I Hate Jill Zarin I Love Alex & Simon June 6, 2010
Alex looked so beautiful! She really is a stunning woman! She wore a cute shorts outfit in shocking pink, with these amazing Gucci shoes that she got in Los Angeles. Yes, we have photos…lol
Simon had the coolest jacket on, the inside lining had photos of men in different fashions and he wore a pink shirt with his famous pink shoes!
There were a LOT of people there, all the seats that were set up were filled, people sat on the floor along the sides of the room and many standing in the back. First was the Q&A and it could have gone on all night, great questions about their parenting style, how they got onto RHONY and about their personal life including what it’s like to film reality television.
The questions about the show were good and we got many of the answers that we’ve read in articles and TV interviews.
One important answer was about Bethenny and the birth of her baby. Some HORRIBLE people on Twitter are saying that the birth was pre-planned and that Bethenny scheduled a C-section so that she wouldn’t gain too much weight. ABSURD! Alex confirmed that she talked to Bethenny while she was in labor, in fact, they were scheduled to do some filming of Bethenny’s Getting Married and had to re-schedule because she went into labor.
All of these insane people saying that Bethenny isn’t healthy and lost the weight too fast are also ridiculous! Alex has seen Bethenny many times before and after the birth and told us that Bethenny ate whatever she wanted during and after the pregnancy and even saw her eating a Cheeseburger..lol Bethenny’s is healthy and she is not starving herself! She is also breast feeding which helps to take the weight off but Bethenny never gained all that much weight and continued with her yoga during her pregnancy.
Alex is very slim as well, with all of the traveling that she does for work and for her book tour, of course, she can’t always eat right. While in Chicago she had Portillo’s Hot Dogs and Giordano’s Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza! Anyone visiting Chicago has to have those two Chicago staples! Alex lived and went to school in Chicago so she is familiar with the area and even lived nearby the home that they rented while they were here in town.
Someone asked Alex if she keeps in touch with all of the other housewives. Not a big surprise to us but she said there are a few that she is in touch with and in fact talks to on the phone at least once a day, and others that she sees only while taping. I think we know who is who but just to be sure, Simon yelled, “BRAS”. Later Alex did confirm to a smaller group of us that she does talk to Bethenny almost every day and they are still filming Bethenny’s show even now. Alex and Simon will both be on Bethenny’s show, Alex has filmed 7 or 8 times for the show but they never know what is going to make it onto the screen.
After a lengthy Q & A that could have gone on much longer because there were still many with questions, the book store representative said it was time to actually start signing books.
There were, in my estimation, 150 or so people there. Alex and Simon didn’t just sign everyone’s book. They truly MET these people, talked with them, took photos with them. The cutest thing, there was a little girl probably 4 or 5 years old who told Alex that she liked her ring. Alex asked her if she wanted to try it on, but the little girl was a little shy and said, “No”. So Alex said, “Well here hold out your hands” and the girl did and Alex put her hands over the little girl’s and showed her the ring more closely. It was the sweetest exchange! Even though there was a long line, Alex and Simon took the time to talk to each and every person, never rushed anyone and even had discussions about the show with them, answered more questions. Everyone felt like they got one on one time with Alex and Simon, and they did!
I waited until the end since I knew that we were all going to Cagney’s afterward, I was in no hurry but sat up front and watched most of the people going through the line. Men, Women, single, married, people with small children, elderly, it was really great to see such a diverse group of people there that love Alex and Simon!
When it was my turn, I didn’t have to tell them my name for the book signing. LOL They knew who I was which was very cool and afterward GibGirl1 took my photo with both of them and while we were taking the photo, Alex told me that Bethenny sent a message to say “HI’ to me when we met. I thought that was so nice! Alex said she had spoken to Bethenny on the phone the day before and wanted to send that message. How sweet was that? These are REALLY nice people folks! There is no doubt in my mind that we are all on the right team!
Alex received a beautiful pair of earrings from one of the guests, Gibgrl1 gave both Alex and I both a beautiful boxed cheese and crackers arrangement from the cheese capital of the world, Wisconsin! I brought the boys each a gift bag with a few small crafts to keep them amused, stickers, a Chicago White Sox flag along with a Chicago baseball cap and a signed practice puck from the Chicago Blackhawks. My cousin signed a puck for each of the boys in between Stanley Cup Final’s games!
Cagney’s is just a block or so away from the book store, (that was by design as parking in Chicago is a drag!) we walked over. A few of us stood outside the book store as cars were loaded with gifts and things and Alex and Simon continued to answer questions and talk about the show and share their lives with us. You hear this all the time about this amazing couple, but they really are very down to earth, sweet and open.
