THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF DALLAS -- Season:1 -- Pictured: Stephanie Hollman -- (Photo by: Michael Larsen/Bravo)

Exclusive Interview! Stephanie Hollman Discusses Keeping It Real On The Real Housewives Of Dallas


She really is the girl next door! The Real Housewives of Dallas has found a keeper in Stephanie Hollman, who is bringing a little bit of “real” to Reality TV, yet managing to entertain us along the way. All without screaming in another woman’s face, demanding apologies from people for 16 straight weeks, or forcing her “journey” down our throats. How does she do it? According to Stephanie, who I got a chance to chat with this week, it’s about being who you are – cameras or no cameras. Below, Stephanie breaks down her reality, whether it’s true friendship with Brandi Redmond, firm boundaries with LeeAnne Locken, or how her spiritual upbringing keeps her sane today.  

How has life changed since your debut on RHOD?  “I will say it’s been very hard. Even before the first episode came out, people were harsh. But now I’ve been getting 95% positive feedback from Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. I stay off of other websites because I feel like people will take time to be negative rather than positive.”


Who is the most genuine on and off camera?  Brandi Redmond. I talked to her this morning and told her, ‘You just let it all hang out!’ She doesn’t hold back. She’s let people into parts of her life that aren’t so pretty, which is hard because you can get a lot of criticism. It takes a really strong, vulnerable person to do that.”

“You know, I think Americans, we relate to people who are struggling. Especially on these shows where you are married with kids and having problems in your marriage, like all of us do, or our kids going crazy. Marriage is hard, and having children is just an added element. Travis and I have to work on our marriage because life can just become about getting stuff done, and children, and work. I mean, my kids throw tantrums. My life’s not perfect. I think we, as women, need to give ourselves permission to not have a ‘perfect’ life. We’re too hard on ourselves.”


How has the show affected your friendship with Brandi?  “I would say it’s the same. Whenever you have a microscope on anything, I think you have to put more work into it. But with the show, and with her showing some hard times, I’m always calling and checking in on her. It’s hard when you have people you don’t know wanting to tell you what to do in your family and your marriage. I mean, I was on Twitter yesterday and some lady was calling my children ‘idiots,’ and I’m like wait! They’re 3 and 5! They’re children! It took all I could do to not get online and tell her what I thought.” 

“But between Brandi and I, it’s brought us closer together because we are the only ones that understand what each other are going through. I think we hold on to each other a little tighter now. We’re each other’s biggest cheerleaders too. I want good things for her. There’s no competitiveness with us. We’re both happy for each other’s successes, and we’re equally there for each other when we’re struggling.”

How do you reconcile real life with the need to bring drama to the show? “It’s kind of sad. I get criticized all the time for not having a backbone, but I’m like, how does being nice and caring about other people’s feelings a bad thing? I have to remember that my children may look at this when they’re older one day. Maybe I’m not perfect, but I want them to see that at least I tried to do the right thing.”

What would viewers be surprised to learn about you?  “With the show’s emphasis on charity, I wish they would have let me highlight my background in social work. I was in social services for 6 years before I met my husband, and I wish I could’ve talked about that so people don’t just think I hang out all the time talking about pooping and farting!” 

“They [the show] made it about charity, but didn’t really make it about the important things in life. They made it about charity in a negative sense too, with one woman telling everyone else how she thinks the charity world works. A lot of us are in the charity world, but we’re just not as vocal about it because when you make it about yourself, you’re defeating the reason why people do the work.” 

You’re talking about LeeAnne and her charity obsession, right?  “Yeah. I think her comments gave organizations and people who do the work a bad name. It made it look like charity was this exclusive world, but it’s work that anyone can be involved in.”

“I worked for Head Start, and at night worked at the Madonna House, a shelter for pregnant homeless women. A lot of them were domestic violence victims, which was why they were homeless. We helped them get back on their feet through their pregnancy, get away from their partner if needed. It was good. Really good. And I wish they [the show] would have focused more on things like that if they were going to go the ‘charity’ route.”

Are you surprised by the show’s editing, knowing what was filmed versus the package delivered to viewers?  “I was a little surprised because sometimes they minimized things that happened. I do bring that up in the reunion. At one point when I was yelled at [by LeeAnne], they kind of took away what had happened in the beginning. Sometimes they make edits to make the storyline better, but it can get kind of hurtful when you’ve lived it.” 

