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Real Housewives

Filtering by Tag: fashion show

RHOAKL Season 1 Premiere Recap - Model Behavior

Glenn Rowley

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In the latest installment of international Housewives, Bravo is bringing The Real Housewives of Auckland stateside! After causing quite a splash in their native New Zealand late last year, the network will be airing the inaugural season with the Kiwi ladies every Saturday at 12 p.m./11 a.m. central. In the series premiere we meet the six 'Wives at the top of Auckland's elite and the drama that follows them. Read on for a full recap of the tears shed, gossip spilled and personalities that are sure to clash...

Opening taglines are the first way for these new Housewives to make an impression, so let's see what they have to say, shall we? My vote for best tagline far and away goes to Louise Wallace with "I made my money the old-fashioned way...I inherited it." I honestly can't remember the last time a tagline made me laugh so hard. It's cheeky, witty and instantly establishes that Louise is old money in Auckland's high society. Amazing. Quick thoughts on the others: Julia Sloane's "If people are talking behind your back, then you're the one in front" comes across as nothing short of idiotic. While it implies that Julia may be the topic of gossip this season, the tagline misses the mark by making a blatantly obvious point. Maybe the humor is lost on me. Michelle Blanchard has lifted the model archetype straight from Joanna Krupa's lips while I had to do a double take when Angela Stone's first name was not, in fact, "Stone." Gilda Kirkpatrick's stone-cold face and "I never start a fight I can't win" announces she's clearly not one to mess with and Anne Batley Burton is giving me some serious LVP-meets Heather Dubrow-meets Jody Claman of RHOV vibes. The woman clearly loves champagne.

First up, we're introduced to Louise Wallace, who seems to be the actual Lisa Vanderpump of Auckland (sorry Anne). Apparently Louise is famous for hosting New Zealand's version of The Weakest Link, having spent years delivering the line "you are the weakest link, goodbye" that was pervasive in the early 2000s. Now, the former TV host runs her own theater company and lives on the most prestigious street in all of Auckland. It immediately becomes clear that Louise is the 'Wife who will connect the rest of the women - she knows everyone in society and hand out invites for three of the other ladies to attend the prestigious TK Fashion Show with her.

Gilda Kirkpatrick is Louise's neighbor and the Persian princess at the heart of Auckland's social scene. Apparently, Gilda earned her place in society by marrying one of the richest - and oldest - men in Auckland when she was in her early 20s. She eventually divorced her 70-something-year-old husband and has been a socialite ever since. Gilda is also an architect and runs her own advertising/marketing agency, Us&Co, and comes with a serious - though welcome - case of resting bitch face. Do not mess with this Iranian ex-pat. 

Also invited to the fashion show is Julia Sloane, a newly married former model and art collector who unabashedly loves being the center of attention. She was Miss Universe New Zealand back in the 80s but nowadays claims to fill her time with "appointments" for waxing, getting her hair done and getting mani/pedis and Botox. You know, regular appointments like that. At first impression, Julia is coming across as an unexpected combination of RHONY's Alex McCord and RHOM's Adriana de Moura of RHOM. Jury's out on what that may mean, though.

Last to arrive is fashion stylist Angela Stone. Louise describes her to be "like a ship in full sail" when she walks into a room, which I can't decide whether that's a compliment or a brilliant insult. Angela comes bearing gifts for the women in the form of a style guide/coffee table book she wrote, which seems to be a visible turn-off for Gilda. Right away, Angela comes across as a talker; she provides running commentary during the fashion show and talks about herself and her career non-stop as the other ladies look on in bewilderment. The incessant chattering is a second red flag for Gilda, who bluntly advises Angela to talk less about herself when meeting new people if she really wants to become the Oprah of New Zealand. 

The next day, Gilda meets her best friend Michelle Blanchard to rehash the fashion show from the night before. British-born Michelle is a stunning former model-turned-housewife who lives on a country estate filled with horses, chickens, a dog and two kids. Venting to Michelle, Gilda tells her bestie all about Angela and it's clear she's not a fan of the aspiring multi-hyphenate. Hmm...do I sense the first feud of the season brewing?

Last but not least, we meet Anne Batley Burton, an old friend of Julia's known to Auckland as the Champagne Lady. The pint-sized champs importer loves to dance, has been engaged seven times and is clearly giving Heather Dubrow and Charrisse Jackson Jordan a run for their money in the bubbly department. Also, Anne is to cats as LVP is to dogs, complete with a custom-built "pussycat sanctuary" on her property for innumerable stray felines. The Champagne Lady seems quite quirky and over-the-top - in fact, she wastes no time launching into a lecture to Julia about how to properly hold a champagne flute. (But does she know the appropriate temperature at which to store red wine? Actually, probably yes...) The two 'Wives also spend time gossiping about both Angela, whose grating behavior didn't go unnoticed by Julia at the fashion show, and Gilda, whom Anne claims has the reputation of being a gold-digger because of the 40+-year age difference with her ex-husband. 

