Dangerous Curves Ahead…. We had the chance for a quick Q & A with Renee Graziano from VH1’s new hit series “Mob Wives,” which averaged 1.3 million total viewers for its premiere episodes during its first five weeks! Mob Wives is a reality show that follows four women after their fathers or husbands are convicted and imprisoned for crimes connected to mob activity in New York. Renee Graziano is daughter of Anthony “the Little Guy” Graziano, former consigliere of the Bonnano crime family, who, was reportedly third in line to the Bonnano crime family. In 1990, Graziano pleaded guilty to tax evasion and was sentenced to five years in prison and fined $250,000. The explosive season 1 finale of MOB WIVES will air on VH1 June 26th, with a reunion show to follow on July 10. The series has been greenlit for a second season, tentatively scheduled to debut this fall. MOB WIVES offers a unique glimpse into the lives of four women united by a bond which few understand. MOB WIVES is produced by The Weinstein Company and Ben Silverman’s Electus, and created by real-life “mob daughter” Jennifer Graziano (Renee’s sister).
Q. What kind of response have you gotten from your appearance on Mob Wives?
Renee Graziano: I’ve actually had a great response from everyone, my family and friends, with the exception of my father, everyone has been very, very happy for my success. They love the show.
Q. What’s your current status with Junior?
Renee Graziano: My current status with Junior is—I guess you’re going to have to tune in and finish out the season.
Q. Who have you kept in touch with then from the show?
Renee Graziano: I keep in touch with everyone. On a daily basis, I speak with the girls. We …. We broke for a little break. Everyone has their own life. So, we do speak. But, we don’t see each other as often as will when we were filming.
Q. It seems like there’s been a little bit of Twitter beef going back and forth with you and some of your co-stars on the show. I just wanted to know if you wanted to talk a little bit about that. Is that a result of you watching what happens on the show and responding to some of the things that have been said about you?
Renee Graziano: First of all, I love Twitter. I think it’s “Twitter-ful.” But, yes, absolutely. I did feel some sort of way after watching episodes six and seven, which had to do with me and Carla and Drita. I felt very …. I was very angry. Obviously, I don’t hold my words, which makes me very real, which makes me real. I think that I’ve pretty much calmed down after watching the last episode, which I enjoyed very much. Everything is … as far as I’m concerned.
Q. I know your sister’s the creator and executive producer of the show. Has working with her had any type of effect on your relationship, being that you guys are sisters?
Renee Graziano: No. I’ve always been annoying, she told me, so … I’m even more annoying. I’m getting back at her now this time. Me and … work very well together. She is the brains, and then I’m the creative goofball …. I’ve always been that way.
Q. I know you said that you’ve been getting pretty positive reaction to your appearance on Mob Wives, but is there any concern from your point of view that it has a negative impact on Staten Island or gives people the wrong impression of Staten Island by prominently featuring so many people from here?
Renee Graziano: I don’t think this is a show about Staten Island. I think this is a show about four women that happen to live on Staten Island. So, as … before Mob Wives, I don’t think that our show as any impact on the Island itself. As far as negative, there are people that have negative views, absolutely. Sometimes, I even look at my own life in a negative light, but for the most part, I’m learning from this experience, and hopefully—yes, I mean I’m a little …, I will admit it. But, hopefully as it goes on, people will learn that I’m as human as the next person. I have a heart as big as the next person. So, I’m not so concerned about this being a negative thing for Staten Island. If we did it somewhere else, it’d be a negative somewhere else.
Q. Your dinner party is probably going to be going down as the most infamous dinner party in reality TV, I think you guys have the Beverly Hills Housewives beat there. Do you think that things would have turned out differently had the other ladies known that Karen was coming? If so, how do you think that would have changed things?
Renee Graziano: Well, Carla knew Karen was coming to dinner. So, Drita was the only one that didn’t know until she arrived. That’s when I made very, very open and honest that Karen was coming. She had the opportunity to leave. What everyone doesn’t see is what happened … editing and what I think would have happened differently, had they not plotted against me, things would have went over much sooner. Because I kept my cool for an hour prior to that explosion in my house. So, I think that was more—that was more their bad than mine.
Q. I heard that on the last episode of the season, there’s apparently a fistfight involving Drita. Is there anything you can tell me further about that?
Renee Graziano: Well, I don’t see the episodes ‘til you do. So, you’ll have to stay tuned for that one. Like they do say, the big, big bang takes new meaning.
Q. Have you filmed the reunion yet?
Renee Graziano: No, we have not. We are filming next week and it airs on July, oh wow, this is bad. July 10.
