Bravo TV, Reality TV, #RHONY

#RHONY: Luann De Lesseps Talks “Taking Sobriety Seriously”, Disses Dorinda

They say people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, but Luann De Lesseps must feel she’s just built a fortress.

In an interview with Michael Cook for Out In Jersey, the Real Housewives of New York star says cabaret has been a lifeline. She discusses her show Countess and Friends and says she’s committed to the staying power of her sobriety this time around.

As if her partying ways were documented 25 years ago, she even alludes to cast mate Dorinda Medley as being in a category of people that “drink too much and get sloppy.” So, we can understand why the two of them aren’t so close – as opposed to Bethenny Frankel who is “not a big drinker.” My, how the tides of Bravolebrity alliances have turned!

“Since I have quit drinking-I am thirty five days sober today by the way-I feel so much better and I just feel really good,” De Lesseps told Cook, “I feel in control, empowered, happy and ready. I am really not tempted to drink right now. That is my state of mind.”

The Countess also refers to her relationship with family members as being in a much better place (from when reports surfaced earlier about her children suing her). She says her kids are most important to her above all else, which solidifies her adamancy about not abusing alcohol again.

“Listen, I will be honest, I had my own hiccup with my children which we all know about because it was very public. We have reconciled and everything is cool.”

Fans will have to stay tuned and watch next season of RHONY to see how De Lesseps maintains (what she describes as) a “lifestyle change.”

“I am not perfect, although I try to be. But I am not. What happened to me happened. I dealt with it and now this time…I really feel that it is sticking for me this time around.”

(Photo Source: Bustle.com)

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#RHONY, Bravo TV, public figures, Reality TV

#RHONY: Crap with the Countess…& Chicago?

A source tells me that Luann De Lesseps’ personal publicist recently fired her. This is ALLEGED, please note, but the source goes on to add that it was because Lu wasn’t being totally truthful about her troubles — and was, generally, a handful to deal with.

This report explains why Bethenny Frankel stepped into the role of spokeswoman for Lu, and why she was the one to give Dave Quinn at People talking points for an article about Luann not attending the reunion (to undergo round two of rehab for alcohol addiction).

The source adds that the folks at Bravo “don’t want to handle her shit anymore.” An interesting Twitter handle to follow that keeps up with the RHONY-Lu shenanigans, and appears to be impressively in the know and legitimately well-connected is @myfeetonfleek.

Celebrity gossip columnist Rob Shuter (The Naughty Gossip) recently expressed to podcast host Kate Casey (Reality Life with Kate Casey) that Luann is at a point where she doesn’t “need” RHONY and has a very full life outside of the show with friends, a packed itinerary and a successful cabaret show.

He said fans should not be surprised if Lu departs the RHONY franchise to focus on family, health and sobriety. Shuter also mentioned that producers from the longstanding Broadway production of Chicago were at one of her #CountessAndFriends (cabaret) performances.

Luann De Lesseps starring in Chicago in the near future? Could that actually happen?

For now, without official personal PR representation, the best person to ask might just be Bethenny!

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#RHONY, Bravo TV, Dating, Psychology, Reality TV

#RHONY: Is There a Shortage of Men in Manhattan?!

Two decades ago, when I was a single woman living and dating in NYC, it seemed like every guy of “average” level looks, intelligence and personality had 9 incredible women in hot pursuit of him.

I was in a certain, very niche- specific dating scene because of my religious background, and once I expanded my social circles, this 9 to 1 ratio of eligible single ladies to eligible single men no longer seemed to be as much of a thing. However, I did notice that “normal” men seemed harder to find than outstanding women, and while the male population of NYC is currently at 47.38 percent versus the 52.62 percent of females (a disparity that doesn’t seem outrageous and was quite similar twenty years ago), a good man is hard to find.

It takes only a five minute conversation with a NYC single gal today to gauge this problem, while a man always seems to have more dating prospects on the horizon.

