LifeStyle YOU chats exclusively to Renee Graziano from Mob Wives about life, love, social media and, of course, what we can expect from the show.
Hi Renee, It’s great to chat to you. We’re so excited about Mob Wives coming to Australia!
I'm excited too! I'm going over to another continent. I plan on conquering them all!
For Aussies who don't know much about the show, what can they expect?
Am I allowed to curse? You are about to see a life that many people have fantasies about – but this is the real deal. You’re going to see it all really unfold - from my son’s father, Junior, getting arrested and the cops taking him in as part of the largest mob bust in New York history, to frustrations in the house, to the financial breakdown, to the girls becoming catty and vicious and to old relationships.
This is the real experience - and I’m not just saying it because I'm on the show. I don’t need to lie to anybody. This is the most realistic show that depicts this type of lifestyle. Right down to the fact that my father no longer speaks to me because I did it.
Why did you decide take part?
Apart from the fact that my sister is the creator and Executive Producer, I knew I was fit for TV. God did not have me prepared for it in my past but then the right time and right position came along and I thought, 'yep – I'm going to be a Mob Wife!' It's a good fit for me because I have the most outrageous personality. I don't hold my tongue. I don't care if I'm in a church and have to ask God for forgiveness because I'm going to tell you exactly how I feel. If I don't, I'm a liar and I’m phoney, and I can assure you I’m not. The only thing fake is my nose – that’s it. Everything else about me is 100%.
To be honest with you, it hasn't been the brightest thing I've ever done in my lifetime but it's who I am and who God made. I always say, and i just tweeted it, ‘God doesn't make mistakes, he makes miracles’. Maybe when you see Season 2 you’ll understand more about what a miracle I am.
What kind of response have you gotten since doing Mob Wives?
Some love me, some hate me and if you don't like me, change the channel. At first I was very sensitive when people wouldn't talk to me, but guess what? Now they all want to be my friends. I’m very sensitive. For me, the littlest things bother me, like when the girls call me a drama queen and so does AJ (her son). I'm not a drama queen, I'm a very emotional person – I’m a Cancer damn it! (laughs) If you read anything to do with Cancer our title is always “I feel....”
So, we see you’re a big Tweeter! Do you like being able to interact with your fans?
I love my fans! I'm so flattered that I even have fans and even some celebrity fans. There are a lot of people that are pro-Renee and some that aren’t. Some that judge me by my looks and say the camera adds on 10 pounds, but I say it adds on 20! If you wanna judge me by my looks, so be it.
I used to work for 50 Cent – he told me you shouldn’t read what people write about you. He is an inspiration to me. He told me you'll get through the day easier if you ignore it, and he was 100% right.
You enjoy getting dressed up and have a great unique sense of style. Which celebrity would you most like to style?
Only 50 Cent. Hands down. He was the most respectful gentleman to work for, he never once was out of line – he is courteous, generous, caring and honest. You could say I'm a huge fan. Not just his music but him. My first wardrobe job was with 50 cent. Where do you go from there? It was a blessing in disguise. I learned from the best and I take his advice. We recently met up and talked about everything for an hour and a half. He gives me really good direction and makes me feel very empowered.
On the show, we often see you in the kitchen cooking for AJ - What part does cooking play in your life?
I love to cook. Sundays are a very important day for Italian families. You could hate each other all week long but when that food hits the table on Sunday it no longer matters. Food brings the family together, it brings health to your body and it gives you time. Even if it’s just 5 minutes with your family to sit and and talk and ask them how their day was. My son will say that, no matter what, Mum always had a meal on the table for me and that's important.
Are there any rules or mottos you live by?
Be yourself. Don't be anybody that you’re not. I wasted too much time in my past trying to mask myself and be someone else. Be true to who you are is my motto.
Loyalty is also very important to me. I am loyal to a fault. I will never turn my back on a friend or family. I'm even loyal to strangers sometimes, because it’s something that God gave to me and I'm going to use it.
What kind of music do you like listening to?
Everything! From Donna Summer to hip-hop to Garth Brooks to Blondie. I love music! Any kind of music (Renee starts singing)
So we understand you’ve also set up a company called Jail Mail – can you tell us more about that?
Jail Mail is a way for families to stay close to one another. It can be hard when you have loved ones in jail to go to store, get a card and post it so this way people can pick a greeting card from the website and we arrange for it to be sent off. The project is really important to me and is launching in a couple of months.
While we’re chatting, Renee asks to be excused for a moment. Upon her return, she explains it was because her ex-husband Junior was trying to dry his shoe laces in the microwave: “You see I have two children! One who is 45!” Does this mean they get back together? You’ll just have to watch the show to find out!
And we see your son AJ is also on Twitter and has his own website – how does he like being on the show?
I try to make AJ tweet more than he does! My ex is on Twitter too. I love Twitter – I think it's so cool to be able to connect with people all over the world. I pray daily so I always put something in about God and notice it affects people in such a positive way. And that for me is one of the greatest things I can do for somebody.
For example, that tweet I told you about earlier, I got 400 posts since that tweet! I love tweeting! I'm not a facebook person i never was. It’s also a great business tool and a great way to connect – I'll definitely be using it for Jail Mail. [You can follow Renee at twitter.com/reneegraziano]
What do you like doing in your down time?
I love to write. It’s the best therapy in the whole world. Even when you’re angry, you write something, read it back and think, ‘Sh*t, did really write that?!’ I have books upon books of my writing. Most of my stuff is mushy love poems, about how I want to fall in love and have a particular kind of life. I dreamt of it, found it and was married for 10 years. Hopefully it will happen again.
I also watch NCIS. I have a big crush on Mark Harmon. Now, he’s married so its not right to say but if he wasn't – I'd chase his ass down! And I love watching Basketball Wives. And I cook.
What’s one thing that you would like Aussie viewers to know about you that doesn’t come across in the show?
That I’m absolutely not acting - its really me!! And that I’m very funny and not as crazy as a look or act - I'm just passionate for life. I hope it comes across because there are some crazy moments there!
Like your dinner party in Episode 1 and clash with Karen?
She touched me first. You can’t touch me - you have to keep your hands to yourself. There is more to it and hopefully people will understand when they watch the full episode. It was the fact that my friend of 25 years called me a liar over a guy - I would never do that! If someone said my ex-husband touched me, I would never even question it! I wouldn't even defend him because I don't trust men.
I know what men are capable of 1 million per cent. That's the scary part and that’s why I am the way that I am. I know what most women don't know, and I hope they never know it. But you'll see a lot more of me unfold in Season 2 ...
Thanks Renee for the very honest chat! To find out more about the show and program times, click here