A Break From Reality

The cast of GG2D restored my faith in Bravo TV! photo: bravotv.com

The cast of GG2D restored my faith in Bravo TV!
photo: bravotv.com

By Tara Cushing (@TheBravoBlonde)

I have a confession to make. Reality TV and I have separated, or at least, we were separated. After one too many seasons of forced drama and women tearing down other women, I had just had it. I packed my bags and said goodbye. We were officially on a break. We tried to work things out. Occasionally I would be lured back in with the promise of that old feeling I used to get when I watched The Real Housewives, via a good promo, or an interesting new addition, Lisa RinnaEileen Davidson, the anticipation of Bethenny Frankel returning to RHONY, but each time I tried to watch an episode I could only half pay attention. The attraction just wasn’t there like it used to be.

I feared my love affair with Bravo TV was over. How could I still be The Bravo Blonde if I no longer watched Bravo TV? However, those clever Bravo execs found the perfect solution. Whether it be a coincidence, or the reality that reality television may have already piqued, the programming department had the foresight to launch its first scripted series with a cast of characters and actors worthy of prime time on its mothership NBC.Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce had me from the very first episode. It was witty, fun,edgy, and real, as opposed to reality, television.

Every Tuesday night we conducted our affair. I poured the wine at 10pm and gave my undivided attention to all the drama, comedy, and romance that can only be done right when it is authentically faked! How I’d forgotten the joys of character and story development unfolding at the hands of gifted writers, directors, and professional actors. Watching people who graced my television simply because they loved their craft, and not necessarily the glare of the spotlight.

Between GG2D and American Horror Story (the only scripted show I had watched since Desperate Housewives went off the air in 2012) this was the season I went back in time. Back to a time when the small screen was reserved for those who made their profession solely to entertain. It was enjoyable and stress free. To turn off twitter and just watch, as old school as it is, felt fresh and new.

With both shows over for the season, and thankfully both renewed, I have returned to my regularly scheduled programming. My refreshed eyes have readjusted and have been watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills  and The Millionaire Matchmaker again. With the winter ending, hopefully, I plan to be ready to leave my self-imposed hibernation and get back to the circuit meeting the stars of Bravo and beyond.

Yes reality TV, I am watching again. I’m ready to see new seasons of NewlywedsReal Housewives of New York City, and Real Housewives of Orange County. Or at least I thought I was ready, until I saw the season premier of Shahs of Sunset.

What scripted shows do you like to watch? Do you think reality tv is on the decline? Share your thoughts below!

Interview with Robin Kassner- One Cool Kitty

Photo credit: Guest of a Guest

Photo credit: Guest of a Guest

Robin Kassner has single handedly built a multi-million dollar business.With one of the hottest, err “hautest” PR firms in New York she really need answer to no one, however she was very forthcoming with us in a recent interview. No question was too prying for the woman who Millionaire Matchmaker’s Patti Stanger has dubbed “Hello Kitty“. After some tough reviews after her first appearance on the popular dating show, Robin recently came back for round two. Did it matter what the viewers thought? Not for Kassner! Below this power woman explains it all, including why she doesn’t care what other people think…and why she really doesn’t have to!

TBB: Many of our readers know you from your turns on Millionaire Matchmaker, Chelsea Lately, The Soup, Mob Wives and Watch What HappensLive, but the business world knows you as a PR powerhouse. Tell us about your company Haute PR:

RK: I run a beauty and fashion PR firm called Haute PR. It’s one of the top
beauty, fashion, and luxury lifestyle PR firms in New York. We only do
beauty, fashion and luxury lifestyle PR so we have some of the best
contacts in the business. Through our celeb connections we get more press
than a lot of the other firms out there. We always get our clients tons of
press. I’m a former beauty editor. When I write press releases I write them
as trend stories.

TBB: I read that you got your start by writing press releases for beauty
companies. How did that progress into a multi million dollar business
?

RK: I graduated the top of my class from Brandeis University with a major
in American Studies and a minor in journalism. I got my law degree from
Cardozo, where Aviva Drescher (RHONY) also went. I tried working as a
lawyer but I didn’t like it. I started writing beauty reviews and then was
beauty editor. Beauty firms were asking me to write press releases for them
because it was easier for me to get my stories in the magazines. In 2006 a
client said, “Can you do PR for my handbag line?” I wasn’t sure because I’d
never done it before, but they had faith in me. Soon I started getting more
clients via word of mouth. I named my business Haute PR and it stuck. Note
that I pronounce it “hot” instead of it’s true pronunciation which is
really “oat”.

TBB: Did you ever worry that being on Patti Stanger’s controversial dating
show would hurt your reputation as a business woman?