I suspect this was particularly prescient to me due to my former religious circles wherein matchmakers pounce upon a widowed man because of the devotion he had to his wife and noted past ability to commit. I realize this sounds awfully vulture-like to the reader, but it’s so hard for a religious Jewish woman to find a man who is self-assured, charismatic and committed. Matchmakers are fully aware of this. There just happen to be more marriage-minded women than men in major metropolitan cities.

This brings us to the ladies of Real Housewives of New York. They’re not in the Jewish dating scene, but are in a niche specific one of their own. It is one where men of a certain middle aged and above cohort are acclimating still to the idea of a highly successful, independent and self-sufficient, affluent woman (though some of these ladies are more modern and self sufficient than others are). The majority of these men have been indoctrinated with the notion of man as provider and, despite protest, many do feel threatened by a women of means who could be the provider herself. RHONY fans often ask “why are these woman always dating the same loser, or arguing over the same man who doesn’t seem so spectacular?”

I mention my “9 to 1” theory to Rori Sassoon, Founder of NYC matchmaking service Platinum Poire. Rori hosted the speed dating event that we recently saw on RHONY. It was where all the ladies seemed interested in the red scarf adorned Brian Krauss. “Aren’t there more men for these women to date?” viewers asked.

Rori agrees that the rationale I developed from my dating days is not off at all and adds: “It is unfortunately still the same. It’s also much harder for women because the man is the one who is doing the pursuing. I also find that if a man wants to be in a relationship, he can make that happen a lot more quickly than a woman can. Because of that, a lot of women do not choose their partner, they are chosen, which can lead to a relationship with an expiration date.”

If all of this sounds terribly antiquated in today’s 2018 culture of #MeToo, #TimesUp, Feminism and shifts from heteronormative stereotypes, we have not progressed as much as you naively thought. A certain level of traditional thinking still abounds amidst the modernity of NYC, especially when it comes to the Gen X and Boomer contingents.

For every Tom, Harry and Brian, there is a group of women hovering in the wings, trying to catch a glimpse of an extinct breed: a seemingly Ok male specimen. Due to the depressing rarity of this find, the bar is not set especially high, and disappointment in NYC dating can seem as inevitable as a streetlight on every corner.

Thinking outside of the box and beyond the city limits is a strategy some of these Housewives have employed because the pickings are slim. It is why so much is not taboo and hiring a matchmaker is not something to be shunned. It’s also why you shouldn’t be ashamed if it suddenly dawns on you that your uncle in Schenectady would be the perfect match for Ramona Singer. Hey, you never know. Vet it through Rori. Crazier things have happened in this world than Ramona becoming your aunt.

Hear Rori Sassoon discuss the RHONY speed dating event and trying to match up the ladies of the cast on the Pink Shade with Erin Martin podcast.

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#RHONY, Reality TV

#RHONY Ruminations & Reunion Rumblings

In my mind, Dorinda Medley is greatly ticked off, but feels partially validated at the same time. As her avid social media followers can attest, the Countess had been crapping on her, having the gall to mention HER drinking and criticize her drunken behavior. After all, Luann De Lesseps is the one who entered rehab for alcohol addiction after her Palm Beach arrest months ago. How dare she throw stones from her glass house at Dorinda?

…And Dorinda wanted the world to know that Lu was still holed up in that very glass house, that she was no sobriety expert who could say “learn from my mistakes.” As it happened, Dorinda was proved right when Lu reentered rehab after a relapse. Bethenny Frankel reached out to Dave Quinn, Bravo’s People magazine pet, and issued several statements on Lu’s behalf, one being that the Countess would be skipping the reunion as she focused on rehabilitation.

This likely gave Dorinda pause. Well, after hours of putting together my receipts and going over all the pivotal points, I won’t get to lambast Lu. On the other hand, I can highlight her hypocrisy and prove the point I had all along. Of course, I’ll convey that it is my hope she gets better, and that I really sympathize with her struggle. Blah blah blah.

Last night’s episode of Real Housewives of New York hammered home some of the other wars waging between this group of women who hang out annually before a camera crew. The only “real” friendships on this show exist between Tinsley, Carole and Dorinda, and between Dorinda and Ramona. The other dynamics are those of coworkers. Bethenny’s stance communicates that she is there to do her best work, bring emotions for heightened drama and then have little to do with the ladies for the rest of the year.

