July 31, 2012 3:00 pm
NOTE: The following is from an interview Richard Chang from the OCRegister conducted with Heather DO-BRO… six months ago. BEFORE the seventh season of the Real Housewives of Orange County premiered!
To read the entire interview, please click on the link to the OCRegister…
By RICHARD CHANG / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER … FEBRUARY 1, 2012
Heather Dubrow is no stranger to television. She’s had roles on sitcoms and dramas since the early 1990s, back when she was known as Heather Paige Kent.
Yet, now she’s doing something on TV she’s never done before. She’s playing herself as the newest cast member in Orange County’s best-known reality TV series – “The Real Housewives of Orange County.” The seventh season of the popular Bravo reality show – the one that started the whole “Real Housewives” franchise – premieres at 9 p.m. Tuesday.
Dubrow, a 43-year-old stay-at-home mother of four, is married to successful Newport Beach plastic surgeon Terry Dubrow. The Dubrow family lives in a stately, self-designed home near Pelican Hill Resort, in the exclusive neighborhood of Newport Coast. NOTE: “self-designed”… THAT explains it!!
Heather Dubrow met with The Orange County Register recently for an extensive interview at the Pelican Grill. As the sun hung in a cloudless sky over the immaculate Pacific Ocean, classic brunette Dubrow revealed herself to be an intelligent, sensitive and confident woman who’s been to the TV dance before, but never quite like this.
The Orange County Register: How did the producers of “Real Housewives of Orange County” find you?
Heather Dubrow: Well, basically, what happened was, I was pitching a show with some of my girlfriends about the fact that we’re opening a restaurant together. And through our travels, I met with Evolution (the company that produces “Real Housewives of Orange County”). I’d actually met with them before. They had called me maybe three or four years ago to be on the show. And I had never watched the show. I met with them and I said, “You know, I’m a little concerned. I hear that the girls are really mean on this show. That’s not my kind of thing.” But I went through the whole casting process. And at the end of the day, they thought I was too New York. And I said, “Oh, OK.”
… Anyway, part of my desire to do something creative was doing this restaurant with my friends. My husband and I thought it would be a fun show. So we went and pitched it around town, and got some interest going. And one of the companies was Evolution. They called me soon after and said, “Hey we like this show. But also, we’d like you to be on the Housewives.” And I said no. No, I’ve been told that’s not my kind of thing, and I don’t think so.
But after a lot of conversation, and my husband not speaking to me for two weeks when I said no, which is true, he really wanted me to do it … So we talked about it, and I met with Evolution. And they said, “Hey listen, we like your restaurant show, why don’t you introduce it on this show, and see what happens with it?”
So I pitched it to my girlfriends, and we all agreed that this would be a really fun, unique opportunity. So that’s what we did, and they were fabulous about it. I think the audience is going to have a lot of fun seeing me and some of my very best friends trying to break out into this venture of opening a business. Anyway, that’s how I got here. (Laughs.)
OCR: You said you hadn’t actually seen “Real Housewives of Orange County” before being on it.
HD: I still haven’t. I’ve never watched “The Real Housewives of Orange County.”
OCR: Have you seen some of the other “Housewives” shows?
HD: I watched the Beverly Hills franchise since the very beginning, because our husband and I are acquainted with Adrienne Maloof and Paul Nassif, who I think are terrific. And that’s why when it did come up again, I did think about them, because they are very reasonable, normal people to me, and I thought, well, if they can do it, maybe we can do that too.
OCR: I find it a little hard to believe, that you still haven’t seen “RHOC.”
HD: No, what happened was, right before I finally said yes, my husband I think was concerned of what he was getting me into, because I really am very sensitive. And so he said, “Before you say yes, I want you to watch a couple scenes from this episode.” And he showed me this scene of the season closer last year, where Tamra (Barney) threw a glass of wine at, was it Jeana (Keough)?
My husband played the scene on YouTube for me and I watched it, and I said, “Oh, I get it. It’s a Christopher Guest movie. It’s ‘Waiting for Guffman.’ It’s a satire. I can do that.” So that was my honest reaction.
OCR: So it didn’t scare you?
HD: No, it did the polar opposite effect. I’ll tell you what did shock me, because watching it on TV, it seemed comical. But I will tell you, now having been involved and seeing it from the inside, it’s not comical, it’s shocking. Because I’ve never seen behavior like that from a group of adults, and certainly not up close. And it’s almost like a tornado – the way, an event will just happen, and as quickly as it comes, it goes. And then life continues as normal. Something that would just blow me away for days and months – it just comes and goes.
OCR: You’ve gotten to meet the ladies. Did it make you nervous that first, they could get fights that involve you? And second, they sort of put the new girl, the new Housewife through tests?
