I was the face of a reality TV show that was unlike anything we see on Bravo nowadays. There was no cheating, dramatic arguments or face-slapping. In fact, this was a wholesome show about a Jersey girl navigating love in the South. My dear friend and Bravo executive Leslie Farrell was with me through the entire journey. How did I manage to get my pitch picked up by one of the top TV networks? What made this show a “fish out of water” idea? And why wasn’t it enough to bring the show back? Leslie Farrell and I tawk.
Let’s Tawk contains mature themes and may not be appropriate for all listeners.
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Jaxon, Leslie Farrell, Jaime Primak Sullivan
Jaime Primak Sullivan 00:00
IN THE BUBBLE with Andy Slavitt is another podcast from our network Lemonada Media. The show really helps you figure out what and what not to worry about. Andy Slavitt hosts, he’s a former White House senior advisor for COVID response. So he’ll keep you up to date on the pandemic. But he also helps you make sense of tough issues like the American gun crisis, climate change and abortion rights. IN THE BUBBLE has new episodes out Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays wherever you get your podcasts.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 00:36
Hello, everybody, and welcome to this week’s episode of Let’s Tawk. I am your host; Jamie Primak Sullivan and I am joined by Jaxon. As always, thank you for being here, Jax.
Thank you for having me.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 00:47
Always. I’m very excited about this week’s episode because I you know; I was on a reality show.
I’m vaguely familiar with this show. Have you ever seen the show? I have seen what clips are on YouTube. I have not sought out full episodes. I’m sorry to say, it is not my style of show. I don’t watch any reality shows at all. Really? I have watched some in the past, mainly dating one because I thought the drama was very engaging. Okay, but the real housewives stuff like that, was not my cup of tea. It was much my sister’s cup of tea instead.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 01:24
Okay, well, that’s fair. Well, for those of you who don’t know, if you’re listening to this show, I was on a reality show. We filmed it in 2013. And it premiered in August of 2014. And it was called Jersey Belle, like Southern Belle, but girl from Jersey, get it Jersey Belle title. It’s a great title. Shout out to Dana […], who came up with that title. We were literally trying to think of how do you mesh New Jersey with like Southern belle. And she was like..
We’ll drop one word over here. We’ll drop another word over here.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 02:04
Mash it together. And there you have it. But so I was on this reality show. And there are a lot of questions that people have about the experience and how did it happen? And what was it like and I get it because it’s sort of a vacuum of pop culture, whether the show was on one season or 10 seasons, you’re part of something in this entertainment zeitgeist that, you know, less than 1% of 1% of 1% of 1% of people are ever part of behind the curtain. Right? So people are so fascinated with me being on quote unquote, that show they can never remember the name. But never, some people like who still watch coffee talk. But a lot of people come up to me and they’re like, were you on that show? You know, and I’m like, NYPD Blue. Yes, yes, I was. But so I had an executive at Bravo, who was along for the journey with me. And she really was my eyes and ears on the inside. Because even though I was a producer on the show, I was still the star. So I was kept from a lot of the business conversations. And that’s why you see, I think, you know, and we’ll talk more about this when Lesley comes on, Lesley used to be my executive from Bravo. But in a lot of ways, people felt that I had received this grave injustice and not coming back. And I think there’s a lot of mistruths around my experience and how that really went down. And you know, Leslie, and I will be able to have a very honest conversation about the process. And so I’m very excited to talk to her because she doesn’t do podcasts like this, you know, they don’t let you behind the curtain of Bravo. But I have maintained an excellent relationship with leadership, professionally, and personally. And I think there is some merit to you can leave the experience behind and keep the people with you. And so I think that’s what we’re able to show today on today’s episode. So I am so excited to introduce today’s guest, reality TV expert and executive Lesley Farrell.
Leslie Farrell 04:35
Thanks, Jaime. It’s so great to see you.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 04:39
I mean full disclosure. We see each other, we love each other. But it is very nice. First thank you for agreeing to have this conversation with me because I know that there is so much mystery around the success of Bravo and While I will be cautious in my conversation with you. I do have some questions. Just like a fan, you know, that I’ve never really asked you.
Leslie Farrell 05:17
Okay. All right. This is intriguing.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 05:19
I know, because I talk so fucking much that like, you’re probably thinking, how could there be a question you have not asked me in the eight years we have been friends, but there are just because we’ve never sat down to have a conversation quite like this in that it’s focused solely on our work together. You know, at a network, right? All right. So first and foremost, what was your title at Bravo.
