The Survivor-An Interview with Amber Marchese

imageSpeaking to The Real Housewives is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. This is truly the case when chatting with Real Housewives of New JerseyAmber Marchese. On the show she comes across intense, a fact that she will openly admit to, but over an iPhone she’s quite calm. She describes herself as laid back, a quality she regrets we didn’t see much of on her rookie season. Currently enjoying the comfort of what she calls her own little world, she can easily reflect on the ups and downs of Real Housewife-hood, with a level head. However, don’t mess with her husband, or those claws will still find their way to the surface…

TBB: Congratulations on surviving your first season of Housewives. How did you get involved with the show?

AM: Thank you I thought you were going to say breast cancer (laughs).

TBB: We will definitely talk about that later on!

AM: I was taking acting lessons and auditioning so my name was out there a lot and (Bravo) caught wind of me. They started asking me questions and asking about my life. Then they found out I was friends with Melissa (Gorga) and thought that was an intriguing fact, even though we were friends in our twenties.

TBB: What was her initial reaction when she heard she was going to be working with you?

AM: She texted me and said, “Congrats and welcome to the show!” I thought she was really happy, but as time went on I felt like she didn’t stand by my side in the way a good friend should have.

TBB: I’m assuming, since you knew Melissa, you had been a viewer of the show. What was your biggest worry coming into it?

AM: Actually I was not a viewer. I would watch it once in a while since seeing Melissa on there. I talked to her right before she was going on and she asked me if she should be going on and I actually told her not to do it! Now, here I am five years later and I’m eating my words. My biggest worry was how much time it was going to take me away from my children. It was a pleasant surprise that it didn’t really take me away from them at all. We filmed a lot together as a family and most of my interviews were in the house while my kids played upstairs. It’s truly a dream job for moms. Of course, my life is different and (the show) pulled me away sometimes, but I also have a very supportive husband who is an active father. We really are a team. Not to toot my own horn, but I am so good at being a mom and I devote my every waking moment to these kids that even with the show filming, I didn’t skip a beat!

TBB: What was your most cringe worthy moment that made the final cut?

AM: I think there was a lot of them, but the one that stands out is when I cried on the phone with Teresa (Giudice). There was so much behind that phone call. I was just getting my news about the 5 year (breast cancer survival) mark not going so well and there I was getting on the phone after I’d just heard someone’s bad news and I lost it. I was really hoping they wouldn’t include that one. Also when I was drunk in Florida and I smoked that cigarette. I wish they hadn’t shown that, but hey, I’m not going to beat myself up over having a brief lapse of judgement.

TBB: Was there anything you filmed that didn’t make it to TV that you wish had?

AM: More of my family, especially my Christmas.They showed everybody else’s Christmases but decided not to put my family’s Christmas on there, which I don’t know why. Also more of the tenderness of my husband (Jim Marchese) and how he was so super kind to Dina (Manzo) even after she was acting like a big baby because he said, “Does anybody here have an IQ  above 12?” after I was attacked at our best friend’s party. My husband actually took her out to dinner to apologize. He even gave her ideas for the Project Ladybug event that they filmed for the finale. He was nothing but kind to her, nothing but kind to all of the ladies, yet they decided to go after him and they deserved what they got!

TBB: Jim was quite the controversial personality on RHONJ. What are your thoughts about his on camera and online behavior?

AM: I think he gives out exactly what he needs to give out. He’s getting attacked all the time and there’s no reason for him to be called all the names he’s been called. (His) best friend (Bobby Ciasulli) gutted him! Bobby caused all the trouble and I think (Jim) did everything he should be doing. When people are calling him names he has a right to defend himself. It took a lot for him to get to the point he got with Joe (Gorga). Again, I had just been attacked and he was asking him about why we didn’t go bowling. My husband is so well respected in his position (at work) and he’s such a kind and generous man. He’s got a huge heart and employs many people who all adore him.

TBB: You are a proud breast cancer survivor. What is it that you hope having been on this show will accomplish for others with this disease?

AM: What I’ve seen so far since the end of the show has been wonderful. People have emailed me, direct messaged me, even wrote me letters saying they are stronger because they saw what I went through. Some said they had mammograms and got lumps checked out after seeing me and caught (cancer) in time. (Housewives) was a hard show to be on, but that was my purpose for being on the show.

