By Veronica Dudo
In 2006 Bravo TV launched a new reality TV series, The Real Housewives of Orange County which became an instant hit. The reality TV show documents the lives of a group of housewives living and working in Orange County, CA. Since then, the network has expanded the brand airing multiple spin-offs such as The Real Housewives of New Jersey, The Real Housewives of New York City, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, The Real Housewives of Miami and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
The ladies have taken their show on the road with the first ever live tour debuting over the weekend inside the Circus Maximus Theater at Caesars Casino in Atlantic City. Housewives Vicki Gunvalson from The Real Housewives of Orange County, Caroline Manzo from The Real Housewives of New Jersey, LuAnn de Lesseps from The Real Housewives of New York City and Cynthia Bailey from The Real Housewives of Atlanta dished about shooting their reality TV shows, their personal lives and what it’s like having the chance to meet their fans in-person.
Vicki Gunvalson from The Real Housewives of Orange County
Welcome to the East Coast! Is this your first time in Atlantic City?
“Thanks! This is my first time in New Jersey–it’s great.”
The reaction from fans has been very welcoming tonight and everyone wants you to do your famous “Whoo-Hoo!”
“I know! Caroline’s (Manzo) like why are they doing that? And I’m like, it was something I did season one that just stuck with me and so you just got to do it! (Laughs)”
You’re an original housewife from Bravo’s first edition–will you be back next season?
“The first cast-member–yes, we’re filming right now season seven.”
You went through a lot during season six of The Real Housewives of Orange County including your divorce with Donn Gunvalson how are things going in your life now?
“Donn and I are remaining amicable and friends. Truthfully, it’s probably the best thing for both of us; we’re doing mediation in our divorce which has been very good for both of us because there’s not any fighting, we’re amicably dividing all of our assets–we’ve got a lot of homes and a lot of assets so we just have to do it right. We don’t want attorney’s to come in and ruin us, we’ve worked really hard for everything we have so I think we’re being responsible and not doing things foolishly so that’s where my life is right now and I’m dating a man from the south–from Mississippi and I’m in love and everything’s going good.”
Any changes in the cast?
“Peggy’s (Tanous) not going to be joining us this year so we have a new cast member–you have to watch what happens with her. I just met her a couple of times so I think it’s going to be ok.”
How important has it been to represent a strong business woman on the show?
“Well, definitely I’m a strong woman, I’m the breadwinner I always have been I raised my kids on my own financially I think women need to start taking care of themselves and I think if they don’t they’re going to be blindsided by divorce or death. You can’t be dependent upon somebody else in this life it’s too hard so I just encourage every woman to have a platform and have a purpose.”
Caroline Manzo from The Real Housewives of New Jersey
You’re currently filming season four–how is that going?
“It is going as you would expect it to be going (laughs). It will meet all of your expectations; let me put it that way.
The live tour has brought together housewives from all of the brands; do you normally get the chance to spend time with the other ladies? Do I talk to them on a daily basis? Of course not because our schedules just don’t allow it but when we’re together we enjoy each other’s company and we’ll tweet back and forth here and there so it’s like a sisterhood once you’re in the franchise so we kind of keep an eye on each other to see what’s going on.”
Last season you started a call-in and advice radio show in NJ have you been taping that on a regular basis?
“I cannot reveal–I’m happy let’s put it that way.”
You do a lot of charity work; how important is it to be able to use your celebrity status to help out those in need?
“Well, that’s amazing. All my life growing up my dad always gave to St. Jude and always gave to the church and we were always that house that had the open door policy for the stray aunt or uncle or cousin that didn’t have anywhere to go you know fell on hard times and that’s what I’ve known all my life and that’s what we teach our children so to have this moment in time–I can help people on a huge scale and when life is good to you, you have to give back and be good to everybody else.”
LuAnn de Lesseps from The Real Housewives of New York City
Are you excited to be kicking-off for The Real Housewives Live Tour?
“Yes, very excited to be here on the tour, love the casino–I love to gamble and it’s a great way to stay connected to the fans so really fun.”
What does it mean to you to have so much support tonight from fans?
“It’s great! We started this show, we’re going into our fifth season so it’s very exciting, you know there’s been a big switch up with the cast of New York City so I’m very sad to see Jill and Kelly go and the women but I’m excited for the new season and I’ll miss them.”
Do you know who your new cast members will be for season five?
“Well, there’s three new girls that I think are cast and I don’t know that much more, I’m going to be meeting them soon because we’re going to start shooting.”
How are things going with you and your boyfriend Jacques Azoulay?
“Oh, Jacques–Jacques is great! And I’m looking at colleges with Victoria and so a lot of exciting things coming up for me I don’t know about the music thing, we’ll see. I mean how can I out-do “Money Can’t Buy You class” and “Chic C’est La Vie” so we’ll see but a lot of great things coming up this season, so I’m very excited.”
Cynthia Bailey from The Real Housewives of Atlanta
How is the live tour going?
“I love it because it’s the only opportunity that we’ve had to interact with our fans–it’s usually just cast mates–and then we just watch the show with you guys so this is really cool because we really get to see the people that really make sure we have jobs.” (Laughs)
You’re celebrating your one year wedding anniversary with Peter—are you enjoying married life?
“Yes, one year in the can despite what the naysayers had to say–Kim Zolciak–we made it one year, we’re very happy, it’s a marriage so we’re working it out. This season’s going to be I think it’s going to be our best season for Atlanta. For me personally, it’s not my first time on the playground so I kind of learned a lot first season so you’ll see a more vocal Cynthia this season. I’m opening up my own modeling school which you guys will see the whole birthing of that whole situation; Peter’s opening up a small bar–we lost our restaurant last season so we’re just rebuilding and married and my sister’s like drama her and Peter are going at it; me and NeNe (Leakes) are friends and that’s drama and it’s going to be good.”
Has your modeling school opened?
“It hasn’t officially opened yet we’ve been shooting the whole time, we’re actually still shooting; to be honest I expect it to do very, very well and I think by being on the show as well obviously that’s going to just rock it out of here but it’s something that I always wanted to do so I’m glad that I have the show to like help me boost it up. I’m dealing with some of the young kids as well I also have a pageant component and I’m doing acting–the whole thing because the thing is not everybody can be a model so it’s a school of fashion so if you can’t really be a model because that’s total genetics really at the end of the day you either have it or you don’t–let’s face it. This is how to be a make-up artist, fashion stylist, anything in the industry so I just want to give that information back being a veteran for 25 years.”
BUZZ @ THE BEACH
Foe the October 7 weekend, Caesar’s Casino will host its first-ever professional video gaming tournament with NBA star Gordon Hayward. The Borgata welcomes Adele, Whoopi Goldberg, along with FX’s The League Live with Nick Kroll, Jon LaJoie, Stephen Rannazzisi and Paul Scheer. The Godfathers of Comedy have a show at Harrah’s Casino while Bobby Rydell performs at the Hilton.