Leslie Farrell 05:47
So my official title was vice president of current production. My job title was executive producer of whatever show I was overseeing.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 06:00
So you were the executive producer of Jersey Belle?
Leslie Farrell 06:03
From the network side, yes.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 06:04
Okay. So I’m going to give you the story of how Jersey Belle came to be from my point of view. And then I would love to hear how it came from your point of view. So I used to make jokes that the Primaks you know, I’m one of four children, right? That the Kardashians had nothing on us. Because we were loud. We were funny. We were always the center of attention. And then at any given moment, we could like, break out into a fistfight. And so you know, I’m not that I’m, like, proud of that fact. But, but it was the truth. And so I used to joke all the time that I’m like, we’re way slutier than the Kardashians, like, what is going on? And so I would always joke about that. And then, you know, life slowed down for me, as I separated from my siblings, and, you know, got into this very serious relationship with Michael. And then I found myself living in Birmingham, Alabama. And, you know, my siblings were in Jersey, and very much like, what the hell’s going on. And as a creative and someone who worked in Hollywood, I knew that the fish out of water element always worked. It worked in film, it worked in television. And we had not really seen that fish out of water element in reality TV yet, you saw like, road rules and real world where they took people and put them in a house, but it wasn’t like fish out of water, per se. It was just, you don’t know these people. So we’re going to put you in a house with that.
Leslie Farrell 07:51
They put them together and just everybody was out of their […]. So it’s not the same thing.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 07:57
It’s not the same thing. So I started to think, well, there’s something because every time I would tell people like I’m a Hollywood publicist from New Jersey, who lives in Alabama, they’d be like, Okay, that’s a shit show. And I started to think that is a shitshow. Right? And one day, I asked Michael, if I wanted to do a reality show, would you be okay with that? And he thought I meant if I want to do a reality show, would he be okay with that? I don’t know if he thought I was gonna go on like Big Brother, Jaxon, or like, I don’t know. Definitely not American Idol. But yes. And so the truth is Lesley and you are gonna fucking die when I tell you this. I am such a fucking liar. Okay, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. I’ve never like really, I told this story in pieces, but I’ve never like really told the story. I looked up the company that produced a reality show that I knew was very successful. So I just looked them up. And then I went to they’re like, okay, by the way, y’all don’t do this. If you’re listening, don’t do this. This worked in 2012 or a lead like this, this would not work today. So I looked up their employees. And I found the name of the person who did their casting. And I emailed him and said, we have so many mutual friends. Everybody says, We need to meet. We should zoom. Or was it Zoom then, it wasn’t, it was like Skype. Yes. And I had wait. In Hollywood people never want to say no, right? Because they think you’re someone who knows someone who knows, exactly, exactly. So he was like, Sure. Okay. And you know, it was it was Paul. Do you know Paul? He was with authentic?
Leslie Farrell 10:09
Yes. But let me tell you that story point number one where our realities diverge. And I’ll when I tell you number one.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 10:20
me while I had Dora the Explorer decals on the wall behind me because my kids were so young. So we Skype and I pretend that this is just a meet of people who know, people in Hollywood, you know, and we’re talking and I’m telling my story. Now, the way I’m talking to him is totally a pitch for a show. But I act like each dress, I’m like, oh my god. So imagine a Hollywood publicist and you could see his wheels turning. He’s like, what are your friends like? And he said, Do you mind if I record this? And of course, I’m like, ah, I mean, I guess. So, Lo and behold, he emails me. And he’s like, listen, I think there’s a show here. And I’m like, oh, a show. You don’t say. And then basically, he was like, I want you to meet our owners. You know, that was like Lauren, and Mark. Like, going way back. Yeah. And the whole thing was orchestrated. I am a manipulative, bravo, bitch. That is why.
Leslie Farrell 11:38
Oh, but listen, I just want to say just on that one point, now get to mine, I and I don’t think Bravo, knows this part of the story. I’m not kidding you right now you have blown the top of my head. Okay, go on. Continue.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 11:54
Okay. So then I do a Skype with Paul and Lauren, and Mark, and we have this great conversation. And it goes great. And then they call they like, call me and they’re like, We think there’s a show here. And we believe in you so much that we’re willing to invest our own money to do like a casting tape. Do you have friends that you think would be great for a show? And I knew as a producer, thinker, a producer thinker, like I’m not letting them cast anybody on this fucking show. There will be no girls that I don’t know or don’t like. So I started pulling together women that I loved, that I could trust. And then there was one woman.