HD: You mean, hazing? I think I was nervous about all of it, honestly. I met Tamra first, and I was very nervous, because as I said, the only scene I saw (was wine being thrown). I was apprehensive about meeting her, but I’ll tell you, she and I clicked immediately. And we really talked about our children. And I had an affinity for her; I just liked her.
OCR: In the previews online, Tamra comments that Heather is really wealthy, compared to Alexis, who’s kind of faking it? What are your thoughts?
HD: I would say that Alexis and I definitely have some ups and downs this season. I am someone who, I don’t base my friends on their bank accounts or their street addresses. I have friends from all different socio-economic backgrounds. I like people who are authentically themselves. And if someone appears phony to me, I don’t, that doesn’t sit well with me. It’s like knock-offs. I don’t like knock-offs. If you can’t buy it, don’t wear it. That’s somebody’s copyrighted material. So you’re trying to prove something by wearing it. Does that make sense?
OCR: Would you consider all the housewives your friends now?
HD: I think I have relationships with all of the wives. How we all end up, I guess you’ll have to wait and see.
OCR: What’s your friends’ reactions to your being on the show and being picked as the new housewife? Sometimes friends are supportive, and sometimes they say, “Heather, you really should think about this before you do this because it could tarnish your reputation or career or whatever.”
HD: I did talk to my very best friends about it, and I think everyone was a little concerned, because I am very sensitive. But I think at the end of the day, they all thought, “Heather can hold her own.” And they were excited for me.
But I’ll tell you, what I do find interesting about being on the show, separately from having been on scripted television, is people’s reaction, other people’s reactions, to being on the show. It’s different than being on a scripted show.
I think, you know, human nature is, in success, you will have people who are envious. What I think is unique about reality shows that I’ve now seen from the inside, and not just from my experience, but what I notice about the other girls on the show also, is that, I think the perception in the communities is, “Well, I can do that too.” Which makes it more desirable, because it’s attainable. Do you understand what I mean by that?
OCR: Whereas, being on some scripted drama on TV or comedy is unattainable.
HD: Of course it’s unattainable, because if you don’t have talent … You’d have to go audition for that show. This is a job. Let it be said, this show is a job. Reality television is, I wouldn’t want to call it acting, because it’s real. But it’s intense, and it’s work. And you are put in positions that you might not be put in in your real day-to-day life.
I’m someone who, I don’t talk about my friends. And in these situations you are forced to say what you think at any given moment. You’re compelled to say these things, because that’s the nature of the show. And so, where I might have an opinion of someone today, I wouldn’t say it out loud. I would hold it to myself. Maybe ’cause my opinion might change three weeks later when I got to know somebody. You’re compelled to say these things out loud and draw conclusions before you’re ready to. It’s a very, very odd thing to do.
OCR: Sometimes you don’t always have that filter of time and reflection when you’re speaking to the camera, because they want the answer now.
HD: Right. Whereas in real life, like I was just saying, I would wait, formulate my opinion, think about it. You don’t have the luxury of that. You have to discuss it at that given moment. And I think that’s how feelings get hurt, and I think that’s how situations escalate.
OCR: Where were you born?
HD: I was born in the Bronx. Einstein Hospital.
OCR: What year?
HD: Sixty-nine. I just turned 43. I would lie, but they still print them. No one remembers that I’m an actress apparently, but yet, the AP loves to print my birthday every year. Me and Marilyn Manson, Jan. 5, thank you. It must have been a slow birthday day. Maybe Diane Keaton, too. (Keaton was born Jan. 5 as well.) NOTE: Has ANYONE seen “HeatherPiageKent’s” birthday grouped in the Jan 5 birthdays?? If so, did you know who she was??
OCR: Where did you grow up?
HD: I grew up in Westchester (County), N.Y., in a town called Chappaqua. I went to Horace Greeley High School.
OCR: Did you go to Syracuse University?
HD: Yes, I did go to Syracuse. I studied musical theater. I graduated in 1990 with a degree in musical theater. NOTE: Heather is a COLLEGE-EDUCATED person!!!
OCR: Did you go to Broadway after that?
HD: No, that’s what I thought I was going to do. I went to Florida and did “Divorce Court.” I was on a couple of episodes of “Divorce Court.” I’m sure these tapes will surface someday. It’s the worst acting I’ve ever done in my life.
So eventually, I got brought out to L.A. to perhaps work on this other show. It didn’t end up going (on the air). But I was here, and I thought I can always go back to New York, so why don’t I just try it. I ended up singing at Disneyland. Then I met my singing partner, and we had a 14-piece big band. We toured for four years. The Kent and Miller Orchestra. We performed at Birraporetti’s in Costa Mesa, which has now turned into Z’Tejas. We had a really cool band. We opened up for Mel Torme, Manhattan Transfer, Paula Poundstone, Dana Carvey. We were the house band for “The Nanny.” Everyone thought I was Fran Drescher’s sister.
