Listen, I’m not about to call the kettle black, but when I met The Real Housewives of Washington DC’s Michaele Salahi I was a tad stunned when in a matter of two minutes she hugged me twice and told me she loved me four times… she didn’t even who I was, just that I wanted to interview her… and I didn’t even get a chance to say it was for Breezy Mama. On one level, she’s my kinda gal, on another I was, um, taken aback. And speaking of crazy (ahem), first she and her husband Tareq Salahi were infamously accused of crashing the White House State Dinner last November (hello, potential breach of our national security) and then last week she got into it with Whoopi Goldberg after accusing The View host of hitting her (if you watch the clip, it’s clearly a tap). Nonetheless, standing with my buddy – before the Whoopi incident – Breezy Mama asked her about her visit to the White House, regrets about this new season of Real Housewives and more.
What was it like to be in the center of a media frenzy last year?
Michaele: It’s been crazy. And after last November, I’m learning. I’m learning that the media, just like everybody, will have their own opinion, but the media misinformation went crazy. I heard one day on CNN, which was a network I’d always watched, “Most of her life she’s lived by the name of Molly.” Molly? I’ve never called myself Molly! So, you learn and now my heart goes out to other people.
It gives you a little perspective…
Michaele: Yeah… I remember I met Cameron Diaz once – we were on the same flight – and we were talking and she said, “Are you ready to do this?” And I said, “Okay…” I had no idea what she was talking about. After the White House, I get it. It means they will spin your life however. It’s a little more intense than having a friend say, “I don’t like your dress…” or whatever. When the media writes something that’s not true, it really rips your heart out. My mom is 82 and I would call my mom and she would say, “It’s okay. Just meet with each person [of the media] through time and let them make their own deicions [about you].
Is it a relief to have the real story come out?
Michaele: I’m so excited this is here. I signed onto The Real Housewives in March of 2009. I was the first housewife cast and actually referred Linda and Mary to the show. It’s 18 months later and eight months since that dinner. That dinner was only one night of my life — you would think I never did anything else. It was a slow news week and the media was like, “Let’s get this girl!”
But what happened?
Michaele: We were excited to be invited. With that belief in our hearts, we went to that event, we gave our ID, and we were announced. You may have seen that image once or twice [laughs].
Once or twice [laughs].
Michaele: We were having the best night — we said it was the second greatest night to our wedding night. Then the next day, I was filming the show for Bravo — so you may see it — and my husband came in and interrupted filming. He said, “My best friend is on the phone — We’re being spun as crashers.” And I said, “That’s ridiculous!”
Tareq: Ah, yes, the White House! [Laughs]
Will we see all this in the show?
Tareq: Ask her [motions to Bravo TV president]. We don’t know. We haven’t seen the show. We don’t know what’s in it.
Rep for Bravo: Yes, you will see them walking up to the White House…
Do you have any regrets or are you afraid how something might be portrayed that might come out on the show?
Michaele: Yes, the White House [laughs].
Tareq: There’s two things… number one was the grand jury is still convened. We’re hanging in the wind, eight months later. Number two, don’t forget, we have a contract with this fine organization [Bravo], so we couldn’t speak about that right away. We can’t go around saying details about the shoots.
Michaele: We’re excited now that we’re here and it has been 8 months.
[To Tareq] The show is about the Housewives, but you got thrust into the spotlight with Michaele. What has it been like for you?
Tareq: We didn’t need the show to get in the limelight. Look at this beautiful lady [motions to Michaele]. She is the limelight! There was no crashing of any White House party. She is the life of the party.
Michaele: Awww… That’s the thing about doing a TV show … They often say TV couples can’t make it. Everything we went through, you find the foundation of what your marriage is. And sure, there’s going to be times where you’re like, “I’m right! You’re wrong!” Going through a TV show experience, where cameras are always with you, you find out if you’re real or not.
What do you think of Obama now?
Michaele: I’ve always supportive the president since 2005. We gave a quarter of a million dollars in wine. We love Obama; We love their family; Look at Michelle – she can wear J. Crew and then she can wear couture – she reaches out to every woman.
Had you watched the other Housewives shows? Did you know what you were getting into?
Michaele: No! I had nooooo idea. Immediately after I signed, my mom called and she said, “Have you ever watched this?” I said, “No.” She says, “Well, I’m going to go watch it.” She calls me back the day after and says, “The women are sometimes mean to the other girls. Are they going to eat you alive?” I said, “I’m going to be okay.”
It will not just show the five women and their dynamic lives, which every woman will sit at home and relate to. The biggest part I’m excited about is – not just my life, but — the platforms and charities that are important to me, like America’s Polo Cup. In all the franchises of the show, you see the city and vibe of the families. Well in DC, it’s politicians, diversity in other countries – the bilateral relationships on camera and how that works, with ambassadors… it’s a big deal.
Will we see the social hierarchy of party givers?
Michaele: You will. You’ll see each charity, what’s done; The wives and what’s important to them. Everybody has an opinion. No matter whose party it is, I’ve never been about status or classes. No matter what your job is, if you’re doing whatever you can afford to help somebody or giving something out of your heart, that’s all that matters. It doesn’t always have to be money. It could be just a kind gesture. Sure, you’ll see competition of whose event’s better, but I don’t do that vibe. Maybe you’ll see it from the others, but I don’t know: I haven’t seen all of the show yet!
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