjoying her experiences, Victoria hasn’t quite decided whether or not she would commit to full season of a reality show. “That depends,” she said. “We’ve been discussing it. If it’s right, if it’s the right project, the right time…”
Outside of reality TV, Victoria is currently working on another novel, which will be out in the Spring. She is also currently working on a different TV show, but isn’t permitted to give away any details!
TELL US – WILL YOU BE TUNING IN TO GROWING UP GOTTI: 10 YEARS LATER?