I sang in lieu of a waitress job. I got to do that, which was really fun. I did “Punchline: The Musical.” That was a really cool experience. We did this show at the Kennedy Center in D.C. From that, I got a better agent, manager and TV show. I had a recurring part in “Life with Roger” on the WB with Mike O’Malley. I did a bunch of episodes of that for a year and a half. I got “Jenny.” Then I just started working. I never went back to New York.
OCR: What was it like to work with Jenny McCarthy?
HD: Fabulous. She’s amazing. We had so much fun together. We had such, such fun. She’s a terrific girl. Very, very generous. And I have nothing but fabulous things to say about her.
OCR: You met your husband on a blind date.
OCR: Through mutual friends?
OCR: Where did you meet?
HD: Ivy at the Shore.
OCR: In Orange County?
HD: No, in L.A. There are no good restaurants down here. That’s why we want to open up a restaurant.
OCR: What were your impressions when you first met him?
HD: I always say it was love at first sight for him. Terry had love at first sight. For me, I think it took six weeks. But then, he swept me off my feet. I’m really grateful. He’s a great guy. He’s a solid guy. He’s a guy that is a forever guy. We didn’t get married at 20. I was 30, he was 40. Neither of us had been married before. We didn’t have children. For the two of us, we understood, it was a forever thing or nothing.
OCR: What are your parents’ thoughts or reaction to your being on the show?
HD: I think that they were surprised, because they don’t watch reality TV. I think they were concerned about what they hear about reality TV. I think it’s important to understand that, I’m aware that the landscape of television’s changed, and reality TV is a big part of our culture, and I think it has a valuable part. Maybe not every show, but it definitely has a valuable part. So when I explained that to them, and I explained why I was doing it, they were supportive.
OCR: I know the show hasn’t aired yet, but have you been approached out shopping, with the kids? Do people say, “I’ve seen you online?”
HD: No, honestly. The funny thing about me is, I haven’t talked about it very much. People that know me are saying, “You did that?” Teachers at school, or another mom at school will come up to me and say, “Oh my gosh, I just heard. That’s so cool! That’s so great.”
OCR: There is the other side, the impression that Orange County residents get about the show that’s not altogether positive. They say it reinforces negative stereotypes about people who live in Orange County, that it’s not that diverse. That it only shows a sliver of the population, that it emphasizes the train wreck aspects. People getting in fights, getting plastic surgery, getting divorced, etc., etc., that it doesn’t really represent O.C. Have you heard that and what are your thoughts on that?
HD: I have heard that, and I think that’s one of the reasons I’ve been brought on. Because maybe I represent a different piece of Orange County. Amusingly, I’m married to a plastic surgeon, yet, I don’t have fake breasts, which is probably pretty unusual for these parts.
OCR: Are you excited that you’re going to be on this program that millions of people watch and you’re going to be representing Orange County, yourself and your family?
HD: I think I’m curious, is a better word. Because it’s my first experience in this genre, I don’t know what to expect. So, I feel like I handled myself appropriately. But we’re all humans, we all say things, and we misspeak. To have that polarized on film, I think is a little daunting.
OCR: Some of the other housewives have said they did so much filming with the crew, that after a while, they sort of forgot that the cameras were there. Did that ever happen to you?
HD: I’m an actress. I never forget the cameras are there. (Laughs.) But I do know what they’re talking about. I think what happens is, there’s a familiarity in being filmed. That you understand that it’s part of the deal. So you do become comfortable. I’m not saying that I stopped seeing them. But you are OK with it.
And honestly in general, I think that for the most part, I’m a good person, and I try to be a good friend and a good wife and a good mother. We’re all human. We’re not always perfect. And if you took anyone’s life, and took a year of their life, and picked out every misspoken word and every misstep, you might be able to paint a picture of a person in one way. But if you then made another film of every great thing and every kind word and every good deed, then you would have a completely different picture of them. So I guess I just hope that I am shown in a complete way, and I hope I’m happy with it.
Do you want to know if I’m excited? I don’t know. I’m cautiously optimistic. Ask me again in two months.
OCR: How much are you making doing this?
HD: I would say, not that much. I would say that I am paid less for this season than I am for one episode of scripted television. However, this wasn’t about money.
OCR: If it wasn’t about money, what was it about?
HD: It was about an interesting experience, and a platform to launch certain products we’ve been working on, to promote my fabulous husband, to, I don’t know, to try to have an experience. Life is about experiences, and if you don’t try things, maybe you’re going to miss something. NOTE: “launch certain products”… her restaurant show!