Bravo TV, Reality TV

#SouthernCharmSavannah: Catching Up with Ashley Borders

A lot has changed for Ashley Borders, the former full time cast member on Southern Charm Savannah. This season (the show’s second), Borders makes only a few cameo appearances, with a caption that reads “Daniel’s friend.” Many viewers, with varying opinions on her from last season, feel this is an injustice because they were left hanging when it came to her “story.” A prevalent opinion is that she was the ONE character who actually made an otherwise “boring” and lackluster show something to tune in to.

In addition, she received some unsolicited advice from the more stodgy and more conservative viewers – who took to social media to opine – about making herself over, essentially to conform more to be like the others. To give you a mere metaphorical example: replacing her scoop neck tanks and cutoff shorts with Lily Pulitzer numbers that would make an Orthodox Rabbi proud (Odd reference from me, I admit, as only Daniel Eichholz of the SCS cast is Jewish).

Last season, Ashley was called out by her cast mates for excitedly discussing her styling business, but neglecting to gush about a side gig with Delta airlines which required a few scant hours per month. Viewers also snobbishly snarked about this airline opportunity and discussed how it might be “off brand” with the theme of wealth and privilege attached to the overall Southern Charm franchise.

Others deemed Ashley’s cast mates elitist. They contended that all the complaints inadvertently undermined the jobs of many Americans who do something similar to working baggage claims at airports.

Of course, on camera we saw Ashley’s cast mates insist that their gripes were about “honesty” which became a heavy storyline talking point that drove those rooting for this Southern sweetheart with the liberal views bananas.

Ashley comes from a prominent family of means, but you wouldn’t know it. She’s more focused on friendship, a new romantic relationship after recovering from divorce, her teenage son, her parents and siblings, spirituality and travel- lots of travel.

Raised in Savannah, she is the daughter of a pediatric surgeon noted as much for his skill as his charitable medical volunteer work in underdeveloped countries. Her mother’s work involves offering free clinics to people who cannot afford healthcare, and is also involved with home visits to the elderly. In addition, she helped start the first breast cancer center in the Middle East.

From the examples set by both of her parents, Ashley is committed to numerous philanthropic endeavors and focused on giving back, though she stays somewhat private about it.

In terms of the much-discussed Delta dealio and the more snooty smack she incurred from cast members last season and fans, Ashley tells me: “I have a friend who happens to be a millionaire and he did the Delta thing with me! He loved it too. It’s incredible because it gives you the opportunity to travel. He doesn’t feel that any work is above or below him. I have that same mindset. I think it’s important to work hard, not to rely on a trust fund or some sort of ‘cushioning’ when it’s wisest to save that for something important.” College tuition may be one “important” consideration for Ashley when she speaks lovingly of her son who is now in high school.

As far as the question of: Why wasn’t she forthcoming about this side hustle last season? Ashley has other, much closer friends who she talks to a ton, and we just didn’t get to see them and those conversations play out on TV. Mainly, however, she was very focused on her styling work, considering it her passion.

“I didn’t intentionally withhold things from my cast mates. Delta was great, but my great love truly was styling! I really wanted to be able to showcase it more on TV. You did get to see (in an early Season 1 episode) a shoot I worked on for a magazine – where I was in charge of the styling. I do so many things in general. I immediately felt ganged up on as I realized they wanted to make a huge deal out of Delta in a really surprising way.”

“For instance, I sell my old clothing on eBay and other cast members might do that too, but I wouldn’t lay into them for not bringing it up! Like selling clothes on eBay, the work at Delta was something I did only a few hours each month. Because I was so focused on styling, I didn’t feel defined by something I did on the side. I really wasn’t prepared for that to blow up in the way that it did…That caught me completely off guard and was disconcerting.”

Ashley no longer has the Delta side gig, but she discovered a harsh reality after appearing on Southern Charm Savannah last year. After facing some slut-shaming comments from Savannians and audience members, as well as intense critique about her struggling marriage and the Delta debacle, people in the neighborhood treated her differently.

“It became much harder to get local clients” for her styling business.

Co-parenting a teen with her ex husband Dennis, she is able to travel and work on styling projects overseas to make up for local losses. She’s also scored some acting work in the U.S. as well as some enviable projects in set design. Later this month she will appear alongside Gabriel Byrne and Kiersey Clemons in the Hollywood feature film “An L.A. Minute”.