Viewer response to Bethenny after last night’s episode ran the gamut. The “ride or die” Bethenny fans completely understood how personal stresses and her treatment by cast mate Carole Radziwill have combined to make her positively cuckoo, and they feel she has her right to complain. Others are exhausted by Bethenny’s overreactions, cries and snapping that creates chaos.

Personally, I admire how hardworking Bethenny is. I love her compassion for the people of Puerto Rico and her charity work where she shows nothing is below her. That’s why I was taken aback when she acted like the hotel villa was so beneath her in last night’s episode. On the other hand, who am I to criticize Bethenny when I’m sure the circumstances of her divorce, subsequent restraining order and custody arrangement, as well as the strained relationship with a former bestie are draining her emotionally? It’s definitely not easy to be Bethenny and have it hammered home that your former best friend has replaced you with a more happy-go-lucky, fairytale princess Barbie version.

When former RHONY cast mate Kelly Bensimon had her epic “mental breakdown” seasons ago, she didn’t have the backing of fans expressing compassion that Bethenny has now. She didn’t have the extensive show experience or noted business acumen and success. Her charity work was also far lesser publicized. Her personal problems were less documented and I don’t recall many “passes” being given to her. Some fans have called attention to that comparison and the fact that if Bethenny is always having a new problem with new people, perhaps Bethenny is the problem.

Viewers have expressed that she seems incapable of keeping friends and maintaining relationships. Others have added these words to that sentiment: “on TV.” It appears that Bethenny has close friends of many years who don’t seek the limelight. However, it’s getting tiresome for many to see Bethenny constantly blow up at the smallest thing with her cast mates, and to see her perpetually regard former friends as foes.

Yesterday I wrote about likely scenarios at the upcoming reunion, and now reports are surfacing that we’ll see Bethenny eviscerate Carole there. The queen of the comeback and Wonder Woman of the one-liners will likely come out as the triumphant one at this celebrated annual event. The lack of Luann will be usurped by Bethenny’s powerful presence, and the reviews will be mixed. Bethenny loyalists will cheer and feel a vicarious sense of validation for her, while detractors and the less enthused Bethenny watchers will wish for more self-awareness from Her Royal Smugness.

Until a future season when Bethenny is cast next to her perfect adversary, one who matches wits with her tit for tat, is equally savvy and can effectively captivate Andy Cohen, her monster reign will continue. The rumors circulating about Carole quitting after this season are not impossible to believe while Bethenny is the power player in this group dynamic. Because this is a fact fatiguing fans, Shed Media might do best by strategically shaking up the cast for next season.

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#RHONY, Bravo TV, Reality TV, Uncategorized

#RHONY: Bethenny’s Got Your Back!

Several weeks ago, I was privately given the heads-up that Luann De Lesseps of Real Housewives of New York was drinking again. Anyone remotely connected to Bravo franchises and their cast and crew will hear something second, third or fourth-hand. In many cases, we (bloggers, writers, podcast hosts) dismiss the gossip as speculative. If it comes from a malicious place, as I suspected with this particular rumor, many of us refrain from exploring a rather obscure “tip” further and back away, fearing a sordid backstory.

I watched as this tidbit made the rounds of Facebook postings and Instagram comments, all the while cheering Luann on for her celebrated sobriety on TV. I hoped that these nasty rumors contradicting the RHONY footage were untrue. I wanted the recently humbled (after her infamous Palm Beach arrest) Countess to thrive.

Yesterday, in a bizarre turn, former Lu frenemy Bethenny Frankel was quoted by Dave Quinn of People, as she provided the update that Lu had entered rehab for a relapse on the heels of family-related stress. Furthermore, Luann would not be at the reunion taping, which, according to Tamara Tattles is actually happening as I write this.

