Miami's Real Housewives, Uncut
Reporting by Suzy Buckley; Produced by Jose Ortiz
FROM LEFT: Cristy Rice, Larsa Pippen; Adriana De Moura
This being the Housewives, everybody’s marketing wheels were churning. Adriana had decided to launch her own line of sunglasses with a friend who owns Selima Optique in Soho. Cristy wore her line of Cuban Rice bracelets, made of silver beads and Swarovski pavé crystals, which she sells online at shopbribri.com. There was even a pretty FOH (Friend of Housewife) hanging around who cleverly snagged the chance to hawk her wares to those who would listen: She had a press kit at the ready for her new line of sanitized liners that shield babies from shopping cart germs.
The Business of Being a Housewife
The night before the first show aired nationally, Bravo flew in exec-cum-host Andy Cohen for a splashy preview party in the lobby of the iconic Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach hotel. Each Housewife was allowed 20 invitations, which resulted in an eclectic guest list of Miami boldfacers—many of whom made cameos in the series: James Davis (aka Elaine Lancaster), Maria Celeste Arraras, Belkys Nerey, Ingrid Casares, Yolanda and Jeff Berkowitz, Thomas Kramer, Dr. Julio F. Gallo, Richard Jay-Alexander and Rik and Raquel Watters.
Oversize screens played a loop of the first episode (on mute, of course, as a Miami Beach party needs loud music) while pundit guests gossiped about why the show would succeed (“Marysol’s mother, Elsa, is the star of the whole season!” cried Cohen) or fail (“They don’t have the money of Beverly Hills or the crazy ghetto-fabulousness of Atlanta—they can’t compete,” explained a thirty-something who admitted she had tried out for the show herself and didn’t make the cut).
Interestingly, that night NBC had sent a handful of Days of Our Lives soap actors (Camila Banus, Casey Deidrick, Galen Gering, et al.) to bask in a bit of the RHO spotlight. They milled about by the bar, looking like a strange litter of second-class citizens compared to this modern breed of how-did-I-end-up-here-I-just-did-the-show-for-fun-and-maybe-to-sell-something-on-HSN reality stars. Last year, a distribution deal syndicated the Housewives franchise for nationwide broadcast to compete with traditional daytime soaps during certain time slots; obviously it’s a lot cheaper to lay off professional working actors and replace them with people who will do it for free (or at a huge discount). Besides, aren’t these ladies supposed to be rich anyway, doing it, as they claim, for kicks and giggles? At press time here in Miami, Days was the lead-in for The Real Housewives of New Jersey reruns weekdays at 2 PM on NBC-6.
FROM LEFT: Alexia Echevarria; Marysol Patton and Lea Black
Photographs by Navid