Heather Dubrow, mom, wife, actor, aspiring restaurateur and the newest member of the cast of The Real Housewives of Orange County, brings a level of humor, intelligence, grace and wit to everything she does. She successfully meets the demands of juggling her career; her marriage to renowned plastic surgeon husband, Dr. Terry Dubrow; being a busy mom to 8-year old twins Nicholas and Maximillia, 5-year old Katarina, and 10-month old Colette – and still finds time (sometimes) for herself. Before becoming RHOC’s newest housewife, Dubrow was known for her television roles including “Baby Talk”, “Married … with Children”, ”Nowhere Man”, “Life with Roger”, “Jenny”, “Early Edition”, “The Norm Show, “Stark Raving Mad” and “That’s Life.”
Regular readers will recall that I’m a huge fan of the Real Housewives. I can’t get enough of New York and Beverly Hills and while I had seen The Real Housewives of Orange County, I was ok with missing an episode or two – until Heather made her appearance. Then I was hooked. There’s something relatable about Heather, her interactions with the other members of the cast and her sometimes brutal honesty. While she demands perfection in many things (she admits that she’s notorious for returning food in restaurants) she’s a lot more forgiving of people and gives everyone a fair chance, or, many fair chances, it became apparent during the past season. But cross her enough times and you’re off her list.
I had the opportunity to interview Heather Dubrow recently and, although the interview was cut short by a phone call she had to take, she gave me many insights into what makes her tick and the behind the scenes workings of the popular Bravo TV franchise.
Heather called me on a “day off” during a break from helping out in one of her children’s classrooms.
Melody Lesser: Thank you so much for the opportunity to interview you for EverBeautiful. Can we start with Housewives?
Heather Dubrow: Of course, and the pleasure is mine.
ML: Has the show been picked up for another season and, if so, will you be returning to it?
HD: There’s been no official pickup by Bravo for Season 8 or an announcement of the cast. But, I think it was a very positive season for us last season, for me and Terry and the family, and I think it’s something we’d be very interested in pursuing again.
ML: You’re my favorite housewife on the OC, and perhaps the entire franchise. You’ve imbued the OC with grace, elegance, intelligence and wit that, in my opinion, was missing before your arrival.
HD: Thank you very much.
ML: How do you juggle your filming schedule with raising your four children, your marriage and your personal life?
HD: It’s a challenge. The good thing about filming the show is that it’s our lives so it’s pretty much what we’re doing anyway. I can drop off my kids and film and then pick them back up. I try to do that as much as I can. But you know, it’s a balance. For anyone. Whether you’re a working mother, work part time or even stay at home we still have groceries and, you know, it’s a balancing act. And trying to do something for yourself, to maintain yourself and keep the creative and intelligence juices flowing and have satisying friendships, it’s difficult but it’s something I’m constantly trying to strive for.
ML: Lots has been made about Reality TV and the dumbing down of America. How do you address the reality TV detractors?
HD: First of all, the landscape of television has completely changed. We have to look at these shows in a different light. There’s room for everything on television, including reality. I came to realize that it has a place and it has value. Television sometimes educates, informs and entertains. Most reality shows are in the entertainment category and, if you think of the Housewives franchise, and reality shows in general, it’s a modern day soap opera. I think that a lot of the reasons soap operas have gone off the air is that life sometimes is actually stranger than fiction and the reality shows are proving that.
ML: What do you hope to bring to the Real Housewives and what do you want to get out of it?
HD: You know I was hoping last year that the audience understood me and understood my brand. I think they did. And, if we continue on with the show, I hope to continue in that vein to stay true to myself and ourselves as a family. And as far as what I hope to gain from it, honestly it’s already happening. I have found that being back on television, the old adage work begets work, really runs true for me. I’ve had a lot of really fun opportunities lately. I’ve been subbing for some hosts, doing some radio shows on KFI AM, a talk radio station which I really enjoy and i’m going to be on an episode of Hot in Cleveland. That’s fun because I cut my teeth on sitcoms. I’m constantly talking about trying to get that balance of servicing my family but getting a little bit of my career back and being creative and doing what it is that I feel I do best and that I love to do which is working so I love that I’ve been afforded some of those opportunities for being back on the air.
ML: Is there any scene you wish the cameras were not there to capture and, on the other hand, was there anything they missed that you wish had been on camera?
HD: Not really. I mean the only thing that I wish hadn’t happened – but they didn’t show it – was that my son threw a hissy fit one day. You know, he’s a kid. He was having a bad day. The cameras were there and it really made me take a step back and think is this fair to do to them? And I actually talked to him about it. He was fine with it. You know, their exposure is very limited. Bravo never used it on the show. But it definitely made me more protective. But I have to say that Evolution, the company that produces the show, has been unbelievably appropriate to our family and our children and I trust that they wouldn’t do something to harm a child. The only thing that they didn’t show, but I wish they had, was that Colette crawled for the first time on camera. It was so cute.
ML: Aw, that’s great that you get to have these moments immortalized, even if they didn’t show it.
HD: Maybe I can get the footage.
ML: Speaking of the footage, do you get to see the show in advance of its air date? Or do you watch it with the rest of us?