The People article conveys that Lu, who is not currently working with a personal publicist (where is Darren Bettencourt? Or Matthew David Byers? Or Lizzie Grubman?!!!!) had appointed Bethenny as her unofficial spokeswoman. This development attests to the authenticity of the fresh bond we see between the two costars on screen this season. Considering the fact that Luann is, allegedly, only close to two of her cast mates at present, this was a sound selection.

While Sonja Morgan would have been the only other candidate, her loose lips could sink battleships, and after the “boat ride from hell” in Colombia, the Countess likely deemed it best to avoid anything that even metaphorically has to do with sea vessels.

Bethenny’s no-nonsense, articulate and expertly crafted statements on Lu’s behalf surely has Bravo’s VP of Communications cowering about his potential replacement.

Where was Bethenny when we were all waiting for Peggy Sulahian to address the horrific homophobia rumors during last season of RHOC? Perhaps Bethenny could provide counsel to Southern Charm‘s most embattled duo? Maybe she could salvage Your Husband is Cheating on Us? Or recast Southern Charm Savannah?

Lu’s absence at the upcoming reunion has likely put a wrench in the “receipt” amassment activity of her cast mates. Dorinda Medley reportedly had axes to grind with her costar (including Luann’s harsh critique of her drinking) and now Dorinda will be forced to take the high road rather than get to say “I told you so” or underscore any hypocrisy.

Some viewers are speculating that there will be a videotaped message from Luann as the other women air grievances with one another.

Like it or not, I’m envisioning a separate unshaven Andy-Luann sit down in Sag Harbor — like the one we were treated to last year after the reunion.

Reports are now circulating that because of Lu’s absence, Ramona will be seated on a different couch than what was initially designated for her. I predict that Dorinda will go hard at Bethenny, with Carole and Tinsley as cheerleaders. Carole will also complain about Bethenny’s treatment of her. Without Luann, Bethenny will only have Sonja in her corner, and Sonja will have to deal with the other ladies’ complaints about her – particularly from Dorinda.

While the playing field seems uneven, – Bethenny and Sonja versus everybody else – we know that Bethenny is a sharp shooter and the queen of one-liners. As annoyingly predictable as this sounds, she’ll smack her attackers down and defend Sonja successfully against Dorinda, Ramona, Carole and Tinsley.

Yes, Luann may have temporarily lost control over her sobriety, but she has not lost her mind. Not. At. All. Having Bethenny be her mouthpiece is a brilliant move. At the reunion, Lu will have the authoritative and commanding voice – the one that Andy listens to most – representing her and issuing a positive message to the world.

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#RHONY, Psychology, public figures, Reality TV

#RHONY: “Third Wife Syndrome”

I cannot take credit for the above title, but it was explained to me regarding some dynamics on Real Housewives of New York.

Third Wife Syndrome is not necessarily about literally being a third wife. However, it’s about one who glamorizes a past marriage, putting a sheen on it that was lacking during the actual relationship…and during the subsequent muddy divorce.

The “syndrome” may also include clinging to a title — i.e. Sonja’s obsession with the Morgan name and Luann De Lesseps calling herself “The Countess” despite being long-divorced from the Count (and having survived “It’s Not About Tom” D’Agastino following other post-divorce relationships).

In the cases of Sonja and Luann, by all appearances their famous ex husbands have thoroughly moved on. However, these ladies seem to live in and lust for the glory days of their prior unions (Luann desiring the royalty attached to the “Countess” moniker rather than the Count himself, who reportedly ran off with an Ethiopian princess). These relationships appear far grander in the rearview mirror than they actually were.

Sonja’s marital demise was allegedly more sordid and salacious than she lets on. She claims it was a beautiful marriage, but if you’ve read RHONY cast mate Carole Radziwill’s most recent blog posts on BravoTV.com, or googled Ms. Tremont Morgan (Do so!), you’ll get some insight into the real story.