In her first brief appearance of the season, in this past Monday’s episode, Ashley has agreed to meet with Daniel who remains a buddy of hers. You see her wearing a gold band on her left finger despite being divorced. She said that she wears a ring on that finger to avoid being hit on since she’s in a relationship with a man she is wildly passionate about.

He is someone she knew long ago: “He married someone else. I married someone else. We both got divorced and we ended up finding our way back to one another.”

There is a whole intriguing romance and a great story behind their history and reunion. I hope Ashley gets to share that one day with viewers. Meaning, I hope that if there is a Season 3 of Southern Charm Savannah, Ashley returns as a full time cast member with her beau.

In the scene that just aired with Daniel, I personally surmised that he looked uncomfortable confronting Ashley, who he has referred to as a “sweet person”, about honesty and authenticity. It is that harped-upon theme that makes some viewers’ eyes roll when they consider just how much Ashley actually did share last season. In particular, she was extremely candid about her dying marriage and lack of sex life with Dennis.

The conversation that just aired between Daniel and Ashley was incredibly brief, but she says it was longer than what we witnessed (which is always the case with reality television) and somewhat emotionally taxing.

She adds that she adores Daniel and understands why – particularly as he’s a close friend of Hannah’s – he felt the need to ask certain questions. Things were rough between Hannah and Ashley last season and Ashley conveys to me that she wishes they had patched things up then. We’ll have to stay tuned to see if they were able to fix their relationship or not.

As for her status as “friend of” this season. Ashley says: “I really want this season of Southern Charm Savannah to go well and it’s my sincere hope that more viewers tune in. After filming last season, Happy (a character who clashed with Ashley at one point on camera) has been lovely! And Happy’s mother is also incredible and very supportive! I remain close with Nelson (who didn’t return for Season 2) which is unique since we are SOOO different (she’s a liberal, he’s a staunch conservative). I disagree with him often, but we always agree to disagree and do so respectfully! I’ll tell him how I object to something, and he’s always listened and taken it in. I like Hagood, the new cast member this season, who I’ve known somewhat from around town. Daniel is a good friend and I consider his dad to be a friend of mine too – it’s kind of hilarious! He’s a great guy and I’m hoping you get to see more of their father-son interactions.”

Ashley adds that she had a real ally  in Brandon, in spite of some snide remark he made about her that viewers noted from the previews.

Ashley has received plenty of positive messages from fans, but also her fair share of hateful tweets. “I don’t understand this #HiAshley thing that’s going on, or what exactly happened to make people so passionate on social media,” she says, flummoxed at how having the name Ashley has brought on more haters, viewers glued to the original Southern Charm with a different Ashley.

Ashley Borders can cop to the fact that she too was polarizing onscreen last season, but she’s hoping people will get to see that she’s someone that cares deeply about others and feels passionately about bringing more diversity to the franchise.

“It’s frequently pointed out to me that the show has an all white cast and I’m happy that you may…I’m not positive, but maybe?…get to see my best friend, Shena, who is African American.”

Ashley Borders may have been the most misunderstood reality TV character on the most underwhelming reality show during Season 1. It is my hope that this show gains more traction as we see more scenes that capture her uniqueness, open-mindedness and authenticity.

(Pictured: Ashley Borders chatting on set with actor Gabriel Byrne)

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Bravo TV, Reality TV

#BravoTV: A “Firing” or a Resignation? Stars Are Often Saved By Semantics

I recently published a post with Rob Shuter’s intel on the Carole Radziwill departure from Real Housewives of New York.

In a nutshell, Shuter, a well known gossip columnist, shared that Radzi had been fired from the franchise. The implication was that this was as a result of some sort of “it’s her or me” ultimatum stated by cast mate Bethenny Frankel who had a major beef with her former friend.

Do I personally believe Carole was fired? No.

I think Carole was exasperated with Bethenny’s nitpicking, constant criticisms and complaints, and I think Carole decided it was optimal to opt out of (what had inevitably become) “The Bethenny Show”.

But that theory begs the following question regarding Bravo in general: “Real Housewives” do not announce a departure mid-season unless there’s a real problem, so why did Carole and the network let us know now that she wouldn’t be returning next season?

My personal contention is that Carole lost her characteristic cool at the reunion, where she blurted out that she didn’t need to subject herself to the torture any longer. After this impromptu announcement, the network may have encouraged a public statement because there were too many witnesses present at filming for this to be kept under wraps long-term.