TBB: Complete this sentence … “I used to think blank about reality television, but now I think blank“…

AM: I used to think it was easy to be on reality TV, but now I realize it is very, very difficult. I didn’t realize how cutthroat it is. The egos on the show are always competing. There are people out for blood and they will do whatever it takes to make it. It doesn’t matter who they hurt or not hurt. I just would never do that to anybody. I would never hurt another person, especially over a show.

TBB: Are you open to being on another season?

AM: I’m a very simple creature, if the money’s right then of course. If it makes sense for my family and it pays for my kids’ college tuition, then why not? It was fun. I enjoyed the ride. There were some good points and some bad points, like any job.

TBB: The holidays are right around the corner, how will the Marchese family celebrate? 

AM: The Marchese family always takes a trip every single year. This year we’re going to Hershey Park (PA). I love to create that magical Christmas for my kids…and of course there will be lots of family and food!

TBB: Is there anything else you would like the fans to know?

AM: I was just telling Jim that I feel so far removed from the show at this point because it’s been so long since I filmed, so it’s hard to imagine what I was feeling at the time. I felt like I stood my ground enough, that I didn’t buckle under pressure, however, on an everyday basis I’m pretty laid back and I don’t really feel like viewers saw that side of me. Of course I get angry and sad sometimes, but if you film only those points in my life than of course I’m going to seem intense. I really just love my friends and family and shutting the world out and staying within my family, my little world.



Dina Manzo Begins Again

imageHappy Saturday folks! I know it’s taken me longer than usual to print this, but things have been moving so fast this summer! I took a couple of days off to reconnect with my own real housewife world by taking my tots to the beach. Back and refreshed, and ready to get down to unfinished business, I knew I had to start with getting this little eventerview from July to you.

On July 13th Velocity 1 Media held the RHONJ premier party and many of the Housewives and Househusbands were on deck along with other Bravolebs. High on my list of priorities was getting to meet born again Housewife Dina Manzo. Dina, despite her petite stature, emits quite a powerful presence…maybe all those Buddhas in her home have worn off. Whatever it was, I didn’t want to approach her like the throngs of fans were and disturb her peace. Lucky for me an old classmate was there who works for her…fate always keeps me attached to this business somehow. The resulting conversation was in actuality not intimidating at all. I found Dina to be all love and light. She thanked ME for taking the time to talk to her. Dina, the pleasure was all mine…

TBB: How does it feel to be at your first premier night back on Real Housewives of New Jersey?

DM: Tonight feels amazing! We’re here raising money for two great causes; Project Ladybug being one of them, and meeting the fans was always my favorite part of this. Everyone’s so nice, I get to know new people, it’s just a good experience.

TBB: Will we see a lot of your Project Ladybug work on (RHONJ) this season?

DM: Yes, you’ll see a big event and all the drama that leads up to it (laughs).

TBB: How did your daughter Lexi feel about your decision to return to Housewives

DM: She was cool with it. She’s 18 now, she’s not impressed by her mother on television at all so she was like, “Yeah, whatever you want to do…”

TBB: Well, welcome back. I think I speak for a lot of the fans when I say that when you left so did a lot of the fun and the light heartedness and we’re all hoping that you can bring it back again!

DM: Well I think, I hope I did a good job. I know I chuckled at my interview comments so I hope I bring that little “taking the edge off the drama” back.


How do you feel about Dina’s return to the show so far this season? Share your thoughts below. Your email will never be shared or sold.

RHONJ Premier Party-A New New Jersey

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I confess, I’ve distanced myself from the party scene a bit. I’m a person who doesn’t like things to ever feel too forced in my life, and I’m at a point when I need to quiet things down a bit, not out of necessity, just because at the time it feels natural for me. Honestly, as cool as getting dressed up and going out to parties can be, in the core of my heart I’m just a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl who enjoys sitting on the floor with her three year olds.

On the flip side, as much as I believe in a natural flow to life, I also thoroughly believe in signs, and anytime I get too far off the course of this crazy “other life” I’ve fallen into, there are mystical powers that set me back on the road to wherever it is this is taking me. My story of the Real Housewives of New Jersey season 6 premier party is one of those cases.

I didn’t really intend to go to this premier. In the past my prime connections to the show have been Caroline ManzoJacqueline Laurita, and Kathy Wakile. This is just the way things have always worked out. Remember, I tend to follow the natural flow of things…I can’t do a lifestyle of resistance. With those three ladies uninvolved I sort of felt removed from the show. Then friends of mine bought me a ticket making it impossible for me to say “no” (don’t worry I got them back by showing up with a lovely gift for their recent wedding anniversary).