To get all the 'Wives together for the first time, Julia hosts a birthday luncheon for herself in a private dining room at Ostro. Angela is wary of seeing Gilda again after their dust-up at the fashion show, but Michelle is eager to meet the stylist her best friend has complained about. (Strangely, Michelle has never met Julia before either, but comes to the luncheon as Gilda's plus-one anyway.) However, when Angela reveals that she's still modeling in her 40s, Michelle insults her by asking if she's plus-size. Yikes...talk about getting off on the wrong foot. Former Calvin Klein model Michelle insists she didn't mean to offend, but soon enough Angela bursts into tears (after yet another dig from Gilda) and excuses herself from the table.

Both Gilda and Michelle feign ignorance as to why Angela might be crying, but when she comes back to the table and tells them point blank that the "plus-size model" dig offended her, they refuse to apologize. Naturally, an argument ensues with Angela calling the pair's comments "disgusting" and Michelle firing back "sweetie, with tits like that you're not a normal-size model, get over it." Michelle angrily reveals that Gilda already warned her about Angela, and accuses her of putting on a performance for sympathy with the tears. 

Angela then turns her attention to Gilda, calling her out for her rude behavior and icy demeanor at the TK Fashion Show. When Michelle steps in to defend her friend, Angela tells her point blank to mind her own business, reminding the former model that she wasn't even invited to the fashion show. Gilda, who claims not to be a "very judgmental person," goes off on Angela and her constant, full-toothed smile, and calls her new nemesis "delusional" at the table. The entire exchange is positively dizzying but all Julia wants to know is why no one is paying attention to her at her own birthday party. The premiere ends with Julia blowing out the candles on her cake as side eye is thrown across the table by the bickering 'Wives. As Anne says in her confessional, "who would want a birthday party like that?"

What did you think of the RHOAKL premiere? Are you Team Gilda/Michelle or Team Angela? And why wasn't anyone paying attention to Julia?? Leave your thoughts and opinions - as well as your votes for favorite tagline - in the comments below!

RHOP Ssn 1/Ep 8 - All Shades of Shade

Glenn Rowley

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This week, RHOP is all about business and charity as Gizelle Bryant attempts to add "entrepreneur" to her resume, Charrisse Jackson Jordan tackles her fears and the feud between Karen Huger and Ashley Darby does nothing but intensify. Can we just all agree that the Bethany Beach drama is officially a dead horse?

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Gizelle is putting her boss lady pants on this week by meeting with a skincare chemist to begin developing a specialty makeup line for women of color. While some haters may argue that Gizelle can't understand the struggle to find black beauty products because of her caramel skin and green eyes, she is determined to meet the need of all women of color, no matter what shade their skin may be. According to the chemist, in order to provide for every skin tone, the makeup line will need a minimum of at least seven different shades, and the best way to get feedback on what consumers will use is to put together a focus group. Good thing Gizelle knows just the right group of ladies...

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One 'Wife who most definitely won't be attending Gizelle's focus group is Katie Rost, who's still smarting over being picked on during the trip to Bethany Beach. Instead, she's choosing to focus on the celebrating her twin girls' second birthday and organizing her casino night fundraiser for the Rost Foundation. Scratch that. Katie's actually decided to postpone her charity event for a few months since few of the other women were willing to help her, and is now hosting a fashion show for D.C. Swim Week instead. Her gala may be postponed, but the work of a full-time socialite is never done.

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Grande dame Karen, on the other hand, is still moving forward with her own charity function. She's calling the event the O Gala, which will raise money and awareness for Alzheimer's victims in honor of her recently deceased mother-in-law, Odessa Huger. Considering her own mother was also recently diagnosed with early dementia, this cause couldn't be any closer to Karen's heart. She wants to make it a grandiose spectacle, with cherry blossoms, praise dancers and live entertainment, but her husband Ray quickly nixes the glitz and noise and asks her to scale the event down to a more intimate level. After all, Ray and his sisters are still grieving the loss of their mother - it's not exactly the appropriate time to put on a show. And since the trip to Bethany Beach, there are some invited guests Karen would rather scratch off the RSVP list, but in grande dame style, they shall remain nameless (cough, Michael and Ashley, cough).

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While Katie's off doing "actual work" hosting the fashion show for Washington Life Magazine, Gizelle holds a focus group with the rest of the 'Wives for her makeup line at The Park at Fourteenth. As the women arrive, it becomes clear that Gizzy knows how to throw one heck of a focus group with samples, makeup artists and even chicken wings! Within moments, Gizelle's hairstylist/friend Kal is apologizing to Karen and Charrisse for the crab boil blow-up from the premiere episode and things are off to a copacetic start. Gizelle sits everyone down and opens the focus group with an introduction about why she's creating this makeup line in the first place, explaining that from a very young age being "pretty" was a problem for her. It was almost impossible for women of color to find makeup that worked for their skin that wasn't chalky, ashy or caused breakouts. As the women test the makeup samples, they can't help but be impressed that Gizelle has managed to develop a product that doesn't seem to come with any of the problems typically plaguing similar lines.