RK: Some people say reality TV is garbage, but I think in the future people
will study it like it’s art. In a way I feel like I’m creating pop art.
After the first episode people said horrible things to me, some of my
clients dropped me, but I don’t really care what others think of me. I have
a lot of blessings in my life. So I lost some clients initially and then I
got some clients. Ultimately it helped my business. I’m now one of the most
well known publicists on TV along with Lizzy Grubman and Kelly Cutrone.
I’ve got fans all over the world and I’m going to milk this popularity for
all it’s worth.

TBB: I read an interview you did where you stated that you felt
“misrepresented” the first time you were on Millionaire Matchmaker. Why go
on again?

RK: Here’s the thing, I don’t usually do things that would hurt my
reputation as a business woman. Patti put me on a cleanse for 3 days so not
eating plus drinking made me act differently than I normally would act.
They (also) edit (the footage) to fit everything into an hour show. When
the episode came out I was like “Whoa, that’s so different than me.”

Kassner with Bravo's Andy Cohen.

Kassner with Bravo’s Andy Cohen.

I LOVE being on Bravo so when they called me again I very much wanted to do
it but I was scared. Patti wasn’t nice to me the first time, but the
producer said, “Patti loves you, you’re her favorite millionaire. She even
bought you a present.” I was like, “Yeah, right,” but Patti was really nice
to me and she knows I’m ratings gold. This time I was portrayed more like
myself. People saw that I’m involved with animal charities and that I’d
also been married before.

TBB: This season the man you selected, Dev, did not show up for your date.
Did you or Patti’s team ever hear from him again?

RK: It was a total surprise to me when I was sitting in the Hollywood Tours
van. I joked to the driver, “Would you be my date?” but he was married
(laughs). Later they told me Dev had a panic attack and was in Regan
Hospital. He’s not the first man who had a panic attack on me (laughs).I
have that affect on men! I think people could relate to my dating struggle.
The viewers at home have all been stood up or had blind dates that didn’t
go as they expected.

TBB: Your alternate, Joe, showed up to take you out that day which was very
sweet. Why didn’t you go out with him again?

RK: I think Joe is an amazing person and I will definitely look him up the
next time I am in LA. I’m still friends with him.

TBB: Patti gave you a makeover which included going brunette. You have
since gone back to blonde. Do you still implement any of Patti’s tips?

RK: I think I was pretty good without Patti’s help. You know how she had me
wear the earpiece at the mixer? I didn’t really think I needed that
earpiece. However, her makeup artist, Tiffany, showed me tips that I
thought were good. I was wearing too much smoky eyeshadow. Tiffany is very
talented, but she made me look just like Patti. We both have the ombre long
hair, sparkly dresses. Patti put me in a really really tight outfit, but
maybe she’s right.

TBB: When you were on the show in 2011 you chose a guy who, for lack of a
better word, really acted like a prick. We heard you dated him a few
times. Why?

RK: In real life Luke was not 100% a prick, he was more a hick from upstate
New York. He’s very pretty and very muscly. We went out for a couple of
months and we stayed friends for a year. He was like my little dress up
doll. I took him to Lacoste and gave him a preppy makeover. He was like a
pretty little doll for me to play with. In real life I would never have
gone out with someone like that. Most of my real dates are professionals
like doctors and lawyers. I picked the pretty one so people think I’m this
superficial plus size girl who only dates male models. The truth is I date
many different types of guys who are exceptional in one way or another.

TBB: I have to ask, why sip wine through a straw?

RK: There are a lot of good reasons! If you drink red wine from the glass
it stains your teeth. Also, ever drink wine from a glass? All of your lip
gloss comes off! Use a straw and your lip gloss stays on. I really don’t
drink that much, usually it’s Diet Coke so I’m just used to drinking things
through a straw.

TBB: What’s in the future for you and Haute PR? Do you want to make more
appearances on reality television?

RK: I’ve actually gotten some offers to be on some shows. I’m thinking of
opening up an LA branch of Haute PR as well. I own my apartment here (in
NY) but I love LA and Hollywood. I’d absolutely move there! I also just
hired Haley Glassman as my VP. We are merging beauty fashion lifestyle and
celebrity PR. We are getting a lot of buzz for our clients!

TBB: Thank you for talking with me. Is there anything else you would like
to share?

RK: People shouldn’t try to impress other people, they should impress
themselves. You need to do what you love, then work seems like fun. If you
are passionate you will be so much more successful. If I was in law I’d be
miserable.You have to have courage to try do what you want to do and go do
it.

****ENTER OUR MARCH MOMNESS GIVEAWAY*** Sponsored by Hey Sugar Snap !

Follow Robin on twitter @RobinKassner and @HautePR

Missed Robin’s first season on Millionaire Matchmaker? Here’s a way way way back recap I did long before I was The Bravo Bitch!

