Heather Dubrow – Miss Congeniality

imageOnce voted the “nicest” person in New York, Heather Dubrow was also voted “too New York” for The Real Housewives of Orange County. Having been passed over by producers for Season 5 she was called again for Season 7. Despite her East Coast black wardrobe and lack of highlights and self tanner, she’s quickly become a RHOC fan favorite. Notoriously the only Housewife I claimed to “dislike”, I recently caught up with Heather to find out more about Orange County’s dark horse and why she’s winning over OC fans, everywhere.

TBB: Many people may not know you have a pageant history. Tell us about it:

HD: (laughs) Oh my…I went to Syracuse (University) as a musical theatre major. In that program the girls do the pageants. Vanessa Williams, whose brother I grew up with, was also in that program and also did it, you all know how that turned out (laughs). It’s a good opportunity to be seen singing on stage. There was no American Idol or The Voice then. Other than Star Search there was no way to be seen. So I entered one in Syracuse and I won. Then I entered New York and won Miss Congeniality. They asked everyone what it means to be a good friend and, I guess they liked my answer so much that for about a year I was the “nicest” girl in the state of New York. It still benefits me now because through the pageant experience I learned a lot about doing interviews and being able to walk and talk at the same time.

TBB:From 2000 to 2002 you starred in CBS’s That’s Life for which, I read, you composed the theme song. You’ve also sung at weddings and other big events. Why don’t you showcase your musical talents on RHOC?

HD: It reads that way but in reality I just sang it, I didn’t write it. (After college)I thought I’d do Broadway but a series of events lead to TV. I had a musical background, no money and was singing at Disneyland. There I met this guy and we sang at weddings and parties. Soon we started playing corporate gigs. While I was doing that I was getting little TV parts, meeting agents, etc. At last year’s finale party (the producers) wanted me to sing, but it felt inauthentic to me. I don’t sing all the time anymore. I also kept having problems with my voice for the last year and a half. I’ve been seeing doctors for ulcerated vocal cords. One had me not talk for three weeks straight, not even a peep! Surgery is a last resort, and I’m hoping it resolves itself. Tamra (Barney) has asked me to sing at her wedding so I’m trying to get my voice back for that.

TBB: So no plans to release a single like many Housewives have?

HD: No I really don’t think so. I love singing and I love performing and it’s been a big part of my life. I guess never say never. I recently saw Rita Wilson and she put out an album. But for right now I’ve been doing a bunch of scripted TV, which I love and I miss. They’ve caught some of that for the upcoming season and I’m glad people will see me in my element.

TBB: Yes, you’ve recently resurrected your acting career with guest roles on sitcoms like Hot In Cleveland. Was joining the Housewives cast a strategy to help jump-start your return to acting?

HD: No, I actually thought it would do the exact opposite. I thought it would be the nail in the coffin of what had been my career which was part of the reason that I didn’t (initially) want to do it. I was a snob about the Reality genre and felt it was a step down. I’ve learned that work begets work, exposure is exposure, and if you stay true to your brand it could help.

TBB: Your husband, Terry, has previously been on Reality TV as one of the surgeons on the makeover show The Swan (2004). Did his experience influence your decision to do Housewives?

HD: He was on The Swan, Bridalplasty (2010), a lot of Reality TV. He was very comfortable with these shows and he saw the value of being on a show like (Housewives). He had a lot to do with me being on the show. I had met with producers the year Alexis (Bellino) joined the cast. I had never seen the show, but they called my husband and said “We want to meet your wife.” They said they were going to hire all new people so I met with them and had all my friends meet with them. At the end of the day they felt I was “too New York” to be on the show. Terry said “Thank God you didn’t get it. They’re mean and they throw wine at each other.” The next year when they asked if I’d be interested again, I said “No thank you.”The year after I was pitching a show with my friends about opening a restaurant. By this point I was a big fan of Beverly Hills because Terry knew Paul (Nassif) and we would watch it to see him and Adrienne (Maloof), however I was scared because I heard the OC girls were really mean and crazy. (My friends and I) had offers from production companies,but they wanted us open before they filmed even a sizzle reel. That and my husband convinced me to give (Housewives) a try.


TBB: We saw you explore your desire to open a restaurant on Season 7. Is that project still in the works?

HD: Yes. We’ve partnered up with Fabio Viviani from Top Chef (Season 5). I love him and I love his partners. We just went to his restaurant opening in Chicago. His group is amazing and I’m excited to be opening with him! We found a location that is being built so we are looking at a 2014 opening.

TBB: Last season you were the new girl on the OC block, but quickly rose to the top of what New York Housewife Sonja Morgan would refer to as “the pecking order.” What do you think it is about you that has related so well with the fans as well as the other women on the show?

HD: Thank you for saying that. My opinion is that I think the audience can smell BS. When someone comes on and is authentically themselves you respond to it. I feel like I came on as myself. I was honest. When I’m saying something it’s because I mean it.

TBB: Your background is in scripted stage and TV, was it difficult to be natural and not act for the cameras?

HD: I think it’s just a challenge to not have a script. You are held accountable for anything and everything that comes out of your mouth. We are human beings and have bad days. When you do it on camera it’s there to be played over and over again. In fact I felt very on edge the first half of the season.

TBB: How do you feel about how you were portrayed and the way you treated Alexis and Sarah (Winchester) last season and what is your relationship with them now?