Leslie Farrell 12:48
Okay, my back. I’m sitting up straight now because I’m feeling a new surprise coming.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 13:09
There’s one woman who was cast for that show that I did not know before the show, and nobody fucking knows that.
Leslie Farrell 13:15
Are you kidding me? Seriously? You have to tell me, you have to. Come on. Seriously.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 13:26
Okay, so I will tell you, okay. I felt what was missing. And as soon as I say this, you’re going to know who it was, but I want to speak to that. I felt what was missing. I felt that I had an archetype. I knew that so and so was sort of the Mississippi boot slinging. What’s a cannoli kind of girl. Yep. I felt that so and so was the prim and proper, like, resting bitchface kind of like, I don’t owe you anything because I’m, you know, whatever. You know, I felt like this one was a bit of a do you believe in life after love? And was like, gonna keep fucking going for it, you know? And then I felt like this one was sort of young, and looked up to us and just wanted to be in you know, I was starting to feel that. But what I thought was missing was the epitome of southern culture. The antithesis to my jersey. Who is the woman that gets it all right, all the time. Who is the walking Miss Manners? Who is the woman that I want my daughters to be if they choose to remain in the south and I didn’t have that. And I knew that the comedic relief would not hit its highest place with a fish out of water. If I didn’t have the true southern belle.
Leslie Farrell 15:20
You needed to counterpoint.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 15:23
And so I put out feelers to a few people that I really trusted. And I had a conversation with a woman at the gym. And I said, if you had to if Martians came down from outer space, and they said, What is a Southern belle? Who would you introduce them to? And she said, Danielle Yancey. And I said, who is this Danielle Yancey? I must meet her. Take me to your leader. And she introduced us and we met for coffee. And let me tell you the rest as they say is history. It took some convincing, you know, she was very, you know, private and blah, blah, blah. But let me tell you that a, I don’t believe in accidents. Be Danielle Yancey is truly the greatest thing to come out of that entire experience for me. She is the recipient of my children. If Michael and I die.
Leslie Farrell 16:23
Oh my gosh, you guys have become that close.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 16:27
No, Danielle, is like my family.
Leslie Farrell 16:31
Jaime Primak Sullivan 16:32
But so going back to how it all started. Once we did a casting tape, there’s something if you’re listening, and you’re sort of you don’t know how networks find out about shows, there’s something called real screen, where all the network’s go off site. And all of the production companies show their sort of highlight reel of the shows they’re trying to sell. They make like appointments with network. So here’s the other clincher you may not know. Before Authentic was going to real screen with Jersey Belle. I told them the only network I would be on was Bravo. And they were like you can’t drop that on us, Jamie like lifetime there. I said no, I won’t do it. And they were like, You don’t understand you can’t lock us into one network. We invested. Let’s say it was $15,000, I don’t know what it was right. Whatever it was. And I said I’d sooner write you a check back for $15,000. Then I would go on any other network.
Leslie Farrell 17:42
Why? Why? Why?
Jaime Primak Sullivan 17:45
I wanted to be a producer, Lesley. And the network that had the respect at the time was Bravo. And I’m not saying USA doesn’t do good television. I’m not saying lifetime doesn’t do good television or even MTV. Certainly they’re the pioneers in reality TV, but I had a very short small window to get it right. And it was just what I was willing to do. So I said to them, in a way this takes the pressure off you. You’re not a show pony show with the Bravo. And if it doesn’t work, move on with all your other shows. And they were so pissed.
Leslie Farrell 18:25
Oh, I bet because you’re locking them into one buyer.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 18:30
Right. Which people don’t understand these shows have to be bought. Because the buyer, the network is who pays for the show. So they weren’t selling eight episodes of a show. They were selling a 15 minute casting reel with this fucking girl from Jersey who manipulated her way to real screen. And like a week after real scree, Authentic called me and said that the meeting went really well that the tape played really well for Bravo. And then we didn’t hear anything for months. And then we literally got the call out of nowhere. And that was it. We were off to we couldn’t believe it. Were you already with Bravo when Jersey Bell was bought?
