Between the series, their personal blogs, and the various tabloids they frequent, you'd think you already knew everything about these women. But the interviews—with cast members and producers—in The Real Housewives Get Personal contains behind-the-scenes satchels of gold. While the size of the book is a little bit cumbersome to be the perfect "beach read," its content is exactly that. The text pages—like the forward by Andy Cohen, interviews with Housewives past and present, and back stories about how each incarnation of the show was developed and cast—are broken up with big colorful pages full of elaborate jokes and infographics, making it an easier read for the kind of people who prefer to watch television. Take this page, for example, which compares the breasts of each member of the Orange County cast to a kind of fruit.
Or this service-y breakdown of the ethnic makeup and financial standing of the town of Franklin Lakes, NJ (where most of the Housewives of New Jersey reside). The fact that it costs $42 for a mani/pedi at Chateau proves that cheap nail care is one of the only financial benefits of living in NYC.
While the book is a little outdated—it was obviously completed before Kelly's Caribbean freak out and Bethenny and Jill's falling out (although Kelly does talk about bullies and uses the lemons/lemonade analogy correctly)—it's still highly entertaining and packed with actual weirdo quotes from these women. There's so much to read and look at, that fans of the franchise could find themselves cracking up at just a little corner of the table of contents.
The behind-the-scenes tidbits are really interesting. For example, the show started—with Orange County—because Executive Producer Scott Dunlop was a "disenchanted" Coto de Caza resident. His neighbor was Jeana Keough. He decided to put together a "semi-improvised sitcom" called Behind the Gates with Jeana and a few other women. He pitched it to Bravo, which they retooled into The Real Housewives. Slade and Jo were cast on the show because they were attending a fund raising party in the neighborhood and Dunlop offered anyone who would donate enough money a cameo on the show. Slade immediately cut a check for $2500.
Producers say that Ramona Singer's "shooting ratio" is very high because "as long as she's in front of the camera, there's almost a guarantee that the scene is going to make it on the air."
DeShawn Snow left after the first season of Atlanta to attend divinity school.
Producers put together the cast of New Jersey after finding Jacqueline Laurita at her salon—Chateau the Art of Beauty—and she recommended all the other cast members.
Teresa Guidice doesn't like Bruce Springsteen or Bon Jovi.
But the best part is definitely the exclusive interviews with the women, with some of them opening up even more about their personal lives, while others just talk shit on the other cast members. Here are some highlights:
Teresa on Danielle
"She came to my shore house and acted inappropriately. Her boyfriend Steve's lying on the recliner…she goes and lies right on top of him and sticks her tongue in his mouth. My older daughter and Danielle's two daughters were sitting right there on the couch staring at her…And then she had sex with him that whole night and told me all about it the next day. She leaves my house and then doesn't even take the sheets off the bed. She's a pig."
Caroline on Danielle
"What Danielle said about giving out a phone number on Andy's show was bullshit. She's a disgusting human being. She's full of shit. It's not that simple…For me to get to that point, it's more than a phone number. No comment."
Danielle on what she did to make Caroline cry
"You can quote me. Dina used to work at Nisha Nails—where I get my nails done—for seventeen years. The owner of Nisha Nails is Angela. Angela's brother was Dina's first husband. Angela came to me after the finale, before the reunion, and asked me if my ex-husband had to sign for my children to do the show. And I said, 'Yes.' She said, 'Well, how come my brother's name got forged?'…So I have her a phone number to call the production company…He had to sign for his daughter to do the show, but he didn't get asked. And he didn't want her on the show. According to Angela."
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