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.



Jacqueline Laurita On Being Back, Coming Back, and Backing Herself Up

imageOn an unseasonably cold November night Jacqueline and Chris Laurita attended an event to learn more about healthy eating habits for children. The event (which we will revisit later on) addressed issues like gluten intolerance, which is very personal for the Lauritas since their son, Nicholas, must follow a gluten free diet. After the presentation I was lucky enough to catch up with Jacqueline and ask her some of the fans’ burning questions like if she’s coming back to Real Housewives of New Jersey for season 7 (see her answer below). I was also lucky enough to have the Lauritas walk me back to my car post event. What can I say, it was dark, I was alone, and I’m terribly neurotic. Thank you Jac and Chris for looking out for me! Happy Thanksgiving!

TBB:Why did you come back to The Real Housewives of New Jersey?

JL: I came back because I actually never left (laughs). I had asked to go part-time because I’m working on a lot of other things right now and the stress from the show got to be a little much with trying to do everything I wanted to get done. So I needed a break from the show and they offered that. I said I would do part-time but then I was told my sister-in-law (Dina Manzo) wouldn’t come on full-time if I was part-time. So I said fine. I guess it was in March they wanted me to come back in so I said ok because it’s good money, I was done filming for Manzo’d (With Children) so I felt , “I’ll do it, why not?”

TBB: Did you miss (RHONJ) during the break?

JL: No! (laughs) I didn’t miss it. It was very nice having a break, I enjoyed the break, but part-time to me is very manageable and it’s not as stressful. Once you’ve been away from it for a little while you get this temporary amnesia where you forget why you were stressed out.

TBB: Kind of like when you forget what childbirth is like and you have another baby?

JL: EXACTLY! That’s exactly what it’s like!



TBB: Any desire to come back full-time?

JL: There has been talk about me coming back full-time and I’m still considering it. I would like to do another season of Manzo’d, but I am considering either full-time or part-time (for Housewives). I really haven’t decided. I think the network also is still deciding in what direction the show is going.

TBB: I have to ask about your behavior on Twitter. You really, really went after (Dina) a few weeks ago when part one of the RHONJ Reunion aired. It was the first time anything about the family feud had been spoken about publicly. Do you regret that?

JL: You know if I’m feeling something I say it and I stayed quiet for a very long time, but when I saw that my husband, my son, and I were being talked about, and Dina was telling her version of the story, I had to speak up. So that’s why I (did it). Twitter is my place, that’s where if I feel like saying something I say it and I don’t care who likes it or not. So I was basically just responding to things that were said and I wanted to get my side out there.

You know, I am ALWAYS open to reconciliation with ANYBODY, including Dina. We have tried so many times to make things good with her that it just became frustrating. We tried to get together before Lexi’s graduation to talk, but they weren’t open to that, so we did offer to take Lexi to dinner privately to celebrate her graduation and never got a response. That’s why I responded the way I did to what Dina said at the reunion. I don’t hate Dina, I’m just frustrated with Dina.

TBB: Will you see Teresa (Giudice) before she goes to her sentencing?

JL: I doubt it.

TBB: Have you spoken to her?

JL: I texted her, she answered me, and that was it.

So there you have it folks! No final decisions yet on whether Jac will be back. What are your thoughts? Do you want to see Jacqueline and her family return to RHONJ for Season 7?


Kathy Wakile Shows Her Sweet Side

imageAs many of you know I love to cook, especially bake. It’s a skill I learned very young and I’m always looking to expand my culinary knowledge. So when Kathy Wakile announced she would be publishing some of her recipes for the magnificent bite sized treats she’s always showcasing on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, I made a note on my mental wish list. I mean, I have had this woman’s cannolis at more than one event and they literally are to die for!

The book, Indulge (St. Martin’s Press) recently released and the Wakiles, yes Richie is by his wife’s side every step of the way, are on a book tour. On September 11th they held a book signing event at Books and Greetings in Northvale, NJ. Kathy answered questions from fans and foodies, along with one nervous newlywed who claims she can’t cook beyond Easy Mac. Kathy assured her that there are recipes for cooks at every level in Indulge (which she wrote with Miriam Harris).

Broken into reimagecipes by season, so that we can use the freshest and most abundant ingredients, Indulge is a treat in itself with vibrant photos of food and family. In the audience was Kathy’s own niece, who had driven over an hour to surprise her aunt who she fondly remembers with the 80’s big hair and a “lip phone”. As Kathy said to me, cooking for others is the fastest way to “make people happy.”  I believe the beautifully bound Indulge will help bakers of all abilities make many people happy…but don’t go looking for the cannoli recipe…as sweet as Kathy is, she’s still smart about her business. Read on to find out what else she told me…


TBB: How many recipes are in the book?

KW: There are over 75 recipes in the book. I didn’t count them, but I know there’s over 75.

TBB: Which one is your absolute favorite and why?

KW: You know, that’s like asking me which on of my kids is my favorite (laughs). I’m only kidding! I think the lemon tiramisu or the lemon cheescake are really my favorites taste wise, just because I love lemon, but there’s a really sentimentel one, and it’s called Figs In a Basket. It has a lot of sentimental significance to me.

TBB: Because…

KW: …because the day after Rich and I got engaged my mother and father invited his family over for dinner. At that point our families didn’t know eachother really well and my parents spoke with an accent and his parents spoke with a different accent. After the dinner was over we all went out to the deck and my father presented my in-laws this big basket of figs and their eyes just lit up like “these people are just like us.” There was this mediterranean commonality. It meant so much. It was the best harvest we’ve ever had with the figs. After that (my father) planted (figs) in their yard too. It was just a really nice day.

TBB: How long did the process of writing Indulge take?

KW: Over a year, a long long year. It took a lot of time.

TBB: You have such a passion for baking, any cooking shows in the works?

KW:  You never know, you never know! I am working on some things right now so we’ll see what happens!

TBB: What recipe should beginning bakers try first?

KW: I think the apple crumble is just the perfect thing for a beginner to do and if you don’t like apples and you want to substitute it with peach that will work too.

TBB: Have you been watching the new season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey?

KW: Yeah, I’ve been watching.

TBB: What are your feelings on the new cast members?

KW: I haven’t gotten a chance to get to know Amber (Marchese) too well, I only filmed with her a little bit but Nicole (Napolitano) and Teresa (Aprea) I got to know and I like them, they’re a lot of fun. I honestly think it’s hard when you’re invested in a previous cast and their families. It’s hard being the new kid on the block, being the new kid at school, and I feel for them because I was the new kid at school too but I think they’re a lot of fun.

TBB: I have to ask, has your other famous cookbook writing cousin congratulated you yet?

KW: No, no comment.

***Stay tuned to TBB as we will be testing one of Kathy’s recipes!…Ok probably more than one!