Leslie Farrell 19:25
I started, yes, I would well yes because I started in 2013 and I work behind the scenes a little bit with the development team first before I even met you. What is the show they have all this stuff they talk about.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 19:38
Tell the truth what they say, tell the truth.
Leslie Farrell 19:41
They loved it. Let me say they loved it not let me tell you why. They love the whole idea of fish out of water and you just talked about already that there wasn’t a lot of that in unscripted at the time. But most importantly about Jerseyville that they loved and I really love too, Jersey Belle was and I don’t mean this in a bad way, was a wholesome idea, a wholesome show, very different than anything Bravo had done, and they wanted to try something different. And they loved you, they thought you were super engaging. And the story’s great. I mean, you know, Jersey girl, finds her prince charming in the south, and you know, it has to go down there and navigate that, and it’s just, it was great. And then the other women surrounding you were wonderful, too. So that’s really all they said, they really loved the concept they just knew. And that was one of the things that we talked about a lot was that how does this show fit into what Bravo’s known for, which was, you know, Face Slapping table flipping, cheating a lot of things, you know, the sort of darker side of relationships and women particularly, yes.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 20:58
And a lot of people asked me, When, when people locally started to find out. They had the opposite, like, the amount of people who had such an issue with me choosing Bravo, but who secretly watched Bravo, or like, watch it all the time. You’re gonna put your children on Bravo. I’m like you literally have it playing in your living room as background noise. So how can you be so concerned? But people had very strong opinions about the network at the time. Absolutely. What you didn’t know at the time, which I had been making people profoundly uncomfortable with the lack of diversity. As far as the eye could see, I was like, how is it that the house that Nene built, and I will say it every time, I don’t credit Andy Cohen, that is, in my opinion. And I know some of the OGS will say it was the Orange County women that built it, but that’s not who ever caught my attention. In my opinion, and this is strictly opinion. Housewives is the house that Nene built, in my opinion. She brought it mainstream. She brought it off Bravo. She was everywhere. She was loud. You love to hate her. She was the epitome of I said what I said, and I was like, how, like, I love White people don’t get me wrong. Like I’m White. I sleep with a White man I got was White kids, like I’m, you know, my mom’s White. But how is there no diversity? And I had been expressing that and it was making people very uncomfortable.
Leslie Farrell 23:01
Oh, I’m sure especially then.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 23:02
Oh, gosh, yes. Because now there’s a lot more diversity. But in 2012-2013, they were like, she keeps asking about diversity. And, you know, it mattered to me. And it’s still, as you know, because you know, my heart, you know who I am, it still matters to me. And so they were finally like, Jaime, oh my god, with the best news, you’re gonna be so excited. And I was like, what, and they were like, you have a new love. And by the way, let me be crystal clear everybody. This is not why Leslie was hired. Leslie was already hired. She already had a job. She has a very successful career. I had zero part of that. But, you know, I would say the second most impactful relationship for me to come out of Jersey Belle outside of Danielle is you. And those of you who don’t know, because you can see, Leslie happens to be a gorgeous woman of color. And it was so meaningful to me that I felt that you and I could have some like connection in a fish out of water experience. Not the same one.
Leslie Farrell 24:29
But a one. Yes. Yeah, no, that’s absolutely true. And I think that we bonded very quickly, probably because of that. I don’t think either of us articulated it at the time, but probably partially because of that. But also because you’re a very real person. You know, and I relate to that. And you know, productions difficult, you know that better, you know, as well as I do. And there are times when hard decisions have to be made or pushes, push back, push forwards have to happen. And you and I could always talk from the beginning, there was no, you know, kick gloves and having to worry about that. And I think that was the sort of thing that made us also bond very quickly. We knew we could just be straight with each other. And that’s so important. And that is not common.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 25:19
No, it is so rare in production to have someone that you can go to and say, This isn’t going to work for me. Let me tell you why. And then Leslie would say, Okay, I’m receiving, we’re not changing her mind on this. So I need to find something that works for the network, that will be good for her too. And very, it wasn’t like I was a diva. I mean, literally, my craft service was fruit strips and coffee. Like I cost, I was the cheapest, like, date for Bravo ever. Every day, they were like, all she literally wants is dried mango and coffee. It’s probably why I was so skinny on that damn show. But also because I had three children under five. And I was exhausted. People always ask me, what was my experience, like filming the show? And I will say there were certain adrenaline rushes to filming a show when you are out in public. And suddenly, everybody’s looking because you become very aware of yourself. And I am one of the most confident people I know. So, I immediately took on the mother role for the girls. Because they had never worked on a production or seen sets or crews or booms or booms or those sound things they shoved in your face. Also, like they were being coached by people while I was away, you know, they filmed alone, without me, they had their own interview days and things like that. They had a schedule. They were getting paid. People are saying you get paid for this, this is a job. When Bravo tells you to be up, fully haired and makeup in a chair. They want your ass in that chair.
