By Leilani Lynn
Living and working in Laguna Beach California definitely has its benefits!! All the men drive Porsches and all the ladies seem to be drinking from the “fountain of youth.” I live here for exactly that reason. I want to live where everyone is successful and beautiful so maybe a little of that will rub off on me.
South Orange County is polished and shiny and everyone is coiffed. The sprawling properties with their manicured lawns are excessively maintained and scream out luxury. The bling is blinding and the wardrobes resemble the first floor of Neiman Marcus. Orange County is materialistic and pretentious and everybody knows it – we drink the “Kool Aid” in the morning – then go shopping. The best part about living here is the Real Housewives of Orange County – of course. They often film in Laguna and I happen to run into them from time to time.
Lynne Curtin from seasons four and five shows up at my yoga class periodically. Jo De La Rosa and Jeana Keough from season one have strolled through my art gallery. All three housewives are very nice and rather shy in person. I expected real big personalities from these ladies but they are just regular folks like you and me. I am a Real Housewives franchise fanatic so playing it cool is always a chore.
One day last summer I had just shown up for work – it was one of those amazing sunny days in Laguna – so crisp and clear you could see Catalina Island. There were hoards of tourists and Main Beach was pumping. I looked up from my desk and there she was – Jeana Keough. I walked over to her and welcomed her to the gallery. She was dressed in athletic gear without makeup, looking 30 pounds lighter (I guess it’s true what they say about the camera). Jeana was viewing a rather large bronze sculpture so I jumped in with my award winning presentation. After all I know she can afford it – living in Coto de Caza (which is 20 miles inland BTW – the REAL money is along the coast – just ask Heather Dubrow– but that will have to be another story). Everything was going great Jeana loved the bronze and then I said “this would look great in one of your homes” with a wink and an all-knowing smile. Well that did it – she turned around and walked out of the gallery!
Jeana knew that I know all about her life. I know where she lives. I know that her estranged husband has a bedroom of his own and where her children sleep. I am a complete stranger to Jeana – and all of this is frankly none of my business. Yet Jeana invited us into her home when she joined the show. Her family and all their vulnerabilities became entertainment for all of us to watch. We as the viewer are voyeurs … and isn’t it delightful!
It is interesting that the Real Housewives of Orange County was the first in the franchise and has never been one of my favorites. I think it is just too close to home. All that screaming and “woo hooing” just isn’t my scene – or is it? Maybe the Real Housewives are mirrors of us all – revealing all the things we dislike about ourselves and highlighting all the things we love about ourselves. No one has a “picture perfect” life – so for the housewives to put it ALL out there takes guts!!
PS. Not everyone in Orange County has a boob job… just ask Tamra Barney.
Leilani Lynn is from Orange County California. She has traveled extensively and has lived on an island in the middle of the Pacific. Leilani has a Masters Degree in art history from the University of Hawaii and is a patron of the Arts. She is engaged to a big handsome lug but her Pekingese is the lady of the house… Bloop!
Follow on Twitter Leilani@guiltypleasur_