Whoever said that the Real Housewives franchise would never work in Canada was proved dead wrong by The Real Housewives of Vancouver, which became the highest rated show on Slice in 2012. Tonight, Ronnie Negus, Mary Zilba and Jody Claman return to TV at 10pm for a highly anticipated and drama-filled season two. Two of last year’s controversial but always entertaining wives, Christina Kiesel and Reiko MacKenzie, will sadly no longer be a part of the show. While we’ll miss Christina’s under-rated witty comments and Reiko’s obsession with fast cars, we’re excited to meet to the new wives: recently divorced mother of two Robin Reichman, 26-year-old Ioulia Reynolds and Amanda Hansen, who’s a mother of three and recovering alcoholic. We talked to one of our favourite housewives of all time, Ronnie Negus, about her biggest regrets from season 1, how the most well-off of all the wives got involved in the series in the first place and everything we can expect from season 2.
Real Style: How is going into season 2 different for you from last season now that you’re such a well-known face in Canada?
Ronnie Negus: You go into the second season with eyes wide open. The first year, it’s a new thing, and I’d never done anything like it. I did it for charity, and I thought that there will be moments where you stumble and fall, but you get back up, dust yourself off and keeping going knowing you did it for the right reasons. I definitely didn’t want this year to be a recapitulation of last year. I don’t think that the viewers can see all aspects of a human being in one season. This season, I think they’ll get to see a lot more of who I really am, and a lot more of my Mommy side. I’ve got a lot of kids. I think it will be a much better season for me all around. There are moments that I’m going to run and hide and die watching it, but that’s part of the program.
How did you originally get involved with the series?
I was head-hunted, actually. I, at first, kind of thought, “Huh. Really?” Mary Zilba kept saying, “Please, please do it. Fill out an application.” I was down at a ranch in Napa Valley. I said no, but she said, “Just do it.” I thought, well, okay. I’ll fill out an application. I sent the application in from Napa. They had me come in for an interview and then another and then another. Then I started thinking, “Well, I’m getting a lot of call-backs, but I’m not sure this is something I want to do, to be quite honest.” My husband is a very private person, and I was, until this show, of course. It’s a big deal to put your life, and your children and who you are, in front of the world to see. I finally remember they called back and they wanted to come out and meet my husband. I said, “You can do that, but I have news for you: He will not be part of the series.” He’s a businessman. He would never come on that show and be a part of it. He made two tiny appearances, one at the Rehab launch and one on my birthday. This year, you don’t see him at all. He’s not up for it. I thought when I told them that my husband wouldn’t be a part of it, that I would just be cut out of the deal right there, and I was good with that. I was almost looking for them to go, “Without your husband, we can’t take you.” Mary kept going, “You’ve got to do it. I won’t do it without you.” I go, “Honey, the show works for you. You’re going through a breakup, you went through a divorce — for all the right reasons, the show is probably good for you. But I don’t need the show for any reason whatsoever, and as a matter of fact, it probably could be bad for me.” I remember telling her in her apartment, “I can’t do this, but I’ll support you and love you and wish you all the best. She kept saying, “I will not do this without you.” Finally, I thought, all right, how can I do this show and really feel good about it? It’s not something I signed up for; they found me. I thought that donating my money to charity — that’s the way I could feel good about the show. I came this year. I think people can get another view of my reality, and my reality is not a falling-down drunk. I don’t know how I would raise children and be a successful person if I were, but I’m glad I could help with the ratings.
Do you have a charity in mind for this year?
Lots of them. I’ve been supporting charities for 15 years. My husband and I — it’s part of our fabric. We give a certain amount of our income away every year.
Did you have any control over how you were portrayed on TV?
Absolutely none. I think that the girls who were portrayed in a nice way — and I know the truth about who they really are — they got away with murder last year. I think the tables are going to turn. You don’t have control. I don’t know if you remember the time I went to the scarf shop with Mary. She was sitting on that black sheep with me too going, “Arriba!” But they didn’t air that. There were a lot of those moments. At Reiko’s car show, she and I were walking around the whole day together, our kids were hanging out and we were sitting in cars together, but they didn’t show that. You don’t have control. This year, and I’ve told the girls, there are going to be moments where you go, “Oh my God, she said this or she said that.” But at the end of the day, hopefully we can all raise a glass and love each other and find forgiveness because life is fleeting. You do get cranky, and you get worn out and you get tired, and you’re put in situations that, in real life, you wouldn’t keep going back to. You wouldn’t keep hanging out with the same people over and over again if you didn’t get along. A lot of people people say, “Why do you guys keep getting together?” Well, because we signed a contract. We have to.
Christina is not coming back this season. Do you resign your contract every year?
I signed a five-year contract. You can get out of your contract or they can let you go, but if you get out of your contract, you have to pay or they can let you go. I don’t really know what happened with Christina, to be quite honest. I’m not privy to that. I think she wanted to come back, but she had other things in mind, so good for her. It works for some people, and for some people it doesn’t.
From season two, who would be the most likely to spill gossip?
Robin. She’s got a mouth on her the size of half the state of Texas. I just told her something two days ago, and Mary knew within 10 minutes, and she admits it. You can’t tell her a thing. Actually, if you want the whole world to know something, tell her. It’s in her. She can’t help it.
Who will be the most likely to write a tell-all book one day?
Me or Jody, because I’d like the world to know the truth.
Who would be the most likely to file for bankruptcy?
I know that it wouldn’t be me.
Who is the most likely to lie about her age?
Mary. Anything that has the word lie attached to it, just put the world “Mary” in the blank.
Who is the best-dressed lady on the show?
Jody dresses nicely. I’ve got to tell you something about the way Jody dresses. I know she’s taken a bullet for all the outrageous things, but I appreciate and celebrate the differences. If the world were all the same, it would be a boring place. I always look forward to what she will wear. I’ve been in her store and she has beautiful things.
Who is the most natural beauty?
Ioulia is naturally beautiful. She’s 27, and she hasn’t done a lot of anything. She’s young enough that she hasn’t had to do anything. Jody Claman has gorgeous skin. Jody’s a pretty girl. When we were just doing ET Live with Erin Cebula, I was just in New York, and I showed a bunch of people from Miami, New York and London that picture, and everybody thought Jody was gorgeous. Jody has beautiful skin for her age, and I don’t think Jody has done anything. I think Jody and Mary are the exact same age, but I don’t think Jody’s had work done.
Be sure to watch Ronnie Negus tonight when she returns for season two of The Real Housewives of Vancouver on Slice TV at 10pm.
Photo Courtesy of: Slice TV Canada (Ronnie Negus from Real Housewives of Vancouver Season 2)