Q. Are you excited to get with everyone again? Do you think there will be any fights there?
Renee Graziano: Like I said earlier, I do see the girls on occasion since we’ve stopped filming, but not as much as I used to when we are. Do I think that there’ll be a fist fight? Anything is possible with the Mob Wives.
Q. What was the most memorable fight from the season, and the fight you’d most like to forget and why?
Renee Graziano: Well, that was the fight that is most memorable would be the one that I had in my house. I don’t ever want to forget it. I’d like to do it again, maybe this time, knock her out.
Q. What have you learned from the Mob Wives that first season about yourself, and your dealings with other women that you’ll take into the second season?
Renee Graziano: I definitely learned that I might be much more outspoken than I need to be. What I learned about myself is that I’m very passionate about my friends. That will never change. What I’m finally taking into Season 2 is the same person you met in Season 1.
Q. So, on the last episode, you kind of revealed to the girls that you’re letting Junior stay with you again until he goes back to jail. I was wondering when he goes back, and who knows what’ll happen in the meantime, if you and Junior end up. How do you think that he’ll react if you’re the one who ends up moving on with someone else?
Renee Graziano: I think that if you stay tuned until the end of this season, you actually might get that answer.
Q. Is that an indication that you meet someone new?
Renee Graziano: That’s an indication that you never know what’s going to happen. But, I will say that I absolutely, positively love my son’s father. I don’t just love him because he’s my son’s father. I love him because he was my first love, my husband. But, now he is my ex-husband.
Q. Are there any moments on the show that you’ve seen the first few episodes that you wish they had edited out or maybe even handled differently?
Renee Graziano: I wish they would have edited out some of the crying, though that’s all real. No, actually, I wish they would have added more like the bits and pieces that make me so, I’m not as rough and I’m definitely not a tough girl. I’m a strong personality. So, I wish they would have focused a little bit more on the fact that I’m really funny and that I’m a very gentle person, believe it or not. It don’t come off that I am, but I’m a very sweet person.
Q. I hope they can show that in Season 2 more. Also, can you talk a little bit about the Jail Mail? Are you still involved with that?
Renee Graziano: Jail Mail is solely my company, absolutely. The web should be up before the end of the summer. We are just working out the kinks to perfect it. Because it is such a personal project to me that I’m really taking care of it with kid gloves. This is my heart and soul project.
Q. What are your impressions on Mob wives during your parents’ generation as compared to now?
Renee Graziano: Oh, there would have been no Mob Wives if it was my parents’ generation as far as a television show. As far as the women go, it was when they wanted equal rights, we got equal rights. This is what we asked for; we got it. Women are very strong nowadays. I hope the message that we’re sending, not the Mob wives, but for women in general is you don’t need a man to support you. You can go out, and do it on your own and never fold no matter what. Your children are involved in your life. You stay strong.
Q. What are some common misconceptions do you think people who aren’t familiar with the Mob would think about the Mob Wives? Could you clear anything up like that?
Renee Graziano: Well, I don’t think they expected us to be as harsh and as toxic at times as we are with each other. But, I do believe that they are under this impression that we’re a part of a world that we’re not. Listen, when my son’s father would have to work, or my father went to work, they went to work. I’m sure when they got home, my mother and father they didn’t want to say, “Oh, so how was your day at work?” or “What’d you do in the house today?” It was not; those conversations did not exist. It was more about “Are the kids okay? Do you need anything?” So, I think the misconception is that we’re very much a part of a world that we’re not included in. We’re not. We’re women taking care of our children and our home. Sometimes, you just don’t ask questions.
Q. How did you first find out as a child that you were a part of this Mob world? Or, did you always know, do you think?
Renee Graziano: I absolutely didn’t always know. My first experience for finding out, according to the government, that my father was involved in illegal activity was in fourth grade when these kids glued an article from the Staten Island Advance to my desk. That’s actually the first time. I knew I was different from the other children. I never questioned it; I just left it alone. I went home and I said, “What’s this?” They were like, “Oh, newspapers, you know, they don’t always write the truth.” I said, “Okay. I love you, Daddy.” And, I walked out, like I was too young to comprehend.
Q. Your sense of style is kind of fun and more like your personality. We see you rocking everything from tights to furs. Is this from your childhood, or did you develop this over the years? What are you rocking this season?
Renee Graziano: Oh, thank you for this question. I appreciate this question. I have always had my own sense of style. I’ve never followed anybody’s rules on what to wear each season. I think also a wardrobe stylist. So, I think I’ve learned throughout the years that whatever works for you works. So, you don’t need to look like every other girl. Every other girl is not you, so why look like them. For next season, as far as next season goes, I will be thinner next season because there is my plastic surgery coming up. So, I will be wearing clothes a little bit more snug than I normally do.