“I told our producer I’m very grateful that the show portrayed me for who I am, but I never really liked the idea of RHOD going so heavy on charity work because I really feel like it’s such a personal thing. If we do a season 2, I hope they cut back on that. We are not the voice of ‘Dallas Charity,’ nor should we be.”


What does RHOD bring to the Housewives franchise that is different from the other cities?  “You know, I think there is a comedic spin our city has that the other’s don’t have. Even the drama is so ridiculously silly. All of us are a little goofy and self deprecating, and I think it shows on screen. And I hope it’s a show you can watch, then go to bed afterwards. That you don’t have to watch something happy to get out of a bad head space. Because I’ve watched Housewives shows before where I have to literally stay up and watch Comedy Central afterwards for 30 minutes just to calm down! It can get so heavy.”

You gave us a peek into your family of origin, who brought you up in an Evangelical Christian church. What is their reaction to this show?  “My family is so, so sweet. I am not from a wealthy family. My grandpa is a greeter at Walmart, and a lot of the reason I did this show is to help him out financially. It sounds awkward, but my husband works for our family – I don’t want him to have to take care of my family. I just wanted to make my own money to help my grandparents out.”

“My grandpa is still on his feet all day, greeting people in a small town in Oklahoma, but he’s told everybody at Walmart about it [the show]. He called me the other day and said, ‘Your ratings are gonna go way up because everybody at Walmart is watching your show!’ (laughs) I was like, aww! I don’t think that’s how it works, but thank you!”

“My mom prays a lot. She’s a really good sounding board. Sometimes, I will have her watch the episodes with me, especially if I am struggling writing my blog. Even before taping the reunion, I called her and we prayed. My family is very religious, but they’re not the kind of religious people who turn their back on you if you fall. They’re very forgiving and very loving. They want me to be happy. And for a long time in my life, I wasn’t. I can even say that going into this show, I lived my life for everybody else’s happiness, not my own. I was a people pleaser to the point where it was unhealthy. But my mom and family literally took off work during the reunion to pray together. I mean, they just believe in some prayer!”


What’s Travis’ reaction to how he’s been portrayed on the show?  “He’s been really supportive. He knew going in that they needed a little bit of ridiculousness. But he’s been a team player. I feel like I’m more protective of him than he is of himself. He doesn’t really care what people think of him, which is so weird because I’m so opposite. He thinks this is a good thing for me because I kind of gave up my career and social life when we had children.” 

“We also got therapy the entire time while we are filming, which helps too. And we still do because things will come up in the episodes, and it’s good to have a neutral party help us discuss things.”

Has Travis’ micromanaging decreased?  “It has! Honestly, this show has been one of the best things that’s happened to my marriage – even if that’s sick and twisted! It gave us a new perspective. He’s such a manager, and sometimes I don’t have a voice. I would get mad at him for something I would never acknowledge or talk about. But now we both look at life differently. He watches it and sees how he needs to be softer with me, and I need to speak up for what I want instead of thinking he’s going to read my mind.”

“And with the women on the show, I really need to work on boundaries.”

Speaking of boundaries, do you feel like you have boundaries in place with LeeAnne now?  “I think you will see at the reunion especially that there are some boundaries. And filming with LeeAnne, I saw her as somebody that was very scary to me. I didn’t trust her, and I don’t get into relationships with friends unless I feel like it’s a safe, healthy place for me to be. I’m not still completely there with her.” 

“At first I thought I would hurt LeeAnne if I said what I wanted because she seemed like such a lost, hurt, emotionally unstable person. Then I realized that if I didn’t set boundaries up, she would take advantage of me. With LeeAnne, I noticed there is definitely a pattern. She gets upset, then lashes out, screams and makes a big scene, then becomes apologetic. But then she puts the blame on her past. It’s like a circle that keeps going and going. And it’s no way to live.”

Any teasers for tonight’s episode?  “Tonight’s episode shows a really horrible experience that happened off camera concerning Cary Deuber. And it’s the one thing that made me kind of done with LeeAnne. Tonight is the night where I finally draw a line in the sand with her. It was just so abusive, and that is something I do not tolerate with friends or any relationships.”


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