The above is only my theory and I could be wrong…while Rob Shuter is correct, or vis versa. I don’t think we’ll get a definitive answer to this, at least not any time soon.

One thing I’ll tell you is that while Bravo has (technically) “fired” talent in the past, it most often doesn’t go down the way people would assume. For instance, it’s not similar to how it was shown on NBC’s The Apprentice (or Celebrity Apprentice): An executive isn’t pointing a finger at a Real Housewife saying “you’re fired.” More often than not, there’s a discussion that results in a “mutual decision” that things aren’t working out.

The executive might say something like “X, I see how you aren’t enjoying yourself this season. I know we’ve been asking you to tone down your weekly blog posts and not go rogue in your interviews. We’ve been demanding a lot of you and I can see how that’s really taking a major toll. I know you’re contracted til the end of next year, but we’ll allow you to get out of your contract and write your letter of resignation now.”

Bear in mind that there are also channels to go through and kinks to work out initially between the production company and Bravo the TV network (i.e. Evolution Media produces Vanderpump Rules, RHOBH and RHOC for Bravo. Shed Media produces RHONY. Sirens Media is the powerhouse behind RHONJ.)

The network would rather end things amicably and lead the discussion in such a manner that the star can declare they’ve independently made their final decision about not returning.

For legal reasons and to end off on a good note, this is a sound strategy by Bravo.

More often than not, this is how a Bravo “firing” actually goes down, with semantics on a star’s side. One particular Bravolebrity was greatly encouraged to hand in a letter of resignation last year and that individual can now say they “quit”, despite the fact that there was an exorbitant amount of tension, anxiety and breath holding until the official severing of ties.

The act of firing is a royal headache that not only involves the most influential higher-ups, but a legal department as well as personal attorneys.

While there may be no way to confirm the precise circumstances surrounding Carole Radziwill’s RHONY departure in particular…in general, most discussions that result in the parting of ways are orchestrated by ringmasters of collaborative reasoning.

These authoritative – yet diplomatic – figures are also discerning deliberators, skilled at relaying rationale so it resonates.

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Bravo TV, Reality TV, Uncategorized

#SouthernCharm: Breaking Down the ‘Blind Gossip’

Someone who is way better at updating her website than I am, as well as more impressively diligent about frequent postings and keeping current with numerous reality shows is Tamara Tattles. Personally, I’m just starting out with this website, ShirasGotTheScoop, and trying to manage other jobs and endeavors (including a gaggle of offspring) simultaneously, but I’d like to post as often as I can. In that regard, I look up to Tamara who is admirably a #SuperBlogger – #Goals. I’m in awe of friends who post multiple times daily and I’ll admit that I’m not sure of my aspirations for this site yet as I fret about other work. What I can tell you is that sometimes, the savvier website- keepers inspire me greatly to weigh in… So tonight, I’m going to delve into Tamara Tattles’ most recent post.

Tamara has authored a blind item that I shall attempt to interpret as one would explore Talmudic text (my Jewish day school contemporaries may or may not crack a smile at that. They may or may not eschew the reference entirely, deeming it despicably sacrilegious). There will be lots of commentary and speculation on my part, and I’ll make sure to pepper my postulations with allegedlies – in order to be as fair as one can possibly be here.

Tamara Tattles’ site, which I urge you to check out, is TamaraTattles.com, and she currently also has her blind item on the website BlindGossip.com. Before I weigh in and break it all down as if it is a tractate of Gemara, here’s the full item:

On a certain reality show, there is one evil b* that is worse than anything we have ever seen. EVER. She has literally hooked her way on to the show by way of another aberrant creature we recently got rid of.

In an odd turn of events, I totally warned the male in this story about the female in this story very, very, early on when she was trying to sell stories to the sites that pay for the dirt.  He was polite, but didn’t really believe me so I just bowed out to watch nature take its course.

Now I am finding out that she has been constantly digging up the dirt on her “beloved.” She has gone through his phone, she has gone through his computer, and she has a lot of information to share. She has attacked a woman relentlessly who politely declined to play the role she is currently playing. She’s psychotic.

Here just a few things she has on her equally despicable “mark”.

◦ Very early on, his sisters tried to pay him to send this female back to where she came from and try to get the female who declined “the opportunity” to reconsider. That was never a possibility but the sisters didn’t have the full story.

◦ She was particularly incensed about his will. She was not happy with the beneficiaries.

◦ Some sort of lesbian sex tape with toys. I presume he was on camera but my source was not clear about that.