Tamra Takes on The East Coast

WIth Tamra Barney at NOMA  Social in New Rochelle, NY.

WIth Tamra Barney at NOMA Social in New Rochelle, NY.

It’s always exciting when we get the chance to meet West Coast Bravolebs, as the opportunities, thus far, have been few. The last time was back in September when Gretchen Rossi and Slade Smiley were in NY promoting the Gretchen Christine handbag line (https://tbbreality.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/handbags-and-housewives/) . Last Wednesday (2/27) I finally got to meet another original from The Real Housewives of Orange County, when Tamra Barney made an appearance in New Rochelle, NY, a city like suburb of the Big Apple.

Tamra was on a mini East Coast tour, which also included a stop in DC, to promote Wines By Wives and RHOC ‘s upcoming eighth season, set to premiere on April 1st. The event, which was hosted at NOMA Social and coordinated by Illumination PR, was orginally set for January but was moved to February due to a scheduling conflict. Bravolebs tend to have a lot of these. Originally set to attend Wednesday’s event, which was officially titled Tamra’s Bachelorette Party, was Real Housewife of New Jersey Jacqueline Laurita. Jac tweeted about her excitement prior to the party, however there was a filming change and she had to bow out last minute. Too bad they just didn’t bring the RHONJ cast to film there since nothing is more fun than a good show crossover.

Jac wasn’t the only one who had scheduling issues. I almost didn’t make it to this event

WIth Amy Poliakoff. Photo credit: MTC Photography

WIth Amy Poliakoff. Photo credit: MTC Photography

myself. There was an entire comedy of errors that preceeded my arrival that night. It actually started with the RHONJ filming change. I was attending with some friends that Jac and I have in common. When Jac had to cancel there was a chain reaction that led to everyone cancelling. Then a friend of mine said she wanted to go (this was after my mind had already focused on having a quiet evening at home catching up on sleep). The saying she wanted to go morphed into about 100 text messages pleading with me. Finally I relented, I mean if Tamra can travel 3,000 miles to be there I certainly can drive 40 minutes.

I woke up fairly energized the next morning and, with an outfit chosen, I texted said friend we were good to go. “You really want to?” WHAT? Oh no she was not getting out of this, not after she convinced me in the first place. Fast forward to evening, I spent a little too long trying to figure out how to curl my hair…again, and was running late. Two miles down the road the realization that I had forgotten to put on deodorant made me even more late. A 10 minute detour when I got lost, less than a mile from NOMA made me even more late. (Even with GPS, send me through a traffic circle and I’ll still screw it up.)

Finally I made it and upon walking in heard somebody call my name, or The Bravo Bitch, at that point it could have been “Hey you bitch” and I wouldn’t have remembered. It was Megan Miceli who writes Housewives Hoedown ! She was there from Virginia and recognized me instantly. What a doll she is. Not only did she introduce herself immediately, but she offered me an exrtra ticket she had when I was on my way to buy one. (Also there that night were Twitter’s realmrhousewife, Amy Poliakoff of Gallery Girls, and Robin Kassner or Millionaire Matchmaker’s “Hello Kitty.)

With Robin Kassner. Photo credit: MTC Photography

With Robin Kassner. Photo credit: MTC Photography

Now ticketed, deodorized, and calm I entered the lounge to find my friend was happily at the bar waiting, eating pizza, drinking, and she seemed to had already made a replacement friend. Tamra was a few feet away from us when I got the chance to meet her and her amazing hairstylist Julius Michael. Michael had weaved her hair into a lovely top braid, made the bottom wavy, and added some cool purple highlights.(Perhaps, I should ask him to teach me how to use those hot rollers.)

Tamra is very tiny in person, like the size of a twelve year old, and she’s got the spunk of a pre-teen too. An excited fan approached her, handed her an iPhone and demanded she speak to her husband “Frank”. “That’s my dad’s name!” Tamra beamed and went on to chat with this total stranger’s smitten other half. How cool is that?

During the evening there were many other such moments as Tamra took many pictures, had some cocktails, and huddled in a corner with a bunch of excited women conducting girl talk and eating pizza. Of all the events I have been to this really was the most laid back. Tamra is truly a girl’s girl and, like Cyndi Lauper would say, just wants to have fun.

Does it ever get grueling though? “I do sometimes feel like time is flying because I’m so busy,” Tamra said. “When I started (RHOC) my daughter was one and now she is seven.” There won’t be any slowing down for one of the first Housewives anytime soon, however. She just opened her gym, Cut Fitness, this weekend, has the new RHOC season right around the bend, and a wedding to Eddie Judge coming up.

So will Tamra have time to do a TBB interview? Stay tuned…