HD: Sarah, I don’t see or speak to her at all. I don’t think I did anything to her. She acted pretty outrageous every time I saw her. From what I understand Gretchen (Rossi) hadn’t seen her behave that way before. She’s a single mom and I wish her well, but I don’t have any problem with how I reacted to her. As far as Alexis things were said on both sides and things get blown out of proportion. Every time Alexis and I hung out together I feel like things were taken and said the wrong way. When I asked about her house selling versus renting it was just conversation. She got upset and I got upset. The one thing I regret is when we were in Costa Rica. I should have said at the table “let’s not talk about this now.” I don’t regret the conversation, but when everyone else gets involved it becomes a whole different ballgame. The next day I went to her room to talk. We are in a much much better place now.

TBB: I read that in Season 8 we will see you struggle to balance family and career. What are some things you’ve discovered about being a working mom that surprised you?

HD: I think it’s important for women to want to work. You need to be a complete whole person. I’m surprised how much easier it is to go to work, but I think what surprised me most was that Terry, who is really supportive and great, really wasn’t that supportive at the beginning. It’s a conflict that resonates throughout the season with us.

TBB: It’s been reported that you are moving…

HD: Yes. Twice…isn’t that crazy? Someone knocked on our door in December and made an offer we couldn’t refuse. Now we have to move to a furnished rental while our house is being built.

TBB: Is there anything else you would like people to know about you?

HD: I definitely read Twitter and try to answer whenever I can. I like getting people’s feedback. Even though you weren’t that crazy about me in the beginning, none of it was mean. There will be people who will hate, but I can’t imagine people sit down behind their computers to spew out real hate. I don’t mind people having opinions. When you put yourself on a show you are putting yourself out there to be judged.

Sarah Takes The Cake and Tells Us All About It!

Speaking to Sarah Winchester is like being in a cotton candy spinner! She’s a fast talking energetic gal who holds nothing back, yet she is as sweet as the sugar she craves. No question is off limits with the OC lady who will forever be known as the woman who broke the fondant bow and got Heather just a tad bit untied.
Sarah Winchester
TBB: Hello Sarah. You have a very famous name, can you give a quick summary of your family legacy?
SW: The Winchester repeating rifle inventor, Oliver Winchester is my great grandfather. I am not named after Sarah Winchester, it’s a coincidence. I am directly related to Oliver, but not Sarah.
TBB: Speaking of firearms, it seems like guns were blazing at the Dubrow home in what has been dubbed as “Cakegate”. I think we first have to rewind to earlier this season. What exactly happened at Heather’s bowling party?
SW: Basically, Vicki and Gretchen got into it a couple nights before and I had Gretchen’s back. Then that night I wanted to give Vicki my condolences regarding Briana possibly having cancer, I was trying to be friends. She took it the wrong way.
TBB: Alexis has tweeted, “The ladies know Sarah was already invited to Heather’s party same as Jeana. It wasn’t up to me. I won’t be the scapegoat.” Being that we saw her invite you on finale part 1, it’s a confusing statement. Can you explain what it means?
SW: I love Both Gretchen and Alexis to death and I understand why they wanted to stay neutral. But I feel that Alexis really did go above and beyond to stick up for me that night. I’m very appreciative of that and always will be.
TBB: After the bowling night did you have any reservations about going to Heather’s party?
SW: Yes. But as a cast member it was expected that we all attend that evening regardless if Heather wanted me there or not.
TBB: So what prompted you to break part of the now infamous fondant bow and eat it?
SW: I do have hypoglycemia. My mom carries chocolate in her purse, it’s hereditary. Look at the video they only have popcorn out with drinks all night. I’m not saying what I did was right by any means, but knowing what I know about them, in my opinion it wasn’t much to celebrate that night anyways.
TBB: Your honesty when approached was noble. Why didn’t you ask Heather for something else to eat?
SW: Heather and I don’t get along so I didn’t feel comfortable asking for sugar or anything from her for that matter. I really thought the piece I took was small and wouldn’t be noticed which I’m sure she wouldn’t have even noticed if someone didn’t say anything. I was surprised I was told on, that woman didn’t even know me, but yet she knew who I was dating and who I was… sounds fishy to me.
TBB: What about the viewers who have accused you of having a problem with alcohol?
SW: Out of the 30 plus times that I filmed this season they chose to pick the 2 worst times that I had been drinking. The rest of the time I was sober and in my opinion showed me in a better light. With that incident (at the bowling party) my ex and I were in the middle of breaking up on the way to the party. There were things I was going through. Im not making excuses just giving a different light to the whole story. Again, I taped 30 plus episodes and in my opinion the 2 that were aired this season put me in a bad light. There isn’t much I can do about that.
TBB: Were you upset that, although she arrived with you, Alexis did not leave the party with you when you were escorted out?
SW: No not at all, because Jim was there, she went home with her husband. I had my best friend with me and she ended up driving me home that night
TBB: You were first introduced to us as Gretchen’s friend, correct? How is your relationship with Gretchen and Alexis now?
SW: I’ve been on the show several seasons before. Me and Alexis are great. Me and Gretchen are wonderful. We were all friends before this show will all be friends after the show.
TBB: So I need to know, how was the cake? Was it worth it?
SW: Absof*#kinglutely and you can quote me on that! If I could have taken the whole bow I would have.
TBB: Thank you for talking with me today. Is there anything else you would like people to know about you?
SW: You aren’t always able to control everything that happens in your life, but I have learned a lot from this whole experience. One being to never judge a book by its cover, because of all the people on that show Gretchen, Alexis and I were the the most normal. What you see day to day in life isn’t always what you get in my opinion. Im standing firm on that one!