◦ She was also pissed about him asking people via email about her call girl reputation. She was not working and living with her mother at the time they were introduced.

There is a lot more. He is terrified. He’s tried on multiple occasions to break up with her but she is threatening to sell stories. Oddly, that is the very thing I warned him about months and months ago. At least I tried, and honestly, knowing what I know now, that I didn’t know then, I’m hoping these two drag each other to death. Neither one of them need to be breathing our air unless it is behind bars. At least we know that neither of them will be on out TV again unless it’s on the news about their court cases.

See You Next Tuesday has a significant meaning for this blind. Because she will be speaking unsupervised next Tuesday. And she’s a loose cannon. Expect bizarre social media posts from him on Tuesday as well and more from me as soon as I get the tea.

So here’s the deal…and be prepared for potential **spoilers** in this post. It has been rumored that Ashley Jacobs, Thomas Ravenel’s girlfriend and the Southern Charm “villain” of the season, is not just a Cali girl but a call girl!!!!

I’m not sure that I’m “buying it” personally, but in the episodes ahead, you may very well see one of the other ladies in the cast bring it up to the group.

At this stage, rumors are just rumors, and of course, there has been smoke —but is there fire? That question could very likely be the cliff-hanger of the current season. If Thomas Ravenel and Ashley Jacobs are kaput post reunion (meaning: not slated to return next season), we’ll be left with a lot that is unanswered. The reunion is being filmed tomorrow – hence the reference above to “Tuesday.”

I’m sorry to disappoint readers, but I am doubtful we’ll get our answers to the “call girl” question. Thomas’s contract actually expires after the reunion, and we do not know (and frankly, it seems DOUBTFUL) if it will be renewed for another season.

The friend who introduced Ashley to the show is said to be Landon Clements (a cast member from last season). Rumor has it (and again, keep in mind the above disclaimer about rumors merely being rumors) that after Ashley went through Thomas’s emails, she concluded that a former Ravenel girlfriend of just one week, Luzanne Otte, was to blame for the cast’s dislike of her.

It has also been alleged that Landon assisted in planting these particular seeds of doubt in her friend Ashley’s mind.

In the next few episodes of Southern Charm, you will see Ashley and Thomas’s relationship deteriorate as Ashley is plagued by insecurities. Thomas does little to reassure her (or to be nice at all, in my opinion).

It seems he “checked out” earlier on when his new squeeze attacked Kathryn, who impressively maintained her composure amidst the volatility.

From what one can decipher in the item, Tamra Tattles tried to warn Thomas that Ashley might have found allies in a group of curmudgeons running a revenge-slanted blog.

Twitter users have noted that said blog has been the only outlet to praise Thomas amidst multiple sexual assault allegations. It has also been pointed out that the site unabashedly slut-shamed the daughter of a Ravenel sexual assault victim, deliberately posting one sexy photo after another of her (she’s a model and realtor) between article paragraphs. The intention is beyond transparent.

Before the sexual assault allegations garnered media attention, Ashley Jacobs allegedly went on a tear: She blamed TRav’s ex Luzanne Otte (the ONE WEEK “relationship” gal who ended things with Thomas after witnessing absurd and temperamental behavior) for animosity she felt from cast mates.

Sources claim Ashley fed the aforementioned blog many of the stories they ended up running. This was much to the dismay of privacy-craving Luzanne Otte, a woman who would never go on realty TV and who would really rather that folks not even know her name. Unfortunately, she was forced to go public in order to clear it.

You will see in the episodes ahead how Ashley’s relationship with Thomas Ravenel unravels. I was informed that Ashley even asked Shep Rose if he would date her – should things not pan out with Thomas.

What else would she possibly do in Charleston otherwise?

You’ll get the sense that she would really like a reason to stay.

Tamara alludes to the fact that Thomas’s family members had suggested Ashley go back to Santa Barbara and that might have been the best move, but the harder things have gotten, the stronger Ashley has fought to stand her ground and stay.

There are implications in the above blind item that Ashley has some secrets she’s keeping about Thomas (the “lesbian sex tape”, whatever that entails, may be a part of it…or it might not be). There is so much more to Thomas (risqué sexcapades? More information about sexual assaults? Other TRav troubles? The manner in which Ashley and TRav truly met?) that Ashley seems to know. She may be lording all of that knowledge over him, essentially blackmailing him to stay in the relationship and allow her to remain in his home.

