Five daughters from various “Real Housewives” franchises, Briana Culberson, 25; Victoria de Lesseps, 17; Pandora Sabo, 26; Tierra Fuller, 26; and Lauren Manzo, 24; shared their thoughts with Glamour on being in the spotlight of reality TV with their moms and the “Real Housewives” fame game.
Glamour asked, "What if you didn’t necessarily want to be on TV but kinda had no choice?"
“The Real Housewives of New Jersey’s” Lauren Manzo, daughter of Caroline Manzo, talked a little about her attitude and body image, “When the show started to become more popular, I had these younger girls say to me on Twitter and Facebook, 'I look up to you; I love the fact that you’re not a size 2.' I said to myself, You know what? All these other women are struggling. Let’s put this on the show.”
In regard to her mom’s criticism of her weight on camera, Lauren says that what really upset her was not her mother’s words, but people going after her mom for saying them. “When she said on the show, “I’m not going to tell Lauren she looks perfect when she needs to lose a few pounds,” that didn’t bother me. What upset me is when people wrote and said, ‘Your own mother thinks you’re disgusting.’ Not because they’re calling me fat but because they’re going after my mom.”
On getting caught up in being a reality star, Lauren confided that she considered getting married on TV, but changed her mind. “I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t get caught up in being on TV for a little bit. I said to my boyfriend, Vito, a while ago, ‘I found a ring that I want. Go buy it, and we’ll get married on TV.’ And then I said to myself, ‘That’s not what I want right now. It doesn’t make sense to get married. I need to become a woman on my own. And I don’t think I could do that right now with a ring on my finger.’”
Pandora Sabo, daughter of Lisa Vanderpump of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” says that she’s more of a private person than her mother. “I feel like my life is filled with a bunch of one-sided conversations. Everybody knows everything about me, and I know nothing about anybody else.”
When her then boyfriend, Jason Sabo, proposed to her, Pandora said she had to decide what she would and would not share with the Bravo audience.
“I’m a more private person than my mother is. So when Jason proposed, we had to think about how we were going to do this wedding. My mother’s life is on television, but mine really isn’t. I didn’t mind that the planning was on TV, because, to be honest, it’s quite nice to have a record of that. Who else gets to relive picking out their invitations or their bachelorette party?”
“When it came to the actual day, my mother said, ‘However you want to do it is OK.’ I didn’t let Bravo film any of the wedding. I had a regular videographer like many people do. I edited the footage, then chose what I wouldn’t mind people seeing, and we gave eight minutes of it to Bravo to use.”
Pandora also says she won't be signing on for a reality TV show anytime soon. "I wouldn’t sign up for a reality show myself. I didn’t even get through watching the whole episode of the season-two reunion. It’s hard to see someone you love being attacked. I’ve had urges to fight my mother’s battles for her, but she doesn’t like me to. She can handle herself very well.”
Newly married Briana Culberson, daughter of Vicki Gunvalson of “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” said that her sudden reality TV fame was crazy and shared what it was like to Google herself during season one.
“The first season, we were kind of shocked because you would Google our names and we’d come up. That was huge. At first we were like, ‘Why are we so important?’ Then people would say, ‘Brianna looks like this’ or ‘Vicki’s fat,’ and we’d all be crying about it. Since the first season we haven’t looked at any blogs. I try not to read the press or dig around and see what everyone’s opinion is of us.”
Regarding the downside of being a reality star, Briana says that it was difficult to watch her parents’ divorce play out on TV after having experienced it firsthand months before.
“I’ve seen every episode that’s aired. It’s hard to watch them. Nobody likes to hear their own voice, and it’s weird to see yourself on TV. It’s really tough to see the family things replayed, like my parents split. I’d experienced it six or eight months before, then had to relive it on TV, and that’s when it becomes public. People are approaching me, saying, ‘I can’t believe your parents are getting divorced!’ and it reopens the wound."
As far as making a living off her reality TV fame, Briana makes it clear that she’s a nurse, first. “I’m not looking to make my own fame off this show. It’s just not me. I’m an E.R. nurse, and that’s my priority. I don’t want people to look at me differently. I’m just Briana the nurse.”
Victoria de Lesseps, daughter of Countess LuAnn de Lesseps of “The Real Housewives of New York City” shared how the show affected her school life.
“At my school, everyone’s really down-to-earth. But before, when I was at boarding school, there were some instances when I thought teachers were harder on me because of the show. My roommate would ask for extra help and I would ask for extra help, and I wouldn’t get it. The teacher would make comments to me–nothing bad–but I’d notice it. I can feel when there’s a weird tension“.
And how has the show affected her social life? “In a way, it has made it easier for me to see who’s really my friend. This guy friend of mine, we kissed once, and he said, “I could introduce you to my friends and tell them you’re from the show.” I was like, “That’s the first thing you’d tell your friends about me?” I’ve never had any boy luck from the show. Maybe guys are just intimidated.”
Tierra Fuller, daughter of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta’s” Shereé Whitfield, admits to getting a little upset while watching the show at times, “I find myself getting very angry when I watch the show. Then I’ll talk to my mom, and she’s like, ‘You know, you can’t get too emotional about it.’”
So, how would Tierra feel about being a part of her own show? “A woman approached me about being on another reality show. It was going to be about people my age being spoiled, always getting what they want. I guess they didn’t end up selling the pilot, but I was interested. My boyfriend, Damon, and I spoke about doing our own reality show. I think it’s not a bad idea. I like ‘Bethenny Ever After’ and ‘Khloé and Lamar’.”
And, just like an inspired daughter of a “Real Housewife,” she's got some branding ideas for her mother, "My mom is doing her thing; I’m trying to get her to make her own workout DVD or her own juicer. A lot of opportunities come out of reality shows, and my mom is my role model.”
Read the whole interview at Glamour!