Leslie Farrell 27:18
That’s right. It’s 10 weeks, and it is a lot of work. We own you for 10 weeks.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 27:23
And by the way, that doesn’t even include pickups back to your town. Start moving your damn furniture around again. Okay, you finally get all that tape up off your wood floor, and you put your shit back and they come back. Surprise. We’re back. It’s like when you have your period for five days and you think it’s over? And you’re like, yes. And then it’s like, comes back. That’s Bravo.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 28:01
So I want to just explain to people that so the question I always get asked is why didn’t the show come back? Now? Bravo had me signed a seven year contract. That’s a long time. That means I would have just finished in 2021.
Leslie Farrell 28:21
Yes, that is right.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 28:23
So they had me signed a seven year contract. And I, you know, I would love for you to explain where Bravo was at the time with ratings, what the expectations were, what the bubble means and how those decisions are made.
Leslie Farrell 28:43
You know, look, all shows go through this, not just Bravo again, everybody does it. So, obviously, this is a business and it’s, you know, advertisers pay for the productions, you know, through the ad dollars, networks get money to pay for productions. So add sales. And market tastes have a lot to do with which shows get greenlit regardless of how good show is. We talked about how Jerseyville was a palate cleanser and how Bravo at the time was trying to do some new things. Bravo at the time was also really moving up the rank up into the top 10 of the most popular ad supported cable networks. So when they say ad supported means it’s not premium, not like HBO, where you pay every month. This is like you got to watch the commercials. Okay. So, while they’re doing that, things were really hot. Certain kinds of shows, of course, you know, housewives what they’re used to, and they were bringing on lots of new kinds of shows. I would
Jaime Primak Sullivan 29:53
Just like to say that Jersey Belle, yes, based on the trailer was sold through its entire first season.
Leslie Farrell 30:01
Which let me tell you, does not happen all the time.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 30:05
We were very proud of that. And advertisers were like, wait, we could be on Bravo but not associated with? Well, that’s the thing.
Leslie Farrell 30:13
You know, it gave advertisers a place to go on Bravo, that wasn’t a table flipping, you know, whatever kind of show. But what happened with Jersey Bell, because it was a very different show. And it gets back to it’s a combination of things. It’s fandom, it’s reaching out to new kinds of advertisers. It’s all that stuff. And Jersey Bell was one of the first ones first shows that breaking the Bravo mold, you know, that the ratings for good and solid, I just want to say that, okay, the ratings were good and solid. But at that moment, and it really was a moment in time, because Jaime and I have talked about it, it had been a year later. But anyway, that right at that moment, we were just shy of a target number that they really wanted. And I do mean, just shy. And I’ll tell you how close we were without saying any numbers. I think we debated Jersey Belle for three or four months. It was a long time. That it meeting after meeting after meeting talking about you know, and where the network was going, and what kinds of shows and things like that. So it was really hard. It wasn’t like, oh, this shows not working. It wasn’t like that. It’s just that Jersey Belle was very different. And it was a question of where do you split the pie? You have so many hours of TV. Are we doing the right thing? And so there were a lot of hands in that pie?
Jaime Primak Sullivan 30:37
Was there a lot of, I’m curious. You don’t have to say names. But was there a lot of avid force? Or more significant against like voices that were?