Again, all of the above is ALLEGED, but pay special attention to the dynamics between Thomas and Ashley in the coming episodes.

If I’m interpreting things correctly, Tamara Tattles tried to forewarn Thomas about the mess that lay ahead…whatever it is exactly.

It seems quite clear that the issued warning went unheeded. The blind item implies that Thomas may be desperate to break up with Ashley.

However, for once, the powerful, affluent, former politician and alpha male of the notorious “All boys club” (a monster of Haymaker Productions’ making) is powerless.

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Bravo TV

#SouthernCharm: Patricia’s Had Enough of the Smarm! (Inquistr article)

Amy Feinstein of Inquistr.com put out a piece today addressing Patricia Altschul’s latest Twitter comments on her rift with Thomas Ravenel. As I reported previously, Patricia let me know privately that in addition to what she saw as a smear campaign, there’s much more to the story and that includes the current sexual assault allegations Thomas faces. Patricia said she would be able to address the specifics in more detail with me once the “gag order has been lifted” by Bravo.

Feinstein writes: “Little by little Patricia has come forward to tell fans of the hit Bravo show why she soured on Thomas Ravenel and his “Cali Girl” girlfriend she assisted on a shopping trip to Gwynn’s. On Twitter early this morning, Altschul responded to Thomas Ravenel’s recent behavior and explains in more detail why she decided to excise him from her life.”

““Why people ask? Because of his and Ashley’s smear campaign, character assassination, lies and purposeful defamation. It made me reassess everything Thomas said to me about @KathrynDennis who has clearly turned her life around while they are on a downward spiral.”

Besides Patricia, another subject of Trashley’s (that’s Thomas + girlfriend Ashley Jacobs) smear campaign is Luzanne Otte. She briefly dated Thomas and now lives to regret it. See my past articles on Luzanne Otte for further information. Luzanne, who is close with Patricia, is finally getting her solid reputation back as Ashley and Thomas’s shenanigans have become more well known. Both Luzanne and Patricia have bonded with Kathryn and a friendship between the Southern Charm matriarch and Kathryn (the former underdog of this franchise) is reportedly blossoming.

Here’s more from Amy Feinstein: https://www.inquisitr.com/4931454/southern-charm-star-patricia-altschul-says-thomas-ravenel-launched-a-smear-campaign-with-girlfriend/.

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Bravo TV

#SouthernCharm: Semantics

If you came here looking for the post titled “Why did Patricia Block Thomas on Social Media?” I removed it at the behest of Patricia Altschul herself after she messaged me (on Instagram) saying there’s more to the story of the estrangement — in light of the sexual assault allegations against Thomas Ravenel. She said she’d be happy to address things with me once the network gag order has been lifted.

I really hate to remove posts, but I needed to respect this type of request which is entirely valid and reasonable. For now, Bravo has asked cast mates not to speak out about Thomas amidst the allegations. I’m not certain that Patricia and I will be able to connect at a later juncture, but suffice it to say, there is a LOT that transpired to cause her estrangement from Thomas and his girlfriend Ashley Jacobs.

Speaking of those allegations and the “investigation” into them, Tamara Tattles reported that Thomas will not be returning next season http://tamaratattles.com/2018/06/01/this-will-be-thomas-ravenels-last-season-on-southern-charm/#comment-492346 and that the official announcement will be made around the time of the reunion.

I believe that’s when People Magazine and other publications will have the official word from the network. Bear in mind that Thomas’s contract actually expires after the upcoming reunion, so he needn’t be “fired” necessarily. It’s more likely his contract “will not be renewed.” Semantics!

In my opinion, the optics haven’t been great for Bravo here:

During a time when other networks are rushing to make announcements about their controversial stars and nip things in the bud immediately, Bravo has remained mostly mum. If Tamara Tattles proves to be correct (and she asserts that she has a rock solid source), let it serve as peace of mind for those irked by what has appeared to be #InactionByBravo.

Due to Thomas’s reported rifts from many of his cast mates, I personally did not see how he could return to Southern Charm or even desire to do so. Remember, Whitney Sudler-Smith is also an Executive Producer of the franchise.

It will be interesting to see how Bravo positions things to viewers. Expect any official announcement that follows to come around June 12th-14th. I was told the reunion is being filmed between those dates.

(Photo Source: Bravo. Interestingly, this is a cast picture without Thomas Ravenel which is fitting for the projected future of the franchise.)

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