Q. Do you have any advice for the voluptuous women out there that might be a little self-conscious about rocking the whole sexy chic?
Renee Graziano: Yes. I definitely do. My advice is never wear anything that doesn’t fit. That’s first of all. I mean, if it’s too tight, don’t wear it. Because that means you want to be comfortable in your clothes, be comfortable. But, don’t be uncomfortable with things that are. Listen, not everybody has the same body. The thinner girl gets to wear that little stick dress. A fuller woman gets to wear a fuller woman’s dress. But, God made each and every one of us is beautiful. So, be who you are, just don’t wear it too tight.
Q. Has there have been any scenes that you have not necessarily participated in, whether they’re more confessional scenes from the other women? Or, just scenes that you didn’t get to be in that have surprised you? Or, if there have been things that people have said about you, maybe about the fights that you have been in, things that maybe Carla has said, that have shocked you?
Renee Graziano: Wow. I think in regards to Carla, well, I think I should say this. I think Carla thought I was a lot weaker than I am, and she was a lot tougher with Drita behind her. There have been some things, which will play out over the next two episodes that I chose not to be involved in, if that whole part gets aired, because they edit so much in the show. You film so much and get so little of us. As far as in regards to what people have to say about me, keep talking. Doesn’t bother me. Yes, I think I’m used to it. I grew up with people talking about me. So, this doesn’t make it any different.
Q. Has Junior actually been watching any of the episodes? If you do have a romantic interest in your life, will he see that? Has he seen the part of you dancing with another man? Did he react to that?
Renee Graziano: Junior is very much into the television show. I have to admit it; he does watch it on Sundays. I usually get a phone call right after each episode. Sometimes he’s angry, sometimes he’s not. Sometimes he laughs. Sometimes he’s a little bit more humbled and taken back by when he sees himself on camera. The impact and the capacity that is jail is having over his son, I think has affected him, definitely. In a good way, though, it’s affected him to now he really knows he needs to stay around for A.J. So, once again, I’m very, very blessed to have had this opportunity of a reality show.
Q. I know that you were worried that your dad didn’t approve of you and your sister doing the show. So since you have gotten some positive feedback about it has he changed his mind?
Renee Graziano: My father’s never seen the show, nor will he ever watch it. He has not changed his views on how he feels. He loves his daughters unconditionally, but he will not accept. This is not for him. Believe it or not, my father’s a very private person even though he’s been in the news. He’s very private.
Q. So, Karen’s book— I know she mentioned Lee in the book. Are you or any other of the Mob Wives mentioned in her book?
Renee Graziano: I have not read it. I know nothing. I don’t know the contents of it. But, I don’t think we would be mentioned. This has to do with her life growing up with her father. So, there would be no mention of the other women, definitely not. I don’t know if the end of the book will lead up to the show or not, to be honest.
Q. I wanted to pick up on something that you said about not being portrayed as funny and soft, because I think both of those qualities of yours came out really strongly in the series.
Renee Graziano: Oh, thank you. What I should have said is I’m really like Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett. That’s who I wanted to be growing up. I wanted to be a comedienne, Joan Rivers. I just felt for me that you see a very loud-mouthed, sometimes rude and a very indignant person. And, I’m not. I’m actually very courteous and kind. So, I’m a little upset over that. But, I’m obviously, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe people are seeing the fun side of me.
Q. There were so many moments where you showed so much vulnerability. I wondered if there were any particular things that for you watching yourselves relive those experiences, if that was a difficult experience, any specific occasions?
Renee Graziano: It was actually very uplifting watching myself go through those emotions, because I don’t, nobody really sees what they look like when they’re broken. So, I call myself broken, because when we had started the show, a rush of emotion had come back for my son’s father after us being apart for so long. So, reliving my relationship, that was hard. But, it was just great. It was knowledge that I didn’t know I had. Or, power I didn’t know I had to have self-control and to realize that at some time, you’re better off moving forward than taking two steps back, no matter how much you love somebody from the past. You should progress in your life, not regress. And, you’ll be in therapy with me in Season 2.
Q. Finally, what’s one thing that your fans may not know about you?
Renee Graziano: Well, now they know I love …. One thing that they don’t know about me is I’m actually a homebody. Well, now they know that. I love my family and I don’t think that they don’t know anything. I think I pretty much put it all out there.
Q. So you’re an open book?
Renee Graziano: Yes, I’m a very interesting read for an open book. Yes.
Renee Graziano: Well, I just want to thank everybody for taking the time to have the interest that they have in Mob Wives. I know Season 2 will be even more explosive, maybe not as angry and vicious, but more explosive. I’m sure everybody will enjoy the season as much as they have this one so far. Thank you.