HD: They give us the shows a few days in advance so we can write our blogs. With the shooting schedule and our travel schedules, and obviously we all have lives, it doesn’t work to write it the day it airs. Also, it airs at different times in the country so we write it a couple of days in advance.
ML: So you write your own blog?
HD: Well I do. I assumed that everyone does. I know I do.
ML: I had read that some of the housewives hire writers.
HD: I heard that as well but I don’t have proof on that so I won’t comment on it. I write my own blogs. I think you can tell, when you read people’s blogs, if it sounds like they’re speaking, you know they write their own.
ML: Speaking of your blog, the majority of the commenters hold you up as a role model. But the detractors are so vicious. What would you say to the negative commenters?
HD: I find it so shocking, cause there are always gonna be haters. I was warned, but I wasn’t prepared for it, but there will always be haters. But what kills me is the venom that can bleed through the print. It’s so crazy. When I read those things – and I try not to – but when I read them, it makes me feel bad for them. You know, if you like someone and you want to sit down at the computer and write something nice, that’s one thing, but the karma hit that you take by putting that kind of venom out there … I just don’t understand why someone would want to put themselves in that situation. I mean, we all get upset; we all want to vent. We also want to have an opinion on the shows we watch and it’s easy to be a couch critic, if you will, and say – how could she say it and how could she do that. It’s part of the fun of the show to discuss it at the water cooler. It’s meant for discussion on relationships and all of that. But to sit down and spew out such venom, proof read and hit send? It’s so beyond comprehension to me. it seems to me like a really bad karma hit and not worth taking.
ML: You’ve been on scripted TV shows and now reality TV. How do you approach the latter and how does it make you feel to see yourself, laid bare essentially, for all the world to see and critique?
HD: It’s difficult. I think having a script is great. You can lose yourself in the role. It’s not you. It’s someone else and obviously, this is me. What I find the most difficult about the show is that you feel like you’re on edge. Because look, we all say things we regret saying or do things we regret. No one is perfect. But when it’s filmed, it’s there for eternity and it can be put together and shown over and over and over. It’s a very difficult, odd place to live.
ML: You’ve had some volatile exchanges with some of the Housewives, most notably Alexis Bellino and also with her friend, Sarah Winchester. Is it real – and how, do you get along with them today, if at all?
HD: These are real situations. I think with Sarah, she and I weren’t a great match. She’s got her issues and I wish her well. But with Alexis, my biggest thing with Alexis is, you know, when you’re on a show like this, you understand that part of your role is to have opinions about the other women on the show and what’s going on with their lives. It’s part of the deal that we allow the audience to hear what we’re thinking. In the confessional and in real life, i’m a straight shooter and if you ask me a question I’m going to answer it. The problam comes that if you don’t like the answer you can’t cry bully and be a victim and run to the corner. She’s a grown woman. She decided to be on the show for three years. She’s very well aware of what it entails. When we were in Costa Rica, Alexis brought up the bullying thing and I talked to her about it. Yes it was at the table. That was her choice, not mine. And I spoke, I thought very clearly and concisely, and I felt terrible that she was so upset afterwards. I went to her room the next day and I talked to her. It was on camera. I mean it wasn’t intentionally on camera but they happened to be filming in her rooom. I felt confident that we were making a fresh start and then she was upset with me, I’m not sure why. And then after the reunion, we were in the parking lot and we had such a great moment. We had a great conversation. We made amends to each other for misconceptions and problems and hurt feelings and we hugged and we texted each other and I thought, “Ok, maybe we’re not best friends but maybe, maybe …” I mean, she’s not a bad person. She’s a sweet girl. And she means well. It may not always come off correctly. And I thought we had a chance and two days later she gave a terrible interview about me in the press and repeated gossip that she had heard about me that wasn’t true. It was really hurtful and I just thought, “All right, where do I go from that?” And then I was just done. So I will tell you that it’s not put on. People’s emotions run high, especially obviously at parties there’s a different energy. It’s fueled by alcohol. And things happen. You know it might seem silly to people that I was upset about the bow on my cake.
ML: No, not to me. I would have felt the same way.
HD: Well [what Sarah did by pulling the bow of icing off Heather’s cake before it was presented and served to her guests] was definitely inapporpriate. But I also felt like she and I already felt tense and there were other things at work. It seemed she did it on purpose. It was punitive.
It was at this point that Heather’s phone rang and she explained that she had to go but had time for one last question …
ML: Ok, easy one. How do you stay in shape and do you have any quick beauty tips?
HD: Carrying around the baby helps a lot. I try to go to the gym a couple of times a week but it doesn’t always work out. But I eat really healthy – lean protein and vegetables. And, my cheapest beauty trick is Wet and Wild Lipliner 666 with any lip gloss on top. It’s the best lipgloss ever!
ML: Thank you Heather. It’s been a pleasure.
HD: Thank you. The pleasure was mine.
To read my interview with Dr. Terry Dubrow, click here.
To read my review of Andy Cohen‘s book, Most Talkative, click here.
To read my review of Bethenny Frankel‘s Skinnygirl Yoga Workout DVD,Tweet