Real Housewives of New Jersey star Jacqueline Laurita has always been, as she describes, “an open book.” She has spent the last 4 seasons letting the cameras catch all her highs and lows, from a sometimes rocky relationship with her daughter to the welcoming of her youngest son. And though she rarely keeps anything from the viewers, she doesn’t interview that often. We were thrilled that when approached to be the first on TBB’s relaunch she happily obliged. We asked everything we were dying to know and she answered it all proving again that Jac indeed has nothing to hide!
TBB: RHONJ is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, Housewife franchise. You have been on the show since the beginning. Can you tell us how it all started?
JL: A production team came to our local salon (Chateau) asking the owners if they knew a group of women (Moms) in town that led interesting lives. The owners gave them my name. They told me it was about “Jersey Moms”. I thought it seemed innocent enough, I lived my life like an open book anyway, and it was a chance for me to see what went on behind the scenes of Reality TV shows. I was curious. I learned that more drama went on behind the scenes than in front of the cameras! A production team interviewed me by phone for a couple of hours and then followed up with a video interview. Shortly after I was offered a contract. That took some time to negotiate. I had no idea what I was getting into. Never thought anyone would really watch it. I did it more for the experience instead of the fame.
TBB: Why do you think your show has one of the strongest followings on Bravo?
JL: I think it’s because our show is about family and real relationships that aren’t forced. Not to mention we all have deep-seeded issues and are not afraid to speak our minds. People can relate. Relatable + Drama = Ratings!
TBB: You are right now filming your 5th season. Which season has been your favorite to film thus far and why?
JL: The second season for me was the most fun for sure. I was away from Danielle (Staub) for the most part and had a lot of fun filming with Teresa (Giudice). Although, I didn’t enjoy the hair-pulling Country Club incident and the drama surrounding it, but we got past that.
TBB: What is your most regrettable Housewives’ moment?
JL: Losing my self control on the season four reunion. In my defense, my anger and frustration had built up inside me for a long time and we were in a high pressure situation for 12 hours. We were all bound to break at some point. I was depressed about it for about a week afterward. It was sad to me that it had got to that point between everyone and that I lost my self control over things that were so senseless. It’s all so unimportant to me now.
TBB: You elected out of season 3′s reunion taping. In hindsight do you wish you had been there?
JL: Absolutely not! You saw how angry I was filming season four’s reunion. That season (4) had wrapped before season three’s reunion was filmed. I would have had to sit there and pretend like nothing was wrong, because technically, for the viewers, the drama had not started between us yet. Don’t forget, things appeared to be fine between Teresa and I during season 3. I would have had a real hard time pretending nothing was wrong. I’m too real for that. My emotions always show. Besides, the hype from my disappearance made the ratings go higher. Many people tuned in to see why I wasn’t there.
TBB: I know you can’t speak much about the current filming, but we saw a slight reconciliation with you and Teresa during season 4, only to be tainted by what the fans refer to as Stripper Gate, not to mention some very uncomfortable moments at the reunion. Will you ever be friends again?
JL: No, I don’t believe so, but that doesn’t mean things won’t ever be civil between us. We are adults. After our “make up hug” in California, I overheard Teresa in her RV saying how much she hated me and that she found it so hard to even look at my face. After that, I could never trust her sincerity again. Someone who can look me straight in the eye and pretend to forgive and love me while secretly hating on me, is a dangerous person. Not someone I want or trust in my life. Especially now. My plan after I heard her was to just get through the rest of filming without anymore drama, then fade away from the phony friendship. I couldn’t take anymore drama. My head was filled with more important things like my children, especially with what was going on with my youngest son, Nicholas. We almost made it through the rest of the season without more drama. Darn it!
TBB: We know that there’s been lots of friction between Caroline and Dina (Manzo), do you still talk to Dina?
JL: No I don’t. I tried to make it better with her but her heart isn’t there. It’s complicated. She has other issues that she is dealing with. I understand. Maybe one day things will get better. She’s still family. I only wish her well.
TBB: Back to season 5, what do you think when reading all of the casting rumors that are flying? There’s been so much speculation as to who is in, who is out, who is new!
JL: It’s really amusing to me. People are so off on so many things regarding all of us. I wonder where they get their misguided information. People will see the truth soon enough.
TBB: When I spoke to you in September at Sparkle Speaks we talked about how supportive Autism Speaks and other families affected by Autism have been for you. You said you want to “give back and help others as much as (you) can.” How are you using your notoriety to shed light on Autism?
JL: I share what I’ve learned with others that need it. I share resources. I share my experience so others don’t feel so alone. I have done so much research. I have binders full! Starting this February, I’m an interim contributing editor for Parenting Magazine, and I am also doing a blog with Parenting Magazine, which is giving me yet another platform to share my journey. I’m involved in Autism charities. I speak at fundraisers and have now been asked to speak at autism conferences. I speak from the heart and not as an expert. I’m new at this. I recently had the honor of going to JFK Elementary School in Newark, NJ to hand out sensory therapy tools donated for special needs children who were affected by Hurricane Sandy. I did this along with Mayor Cory Booker, Jodi Gomes, Areva Martin and my consultant/friend Nicole Lotito. I want to help as many people as I can because so many people have helped me. I want to encourage people to never give up on their child, to be their best advocate and to bring out the best child that their child can be. I love giving advice, and sharing experiences because I feel it helps give others hope and strength, it has for me.
TBB: You have been tweeting lately about Nicholas’s progress. It’s very admirable of you to share your story and I know your fans are watching and cheering you along. Any chance you will write a book about your experiences like Jenny McCarthy did?
JL: There is a good chance I will write a book someday. I will at least put my experience on my website and share my journey with others. My Parenting Magazine blog is also going to linked to my website, where I am going to post Autism-related topics on www.JacquelineLaurita.com. I want to reach as many people as I can. I want to help others. I want to make a difference.
TBB: Thank you so much for talking with me today. I have to let the fans know that you certainly are as “Real” as Real Housewives come. Is there anything else you would like to tell my readers?
JL: I’m building a Beauty & Wellness MedSpa in Oakland, NJ with Dr.William Song and Michele Caputo from Omni Aesthetics (right next to the BLK Beverage offices)… so… stay tuned for more details…. I hope to see you all there. I also have a few other projects in the works that I am looking forward to sharing with everyone later! Also… BLK is doing incredible, growing like wildfire! They just opened up a beautiful brand new office. So proud that all of their hard work is finally paying off. They work hard every day. Lastly, best wishes and happiness to all in 2013!