Alex confirmed what we already knew, Kelly was escorted off St John by producers, and everyone agreed that they would, on screen, stay with the story that Kelly chose to go home to be with her children. I believe that it was Bethenny who first confirmed in the press that Kelly was, in fact, deemed no longer fit to film and was taken home. Alex explained it really well, after the dinner that we saw, how could they all just sit down to breakfast the next morning and pretend nothing happened? There really wasn’t anything more that could be filmed with all of these ladies together.
The bridal shower that we saw for Ramona and Bethenny was pre-planned and only Alex, Sonja and Kelly knew that the shower was to include both of them and not just Ramona. Kelly did bring gifts for both Bethenny and Ramona. Kelly left the gifts outside of Alex’s door before leaving St. John. Really cute background story about the Swarovski crystal wrist bands that Alex got for the ladies, the woman who designed them called Alex after she saw the show and thanked her for the exposure and offered to send Alex a set as well, which Alex, of course, accepted. They were really cool! I bet Sonja went out and bought a set!
We got to Cagney’s and rearranged tables and chairs so that we could have another Q&A in a more intimate setting. Some people were coming and going so it was hard to tell exactly how many people were there but at one point, I did a quick head count and there were 34 people but I would guess overall about 50 came to say hi and hear them speak. Alex nursed just one glass of wine but admitted she likes her drinks but she can hold her liquor well!
We all sat together for about an hour talking and laughing, (fans who showed up had great questions and insights into the show) Simon went over to the bar to get himself another drink and a few people went over to talk with him there. Simon is so easy to talk to and he is really hysterical. At one point he even gave us a few bars of “Money Can’t Buy You Class” and honestly, he would have been a better one to record a song than Lulu (as he called her) Simon told us that really Luann can be a great person, but as he said on Watch What Happens Live, there is Luann and then there is the “Countess” and he much prefers Luann!
Simon talked about next season and what he thought may happen as far as the cast is concerned. Obviously he would be in favor of letting Kelly get the rest she needs and would be quite happy if he never saw Jill Zarin again (as would the rest of us) He explained how it works, about a month after the final show airs, and he anticipates three more episodes, two reunion shows and one “lost footage”, the powers that be over at Bravo will do all of their research. They look at many different sources to determine who is popular, who is bringing in ratings and who may not be bringing in ratings. They look at fan mail, comments on Bravotv.com they look at everything out there on the internet, including sites like this one. Magazine articles, fan feedback, anything they can get their hands on to determine popularity of a housewife. They pull together as much information as they can and determine what would be best for next season.
Simon said that when they first were looking for cast (and Alex was the first one originally cast) they were having a hard time finding people who were willing to participate. Sonja was even asked to be on the original cast and turned it down. Now, Simon told us that they are lined up to do the show. People are begging to be one of the housewives! He absolutely thinks that Ramona will be returning, he believes that Sonja had plenty of support to come back and everyone else is up in the air. I think he was being modest because I truly believe that Alex has so much public support and has climbed to one of the fan favorites so while Simon wasn’t overly confident, I think it is safe to say that Alex will be invited back.
Simon felt that Luann will most likely stick around and Jill is really a crapshoot! Her popularity took a nosedive and he really put it best by explaining how during Season one, Alex and Simon were at the bottom of the popularity list so there was no way to go but up! That worked well in their favor and he even expressed a little concern over whether they could maintain that popularity. Personally I feel that now that people have gotten to know them, fans will stick by them! Jill, being one of the fan favorites during seasons one and two, could possibly have maintained it, but how long can you hide the real you? Jill was lucky she hid it as long as she did! We are seeing the real Jill Zarin folks! This isn’t news to me because we see what she does in “real life” on Amazon, in her blogs, on Facebook and on Twitter. It isn’t pretty!
As far as Bethenny returning, Simon seemed to think it was a good possibility but anything can happen!
Simon talked a little about his mother back in Australia and I asked him what she thought of the show. It is aired all over the world including Australia and Simon admitted that his mother wasn’t too happy with Simon’s involvement with Real Housewives until she read the book. She was so proud of her son and knew that the book probably wouldn’t have been possible without the show, Simon actually got very emotional telling me that story.
I asked Alex about Kelly’s tweets the night of the finale and the Watch What Happens Live show. I think everyone knows the story but a quick update: Kelly insisted in an interview that she was forced to go to St. John. On WWHL, it was a caller who asked Andy Cohen about Kelly being forced to go to St. John. Andy stressed that she was not forced to go and shortly after Kelly tweeted that she WAS forced and basically called Andy a liar. Since Alex and Simon were disembarking at O’Hare during this drama, and Kelly has deleted those tweets, Alex had not seen any of that but she did know about it. I wanted to know about a particular tweet where Kelly said that Bravo didn’t pay her, Shed Media paid her , which was Kelly’s response to many tweets from fans telling her it was probably not a good idea to call her boss a liar on Twitter.