Housewife Dorinda Medley has tweeted, without mincing snark, that the current Mrs. Morgan (who is allegedly Sonja’s former bestie!) might not be so thrilled with Sonja’s recent statements idealizing her marriage with Mr. M…

Or the fact that Sonja talks about carrying on the family name through her business ventures (rather than focusing on having her daughter, a Morgan by blood, carry it on). I only regret that I never got to purchase a Morgan Toaster Oven to see how it stacks up to the old gadget in my kitchen. You know, the one that I abandon for the more high tech microwave. We all have our greater loves in life…But I digress.

Average folks like me have no problem saying we are publicists or writers, lawyers, doctors, gardeners, stay-at-home mothers, bloggers, job seekers, what have you….but when you are a hostess or a nurse and you’ve struck gold and married more in a minute than you would have made in a lifetime, it’s difficult letting a trumped up title go.

In fact, it’s easy to understand why one might glorify a union that irreparably shattered. I feel bad for Sonja because I get the sense that she is constantly plagued by What Ifs. I think she looks back now and has mentally applied a lacquered coating on that period with Mr. M. She thinks it was never actually half as bad as it was, and had she only done things differently….

I’m speculating, but based on her behavior this season, it gels.

We saw Dorinda explode when Sonja made her divorce out to be worse than Dorinda having buried a husband. On social media, people argued that a divorce can feel like a death. Some were annoyed with Dorinda for minimizing Sonja’s pain. However, I’m #TeamDorinda on this one. Dorinda actually divorced her husband Ralph around the same time Sonja divorced Mr. Morgan, a little known fact. Dorinda was fortunate enough to meet and marry the love of her life, Richard Medley, after that divorce from Ralph. As Carole mentions in her blog, we rarely hear a word about Ralph from Dorinda.

In fairness to Sonja however, people say that the best way to get over someone is by getting under someone new. As the Samantha Jones character of this franchise, Sonja Morgan has bedded numerous men, but it doesn’t seem that any of them have truly captivated her or have come close to being a “Mr. Right.” Getting under someone for Sonja would mean fully getting under….their spell, being totally and indisputably in love.

From everything she has conveyed on RHONY, Sonja is not ready for that and for the give and take that a serious relationship requires. But perhaps once this time comes for her – if she is ready for it any time soon- we’ll see a new Sonja who is realistic about the past and what to expect from the future. Perhaps we’ll see a Sonja who fully gets that her husband didn’t die prematurely during the happy days of a marriage (and regrets comparing her situation to Dorinda’s), but that bad things happened requiring them to part.

There are other Mrs. Morgans as Sonja was actually her ex’s FOURTH wife. (Regardless, I liked the term “Third Wife Syndrome” that has a certain ring to it.) There are the Mrs. Morgans who divorced Sonja’s Mr. M and there is also the woman who is currently married to him. My advice to Sonja is to remove herself from the Mrs. Morgan Club and leave the handling of that legendary last name to her daughter. She could then forge ahead anew with ventures under the Tremont name.

To paraphrase a popular Israeli expression: You change your name, you change your luck.

Incidentally, Tremont Toasters has a very nice ring to it.

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Bravo TV, Reality TV

#RHONY Touching Base with Tinsley Mortimer

**From my Huffington Post archive, 8/24/17

Tinsley Mortimer is the most recent addition to the cast of Real Housewives of New York (RHONY). Currently airing its three-part reunion, the franchise offered an epic season filled with drama, drunken shenanigans, developing friendships and relationships and the dissolution of others. I recall briefly connecting with Tinsley when she was on the CW’s “reality show” High Society (you’ll see below why Reality Show is in quotes). The bubbly blonde, no stranger to the gossip columns in the early 2000s, reentered New York society via her Bravo debut this season after experiencing public humiliation – and a mugshot she wouldn’t let us forget about!

Although Tinsley is currently trotting the globe with steady beau Scott Kluth, she took time out of her busy schedule to answer questions for The Huffington Post. (Please note: This interview took place before the airing of Part 2 of the reunion when the ladies discussed voting – and not voting – in the last presidential election.)

You’re not a stranger to reality TV or the spotlight. Did taking part in this season of RHONY meet or exceed your expectations going in? How was this experience different (and BETTER, I’m greatly assuming) than High Society?

