The Real Housewives of Vancouver are back — with three feisty new arrivals promising to shake things up for season 2
Brace yourselves. Hit Canadian reality series The Real Housewives of Vancouver returns to Slice this week for season two.
While Reiko Mackenzie and Christina Kiesel won’t be back, remaining original cast members Jody Claman, Mary Zilba and Ronnie Negus are set to take on three new “wives,” including divorced Southern babe Robin Reichman, cussin’ Russian Ioulia Reynolds (who’s married to a wealthy venture capitalist), and cleaned-up ex-party girl Amanda Hansen.
We chatted with each Housewife and, fair warning: things are about to get “real.”
The New Housewives of Vancouver
New wives, what was your reaction when you were first asked to be part of this show?
Amanda: I was really excited/extremely scared just because of the amount of drinking and partying that I had seen, and I didn’t want it to compromise my lifestyle that I had been maintaining for the past two-and-a-half years at the time.
Robin: It sounded exciting, challenging, and frankly, I was going through a huge transition in my life, and I wanted to keep my mind busy. One of my twins had died and my marriage ended after 17 years; it all happened together.
Ioulia: I looked at it as a great opportunity. It’s the No. 1 show in Canada, and chances like this don’t come into your life often . . . You only live once, and I took a chance.
The new Housewives of Vancouver: (L-R) Robin Reichman, Ioulia Reynolds, Amanda Hansen (Images: Slice)
The Original Housewives
Returning wives, how has your life changed since the show began?
Mary: I think that it’s strengthened my opportunities personally and professionally. I have a new beauty line called BuffBeauty coming out. I also use the show as a large platform to raise social awareness for important issues like anti-bullying, and charity work for tuberous sclerosis.
Jody: When I took the opportunity, I did it to platform doing charities and making change in a purposeful manner. I got a huge gift today, I get flowers every day, I have lovers, I have haters, I could care less though, I am private. It’s been an incredible process of highs and lows. I’m intelligent — I like awkward moments. I like prickly people, so for me it’s been fun.
Ronnie: It hasn’t really affected or changed it. Probably the thing that would stand out most is that people in the public know who you are. For me, being a mother and a wife is first and foremost, and the show is secondary.
What are your thoughts on season two?
Mary: I’m probably being a little bit more vocal than I was last season. Far as being called a victim, I think I have become a bit of a target, and I handle things differently. I don’t believe we should be out there promoting bad behaviour.
Jody: I think we will see more of people’s true colours. This season will have more humour, a lot of trips, a lot of shopping and a lot of entertainment. Way better than last year. It’s fun.
Ronnie: The minute the new wives came on, I noticed that some of the housewives would try to leech on or get them into their camp, and for me, I just run my own race. I am who I am and hopefully we can all get along.
Life on Camera
Any behaviour you regret?
Mary: In season one, I said something about my ex-boyfriend — you kind of forget the cameras are there.
Robin: I think you learn the most about yourself by watching yourself. I hope season two will be more about ladies having fun, lifestyle in the fast lane, and friendship — not necessarily threatening to sue and kill — it doesn’t always have to be all drama, but unfortunately, I have the feeling it will, because we are out of control.
Jody: I could care less. Was I pleased in the light I was shown? Not perhaps at the time, but when I read that 15-page contract, I understood what it meant, but I felt as a businessperson, it would be OK.
What’s something viewers don’t know about you?
Ronnie: A couple of the “old” wives started doing charity endeavours while doing the show, but I have been doing it for 15 years. I have always said to my children, “Go into the world and do well, but more importantly, go into the world and do good.”
Mary: I have a really, really keen sense of humour, and think because I am always in defence mode, they don’t get to see that funny side of me. I am really lighthearted.
Jody: I am a terribly private and prudish person. When people talk about their bits and sex, I cringe and close my eyes. I make great TV, though — they’ve told me.
The Housewives Experience
What have you learned from this experience?
Jody: I have learned that people are very limited, and you just have to let people be themselves. I have learned to be slightly more gentle, I would say.
Mary: I think that social awareness and giving back to the community is a responsibility when you’re in the public eye. That really hit me hard. I have learned that not all people have the same moral compass, as you do. I think I have lived a little under a rock. It’s a long way from Kansas.
What are your real friendships with women like? Mary, you’ve mentioned getting five women together spells trouble?
Mary: I take that back, I think — this show was cast very well — they are not going to take five people like me. Typically you choose friends you don’t fly off the handle with, but when you have been cast in a reality show, it’s going to be oil and water sometimes.
Amanda: I hadn’t many close female relationships before rehab, and I really didn’t trust women. Now, I would rather be with my girlfriends than anyone else in the world. People are going to just love me or hate me.
Robin: Not much different with my real friends, and most of my friends know these housewives anyway. I’m not a big socialite, but I spend my money on my children and horses.