Alex explained that while it is true, Shed Media does pay the Housewives and production staff, Bravo pulls the strings, approves the budget and has complete control over what appears on the air. Bravo, and not Shed Media, will decide who is on the show and who isn’t. In essence, Andy could be considered their boss. The way Alex put it was to think of him as an executive or a “higher up” at a subsidiary or parent company.
I asked Alex about the cat urine smell and told her what I had learned about Crystal Meth smelling like cat urine and many of the blogs out there that talk about the connection between drugs and sweets and Kelly’s behavior. Alex clearly didn’t know how these things all came together admitting she knows nothing about these types of drugs. I explained what I read on the internet about how the use of Meth causing the type of behavior we saw, caused the user to crave sweets and smelled like cat urine. Alex did not smell any cat urine but acknowledged that her stateroom was well away from Kelly’s but added that she has never seen any housewife using any type of illegal drugs.
Of course we asked Alex about Kelly’s behavior on St. John and to explain what the ladies were all saying about her behavior being ten times worse than what we saw. She reiterated what Bethenny said, that if they continued to film and/or aired more of what went on, there may have been severe consequences for Kelly. Alex said it is difficult to explain exactly what went on but added that we would have basically just seen a lot more of the same strange behavior. Alex explained that Kelly has a very high and unusual standard about what she deems appropriate to talk about. When someone says something that Kelly doesn’t like, she tends to talk over them or tells them to “zip it!” She doesn’t want to hear it. When Kelly hears what she feels is “gossip” she basically does the equivalent of plugging her hears and saying “lalalalalala” as loud as she can. The comment Kelly made about having to police the women was more about trying to stop everyone from discussing Kelly’s behavior than gossiping about anyone else.
Alex explained the timeline for us, the get together at Jen’s house where both Ramona and Alex had arguments with Jill, took place just a few days before they left for St. John. Bethenny had been out of town at her father’s funeral and this was the first time they had seen each other. Ramona simply wanted to tell Bethenny what she missed, particularly since it involved Bethenny! In Kelly’s mind this was inappropriate gossiping and wanted no part of it. Instead of removing herself or just sitting quietly and ignoring it, Kelly overreacted and went off the deep end calling them all demented and sick. I think that what Kelly deems “appropriate” is maybe not what a typical person would think of as appropriate. Alex confirmed, just as Andy did that Kelly was not forced to do anything, in fact Alex explained that they are never forced to go anywhere that they don’t want to go.
Alex also let us in on a few tidbits about Jill’s surprise appearance on St. John and cleared up a few things about the private plane. First we know that Bravo paid for the trip. Bravo did not pay for Jill’s journey to St. John. Jill did try to discourage some of the cast from going on the trip, even trying to set up a second trip and lure the ladies to join her. Bravo ultimately decided the itinerary and all of the ladies were invited. As we know, no one was forced to go.
Alex said that Andy’s “real time line” was pretty close and said that Jill and Bobby spent approximately 30-minutes at the house. Alex’s reaction was real and she said she even dropped her drink but because her drink was in a plastic cup rather than a glass one, it didn’t have the right impact for television. (lol) Alex said she wasn’t upset, she was angry and pointed out the irony of being in the middle of getting pedicures so no one could get up and walk out.
One of the crew/production staff members asked all of the ladies jokingly what they would do if Jill happened to show up, Alex and Bethenny both said that they would leave and spend the afternoon at a local restaurant that they had wanted to try anyway. When the ladies asked if he was asking for a specific reason, his response was that Bravo was not bringing Jill to St. John. That wasn’t a lie, Jill and Bobby brought themselves to St. John! As we know there are no airports in St. John. Jill and Bobby took a commercial flight to St. Thomas and a boat to St. John. Alex said that the private jet we saw was most likely taking Jill and Bobby from St. Thomas to St. Bart. While Alex got the blame for throwing Jill out, it was clear that none of the ladies were in need of any Jill drama.
Jill’s intention was to talk and try to make up with Bethenny. How selfish is that? Look at what Bethenny had been through! She was in the beginnings of a high risk pregnancy, she had just buried her father, she had just been through Kelly-Hell and now Jill wants to dredge up all this petty nonsense? Of course Bethenny was disgusted!