Taking part in this season of RHONY was a crazy, wild, tumultuous ride which exceeded my expectations on every front. These adjectives come to mind: hysterical, embarrassing, humiliating, frightening, and fun! Yes I’ve done TV before; however, I don’t think anything can prepare one for the rollercoaster called RHONY. If you can imagine getting ready for an event and the necessary preparations it takes…hair, make-up, clothing choices, etc., try having to do this almost every day! Now throw in dealing and interacting with some of the most confident and assertive ladies in New York, and you will have an idea of what it’s like to be on RHONY. This show is completely different from High Society, which was at times scripted. RHONY is an absolutely authentic depiction of a group of very strong, smart, tough, and opinionated New York women with varied and interesting pasts. Though our crazy behavior may seem unbelievable, everything you see is totally real.

Which of the ladies did you know before? How well did you actually know Sonja?

Sonja and I have been friends for fifteen years. She would chat with me at parties, she was always sweet to me. We reconnected a few years ago in Palm Beach, and she sometimes kindly called to check in on me. As for the other ladies, I occasionally ran into Luann at restaurants or functions in Palm Beach and I’ve run into a few of the other girls at events over the years.

You and Carol seem opposite in some ways. What is the key to the magic of this friendship? I love watching the two of you and to me, you guys seem like a great duo to hang out with.

I did not know Carole before the show so my friendship with her was unexpected and a nice surprise. Clearly, she is a girl with extraordinary intelligence, integrity, and character. She’s a very ‘cool’ chick and she could have looked at me in another light. Instead, she took the time to get to know me without any prejudice about my being a former ‘socialite.’ I think the ‘magic’ is the same as with any other good friendship…to be supportive, kind, and to have fun together.

 

You and Bethenny were a slow burn. Do you two hang out off camera now? Are you friends in real life?

 

The ridiculous story that Sonja leaked to Page Six really got to you. Are the two of you in a good place now? Do you have a friendship?

It wasn’t the Page Six piece itself that was so upsetting. It was the fact that someone I considered a friend would volunteer information to the press with the intent and purpose of making me look like someone I am not. So many untrue things have been written about me, particularly last year, so, of course, I am sensitive. I had just come out of an upsetting and humiliating experience and Sonja reached out to me when I was vulnerable. She generously offered me a safe haven that I could escape into and get my life back on track in NYC. I confided in Sonja, I trusted her, and she was the last person I thought would turn on me. I will always love her, however, for her extreme generosity in inviting me to stay with her. I sincerely hope we can repair our friendship, and I am confident we can.

 

What is it about Scott that makes him stand out and gives you more promise than previous relationships?

Scott is an amazing man. He comes from a strong family background and was raised with great morals, values, and integrity. He is incredibly brilliant, a self-made man, and a true gentleman. I so admire his work ethic and devotion to his business CouponCabin.com which he started when he was just 24. Scott’s authenticity and kindness is apparent to everyone. He’s really unlike any man I’ve ever known.

 

A bunch of us went back to binge the CW show High Society (shoutout to listeners of the Emotionally Broken Psychos Podcast and to Liz Bentley of EBP and host of Feathers in My Hair). Are you in touch with or do you have anything to do with any of the cast mates now?

I hope you enjoyed watching the show! I want to clear up a big misconception about “High Society” once and for all. The show wasn’t reality, it was satire. The producers initially wanted to film a docuseries that followed my real life. It was supposed to be called “Tinsleytown,” showing my life behind the red carpet and the glamour of New York as opposed to the glamour of Tinsletown or Hollywood. However, after my mom, sister and I signed on to do it, the producers decided to change the intent of the show. The entire storyline was altered to include feigned fights with “friends” who were not really my friends. We were placed in situations that were not real to us and that sometimes made us uncomfortable. Somehow the show turned into this satire on “high society” and how others might expect these people to behave. Other than my family, I don’t see any of the people who were in the cast.

You can catch up on past episodes of RHONY through the Bravo Now app and also On Demand. A brand new season is now airing Wednesday at 9/8c on Bravo.

 

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