My expectations of this party were quite different from the, for lack of a better word, reality of it. Having attended Kristen Taekman‘s Real Housewives of New York premier party I’d assumed this would be similar. Passed hor d’oeuvres and a screening, but considering the RHONY party was invite only, and the RHONJ one was open to anyone who purchased the $100 ticket benefiting Dina Manzo‘s Project Ladybug and the Deborah Hospital Foundation I knew it would be on a more chaotic scale. Chaos, for sure ensued.

The party was hosted by Velocity 1 Media. The venue, Pure in Parsippany, NJ, was a restaurant lounge located in a Holiday Inn. I have to say, once inside it felt more like a city lounge than one in a chain hotel off of NJ’s Route 46. After waiting outside in the humidity (one staffer said the girl’s were “fashionably late”) the masses were finally let inside, but instead of the all out come one come all mingling I’d experienced at Taekman’s soiree, the feel was very segregated. One side were the masses, and the other, behind chains and very serious bouncers, were the Housewives and their guests. That’s where one could find Dina, Melissa and Joe Gorga, Amber Marchese, and Untying the Knot star Vikki Zeigler. Further back from that, in a private room, was Teresa Giudice. She spent the entire evening either in there or stepping out to take pictures with the fans who were lucky enough to get passed the guards…and those guards were strict.

Fortunately for me, I’ve been to enough events that I’ve made friends in this industry who were already passed the proverbial velvet ropes. They let the guards know I was safe to let in. Not that anybody looked menacing. We all know HW fans can be quite intimidating on Twitter, but in person we’re mostly regular housewives and fabulous gay men, hardly a threat.

Even with my ability to get into the VIP area and freely rub elbows with Melissa and Joe, there was something about Dina that made me wary of approaching her. For one she was mobbed by fans on the occasions that she did come out into the general admission area, for two, I’ve historically done much press with family members she’s notoriously on the outs with. I honestly was concerned about how I would be received. Then, that fate that I mentioned before took charge in the form of an old high school classmate who recognized me from 20 years ago. Was she a Housewives fan I wanted to know. Actually she works for Dina. Hello divine intervention! I got my Dina introduction. She is sweet and so petite. Really folks, she’s adorable!

When I asked Dina how it felt to once again be experiencing premier night as a Housewife she was enthusiastic. “Tonight it feels amazing!” she gushed. We’re here raising money for two great causes, Project Ladybug being one of them, and meeting the fans has always been my favorite part of this. Everyone is so nice!”

As the hor d’oeuvres eluded me (I don’t eat chicken so I kept trying to get to the sushi tray, to no avail), I knocked back my complimentary Fabellini. Feeling a bit more relaxed after my drink (I clicked glasses with Joe Gorga) I scored some interviews with a few of the Bravolebs (stay tuned for those in the coming days!) and waited for the big screening. I still was thinking about how during the RHONY  party everything stopped and we all watched the show together (lucky me on the sofa with the cast). That moment never came. This was the big disappointment of the evening for me. As I was Instagramming party pics for you all, you were live tweeting the actual show that to this day I still did not get to see. Unless I wanted to watch it like a silent movie playing in the background it just wasn’t going to happen.

The other thing I feared wouldn’t happen would be some time with Teresa. I get terribly nervous about this all the time as I know many of you are die hard Tre fans. Honestly I always try my best to get to her. She’s not that easy to get access to. Fortunately when things got a bit calmer (meaning the general population was thinning out) I got a moment with the star. She looked absolutely stunning in a fitted strapless floral dress. However, the evening had taken its toll on her. She was adamant that though she would take a picture, she wasn’t doing any press. The scenes in the premier of her recently deceased father in law really got to her. “It’s been an emotional evening for me,”she said when she spoke of seeing him on the show. She also was looking for her cellphone, and anyone who has ever misplaced their phone knows what an “Oh sh*t” moment that can be. However, she was gracious and poised as she always is when I see her at an event.

Her brother on the other hand was willing to chat. Joe assured me that he and his sister are no longer feuding. “Things are good, very good,” he said about their relationship and though there will be friction on the show it will be the “young blood” against the seasoned cast members. “We’re back to normal.” And what is normal in RHONJ land? Well, when asked to describe the season in one word he said “You know how it is…DRAMA!”

What did you think about the Real Housewives of New Jersey premier episode? Share your thoughts below, your email will never be sold or publicized.