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Following the makeup testing, the 'Wives sit down for lunch, which gives Ashley the perfect opportunity to pull Karen aside and try to put the Bethany Beach drama behind them. Conversation starts off politely, but it quickly becomes apparent that Karen isn't letting go of this grudge any time soon. In fact, to appropriately settle the tiff, the grande dame suggests that hash it out as husbands - a suggestion which leaves Ashley visibly baffled. What does Karen want Michael and Ray to do, have a duel? The younger 'Wife likens the grande dame's behavior in Bethany to that of a five-year-old throwing a "tantrum" and finds her perception of the entire situation to be outdated and antiquated. Karen thinks Ashley is immature. I have to say I'm siding more with Little Miss Ashley on this one. This is taking the Potomac Rulebook of Etiquette to a new extreme, even by Karen's outrageously high standards.

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Next we get a cute moment between Robyn Dixon and her ex-husband Juan as they take a trip down memory lane and reminisce about the early days of their relationship. Juan claims Robyn was stalked him at a basketball game before they met, but Robyn insists she actually had her eye on another guy. Once the pair did meet, they bonded over The Young and the Restless (shout-out to Eileen Davidson!) and went on a date to see a movie I have never heard of called The Last Dragon. When Robyn wonders aloud how Juan could possibly remember these details, he sweetly and tentatively admits that she's the love of his life. How could he forget? Out of all the Potomac couples, I have genuine heart eyes when it comes to these two and am crossing my fingers that they can work their complicated relationship out and end up together again. 

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Turns out that what Karen had in mind to settle her dispute with Little Miss Ashley was a more modern version of a duel between husbands: a double date on the golf course. The stakes of the date are high, as Karen explains in her confessional that if Ray and Michael can't settle the issue between their wives, Ashley won't be invited to the O Gala. Dressed in their best polo shirts and visors, the couples battle it out over Michael showing up unannounced on the girls trip in Bethany Beach. Old-school Ray claims he was uncomfortable with Michael's surprise arrival because he expected that the women would be lounging around in skimpy outfits "because they're girls," but Michael doesn't see what the big deal is. Never mind the built-in misogyny of that statement, I am tuning out because I honestly cannot hear about this for one more second. The foursome reach an yet another impasse, with Karen calling the Darbys a "tactless duo" in her confessional, and it's clear that there will be no couples' weekends happening in Bethany between the Hugers and the Darbys any time soon.

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Over at the Jordan residence, Charrisse has enlisted a private teacher to help her learn how to swim. On the verge of turning 50, Charrisse is ready to embrace a new chapter in her life and confront her fears. However, I can't help but think: wouldn't this swim lesson have been more effective before she went off to Bethany Beach with the girls? Charrisse is very much starting at square one in the water, as her lesson consists of a lot of blowing bubbles and learning the basics of kicking and paddling. But when a horsefly lands on her, a frantic, shrieking Charrisse is officially done for the day and ready to get out of the water. Baby steps, right?

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The night of Karen's O Gala kickoff arrives and the only thing missing is the cherry blossoms she so desperately wanted for the decor. (Turns out they only bloom in the spring...) All the 'Wives arrive at Karen's home looking fab, though I'm particularly in love with Katie's black midriff-baring gown. Katie however, is less than impressed with the cocktail party being held in the Hugers' living room. This is why Karen refused to be on the host committee for her Rost Foundation event? Upon arrival, Gizelle confronts Katie about missing the focus group, and the socialite feigns an "I'm sorry I missed it" while admitting in her confessional that she honestly couldn't care less about bailing on the makeup party. (Also awkward that this conversation takes place in front of non-official Friend of the Housewives Brynee Baylor who didn't seem to get so much as an invite to the focus group.)

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Before the Darbys arrive, Karen fills the other 'Wives in on the conversation between Ray and Michael on the golf course. Well, on her perception of it anyway, which is that Mr. Huger laid down the law and gave Mr. Darby "the business." Naturally, Michael and Ashley arrive in the middle of Ray and Karen's toast about his late mother, and have to awkwardly walk through the five-piece jazz band that will be providing the entertainment for the evening. When Ashley finds out what Karen told the rest of the women about their golf course argument, she claims that it was Michael was the one who shut Ray down, not the other way around. Tired of jumping through hoops to appease the grande dame, Little Miss Ashley starts throwing shade left and right about everything from Karen's hair to her comment on the way to Bethany that she didn't want any of the women around her daughter Rayvin. 

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Obviously this is a (deliberate?) miscommunication on Ashley's part, since that's not exactly what Karen said. However, the women are offended nonetheless and call Karen over to clarify her comments. Immediately, Karen denies saying any such thing and pointedly explains that she was referring specifically to Ashley being the person she didn't want Rayvin around. Appalled that Little Miss Ashley would have the audacity to try to throw her under the bus at her own event, Karen proclaims herself "done" with the younger 'Wife before angrily storming off. According to the grande dame, her one-time mentee has racked up a litany of offenses over the past eight episodes, but talking about Rayvin was the last straw. As Ashley leaves the party, a hostile Karen theorizes to the other women that the youngest 'Wife officially has an agenda. What that agenda may be she doesn't know, but she has no intention of finding out.

Next week, things get ugly over race during Charrisse's 50th birthday party!