Ronnie: I have entirely different friends, my husband and I have about six couples we have been doing stuff with for 15 years and none of this goes on. It’s a show, people get tired, do long hours, we get bitchy and crabby and **** erupts. In real life you choose your friends.
How do your husbands or exes feel about your doing this show?
Amanda: My ex-husband didn’t want me to do it, but he didn’t want to hold me back either. Even though we’re not married anymore, happy wife — happy life.
Ioulia: Oh yeah, he’s supportive, absolutely.
Jody: My [second] husband is an academic, we are a very tight family, we don’t do the social circuit, he knows who I am and who he married.
How about your kids?
Amanda: My kids appear in this season. My ex-husband and I raised children that are very strong, really cool and adaptable. My one daughter, if kids teased her, would likely just look off into space, because frankly, she doesn’t care. The other one would probably just take the other kid out.
Mary: My kids are very stable, and they are pretty resilient. At first they were a little apprehensive about me being shown in a bad light. They love their mom and don’t want me criticized. I also had to teach them not to engage.
Robin: As long as my older daughter is not upset with her mommy, and she is cool with me doing another season, then great. She is 11 going on 15 — so let’s face it, she is going to watch it.
How do you hope viewers will see you? And how will they likely see you?
Robin: I think the viewers will get to see me at my worst and sometimes at my best. Being me is a little bit of both, but I am always working on being at my best. I don’t remember a whole hell of a lot of it; I think I purposefully blanked it all out.
Ioulia: I hope I will be viewed not only as a socialite, and that I work really hard and [they’ll] see my personality, that I am a warm person and fun and giving, that my personality will shine through, and they will laugh, and find that I am funny, because my jokes can get lost in translation. I’m so worried they are going to run captions every time I speak.
Ready for the cameras: (L-R) Ronnie Negus, Robin Reichman, Jody Claman, Amanada Hansen, Mary Zilba, and Ioulia Reynolds (Image: Slice)
How Real is The Real Housewives of Vancouver?
Just how “real” is this reality show?
Robin: Production knows when exactly to ask certain questions to whom, to feed that issue while it’s hungry to get what they want out of it. When the cameras are off . . . the reality still continues, so you take that heartache home at night, and have less patience. When McDonald’s gives you ketchup and you get mustard, that can just ruin your day. You can just go off on that lady.
Amanda: I just butt heads with everybody; I shared equally with everyone.
Ioulia: You try to understand the dynamic, you try to fit in, and after a while you just let the relationships unfold they way they would naturally, without trying to force it. I didn’t judge a character based on season one. I just had to trust my heart and natural intuition.
Mary: They want me to get down and dirty and nasty, but that is really not in angry and I can lash out and defend myself, but that’s not how I operate.
Amanda, you’re a recovering alcoholic, and now claim you’re a sex addict. Tell us about that.
Amanda: The 12 Step program at Edgewood, in Nanaimo, was three months long, like boot camp. However, my relationship with Kyle [boyfriend also in treatment] was disclosed and I got kicked out. I’ve said in a joking manner that I don’t drink and party anymore, and I substituted myself out for healthier addictions like working out and having lots of sex in a monogamous relationship with my boyfriend. I like to say things that are kind of bold, like, “Oh yeah, I’m a sex addict, you know, ha ha ha.”
Mary, what can you tell us about your plastic surgery?
Mary: I breastfed three children, and had my breasts done after they looked disgusting. Regarding my face, my family all has the same cheeks — we can store nuts for the winter, and they are real. Jody has said I am a face full of filler. It’s private, but now that it’s been brought up, 15 years ago, after my last son was born and I was in hospital and very ill, I went down to 83 pounds. A new procedure was being done where your own fat was put into other places in your body, so I wouldn’t look so emaciated. Botox I have had. I don’t criticize anyone who does anything. I have never done my lips, I don’t need to, and it’s all my own stuff.
And Jody, what is it about plastic surgery, particularly Mary’s, that bothers you?
Jody: If you were blind, would you do this to yourself? God gave you a vessel. I’m just not that girl. I’m a feminist, I’m sorry to say, but there is nothing masculine about me. Who are you doing that for? Fake boobs, fake cheeks and fake lips. But that is only my opinion. And one-third of the world loves it, so I mean, mazel tov.
Ronnie? Did the show ruin your friendship with Mary?
Ronnie: I don’t blame the show entirely, but I don’t think it helped. I saw the comments and rolled eyes and raised eyebrows . . . you sit back and watch that and think, ‘You gotta be kidding, this is supposed to be my best friend?’ I hope that this year will show a more honest view of who I am, and maybe others.
The Real Housewives of Vancouver Season 2 premieres Tuesday at 7 pm repeating at 10 pm on Slice.