The phone call that we read about did happen, Ramona called Jill to try to explain what was going on with Kelly. At first Bravo’s cameras were rolling but Jill wasn’t taking it seriously. Jill was saying things like, Kelly is trying to bring drama for ratings, and Kelly is just acting for the cameras, things like that. Bethenny wanted to try to drive it home for Jill just how bad it was, she asked them to stop filming so that she could talk to Jill and convince her that this was serious. Jill wasn’t having any of it. Since this was just hours before Jill planned to surprise the group, she wouldn’t put her plans aside for anything! Jill didn’t even acknowledge that phone call when she showed up in St. John.
When Jill said that she saw Kelly at the airport, that was true. Alex explained that the flight that Jill and Bobby had just disembarked from was scheduled to be cleaned and flown right back to New York so Kelly literally got on the same plane that Jill had just gotten off.
While Sonja appeared to be neutral until the final episode when she in essence toldl Jill that she thought it was out of line for Jill to show up unannounced, we will see Sonja commit to a “side” during the reunion. Sonja joined the Housewives for the second half of the reunion taping, she wasn’t on the couch for the entire taping. That makes sense since she joined the cast half way through the season. When I expressed my frustration that Sonja was so neutral, Simon told me it would be more clear what side Sonja is on when I watch the reunion. Alex and Simon both seem to really like Sonja, they speak of her fondly. We spoke briefly of Sonja’s recent DUI and while neither Simon nor Alex condoned drinking and driving, they did reiterate that in the Hamptons, you don’t ever roll through a stop sign and get away with it.
The husbands do not appear during the reunion, like they did in Orange County. Simon was there for the taping, the hotel that he manages is just around the corner from where the taping took place so he stopped by a few times but will not be on the show. I don’t think the viewers, overall, had a positive reaction to the men appearing on RHOOC reunion. Personally, I enjoyed it, but in any case, Bravo did not have the husband’s appear on the NY reunion.
It was nice to get confirmation or denial of all of these stories that are going around the internet, there were no earth-shattering bombshells that we learned but really fascinating stories about two wonderful people and their lives on this crazy reality show!
So many things were filmed but never made it to air. A birthday party for Alex and Simon’s son was filmed and Kelly was there, an opening of one of Alex’s stores was filmed, it seems to me they could make a whole other season with what was left on the cutting room floor. I’m sure we’ll see some of these things in the lost footage episode. Possibly these were not drama filled events and since there was so much drama, Bravo chose to air those.
Alex explained that she has an on line calendar where she will input all of her scheduled activities and that Bravo producers have access to her calendar. They will review and then ask her if they can film during certain times of her life. She also told us that she can say no to filming any specific event if she feels it appropriate.
We talked about Teresa and the attack on Bethenny along with Teresa’s financial problems. Simon made a great point that if it was all fabricated, they certainly had a whole lot of information. In essence, if someone wanted to make up all of that, they wouldn’t include details that could so easily have been verified or found to be untrue. At this point nothing has been deemed “false” that I am aware of. When someone makes up lies about something, they will use a lot of generalities in order to be able to spin it differently if called out on a specific fact. Teresa’s issues were spelled out with specific numbers, locations of homes, complete with dates and times. Let’s just say that Simon didn’t seem particularly fond of Teresa.
I asked about Ramona, and both Alex and Simon seem to be fond of her, they did say that Ramona is the same on camera and off. They adore Avery and Mario! What you see is what you get with Ramona! Simon and Mario have struck up a friendship and do keep in touch.
Alex also said she was fond of Bobby and that he was genuinely a nice man. She said that while it was unlike him to approach her the way that he did at Sonja’s house, he does occasionally call Simon to try to get Jill and Alex back together. It seems that Bobby doesn’t want his wife to be at odds with people and Bobby tries to be the peace maker. Since Simon wasn’t at Sonja’s house that day, Bobby tried to smooth things over by going directly to Alex.
Alex said that when Bobby was standing with the ladies and Jill and Ramona were by the car on St. John, both Alex and Bethenny apologized to Bobby. They tried to explain the hell they had just been through and why they reacted the way they did to Jill’s surprise visit, but only a small portion of Bethenny talking to Bobby actually aired.
I’m sure I will think of more details that I will include in future blogs but I will leave it here for now.
Alex and Simon are sincerely nice, real, down to earth people. I cannot say enough nice things about them. If you ever have the opportunity to meet them at a book signing, trust me, GO! Many people I met last night drove up to 3-4 hours to be there and I assure you that they are not sorry they made the trip!
I will go into detail more about all of the great bloggers and members of our community that I met once I get their approval. LOL I know that so many are private and don’t want to reveal anything about themselves so I won’t do that now. Better yet, those who were there, please feel free to tell us about your experience!
Until next time….