Leslie Farrell 32:01
Well, there were a lot of avid force. That’s why it remained on the bubble, because otherwise, it’s just out the door. There were a lot of shows some highlights, I didn’t like whatever that you know, get the x, because you don’t have internal champions. Jerseyville had a lot of internal champions. But it came down to numbers, and what ad sales, and that’s the inside of the business. Because that’s really the business. You’re selling ads, right? The ads paid for the programming. So that it was a moment in time, where Bravo was stretching, trying to do something new. And oftentimes, and we know this even whatever in society, right, one step forward, two steps back. And Jersey Belle got caught at that moment. Because a year later, you know, Jaime, we talked about this a year later, we’re like, you would have been renewed. Would have killed for your numbers
Jaime Primak Sullivan 33:02
Killed. And I think it was the kind as a producer, I’m taking my star hat off and putting my producer hat on as a producer. That was the kind of show that really needed a season two, to breathe. It needed to stretch its legs a little bit, it needed for people were just starting to find it. And here’s what I like to tell myself. And I believe, or maybe I believe it because I’ve told myself so many times. I think that my beloved, our beloved FB, I think she knew that I had different aspirations. I think she knew that ultimately what I wanted to be was successful and not famous. And where the network would have to push me to go would have taken me away from success and towards fame. And, and I’m not saying they can’t be synonymous, but it is hard to ignore the amount of very famous reality TV people whose lives have been torn apart by their fame. And I mean, divorce, child problems, tax evasion, IRS problems, we’re just seeing it with the […], we saw it with Teresa and Joe. We’ve seen it with families torn apart. You know, I don’t know if Kathy speaks to this one anymore. And now this one doesn’t speak you know, and the perpetual wheel of dysfunction that has to come with beating the ratings from the season before. And people don’t understand that while a lot of this is scripted, and I don’t mean a writers room, like the Chris He’s just fuckin scripted down to the like, yeah, walk out and say that line again, like that kind of shit, right? But I’m talking about like scripted, meaning you have to have some level of production because there needs to be law in order in any production. So you know, when you’re shooting, you know what scenes you’re shooting, and the producer does say, hey, in this scene, I need you to get around to, you know, you and Michael arguing about a fourth baby, right? They’re not giving me lines. I’m not an actor, but they do need me to have certain conversations so you can arc out a season otherwise viewers don’t know what the fuck they’re watching.
Leslie Farrell 35:35
You have no purpose to see.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 35:41
But what I think somebody with the foresight and the long game that somebody like FB has with people, is does this woman sitting in front of me want to be a Bravo liberty, are her aspirations, truly, to serve this network for seven years, and exploit every part of her life for our gain. And I think in that moment, I like to believe that as she was deciding this bubble decision, I believe she has aspirations to do so much more. I see breaking in, in her future. I see beast in her future, I see a novel in her future. I see a healthy marriage, and great relationships with her children and her future. And I’m not saying she wishes, IRS issues and marriage trouble on anybody on her. That’s not what I mean. But I was a very unique decision for everybody there. Because if you aren’t going to say to someone, okay, we’re gonna roll the dice on you, and we’re going to force you to the next six years of this contract. That wholesome shit only goes so far.
Leslie Farrell 37:00
That’s right. That’s right. I would say, you’re not wrong. But we spoke about it differently. Okay?
Jaime Primak Sullivan 37:07
Let me hear. Because I’ve never said that out loud either. This is amazing.
Leslie Farrell 37:11
So yes, you’re definitely not wrong. Because we did have conversations, of course, about where the show should go, where it could go, especially once we got to know when we were shooting not, we hadn’t cut necessarily a lot of stuff. But as I was getting to meet, know you, and know the other women on the show, and really get a better grasp of what the show really was about. Because it had a lot more heart. And a lot more. I’m not really just settled drama, because drama is there. But the drama was much more real life drama, as opposed to a lot of the housewife stuff, right, which is cat fighting, and you know, whatever. So again, very new for Bravo. But, so, but I remember and I’ll get back to that a second. I remember one time, and I can’t remember where in production, it fell. But you and I had a conversation. And it must have been early on because we’re still really getting to know each other. And I remember you turning to me, and you said, you asked me, Leslie, why do you think I want to do this show? And that’s a question if I had been earlier on which I normally ask potential cast members, because I want to know, What is your motivation to do a reality show, to open up your life like this, right? Because as we know, the more you open up, the better chance you’re going to, you know, have an audience and you and I said, I don’t know why Jaime, why do you want to do this show? And you said to me, then it’s to be successful. It’s not to be famous. You told me that. And that was really interesting to me. And that said a lot, you know, but I think that our discussions, we didn’t say you know, how far can we push? It was more would this be the right show to, we could ask you to do that. We could say next season, how many times when you get to the next season, you have new cast, we could do that we know how to do that. We know how to cycle people in and cycle people out. But that wouldn’t be the show that we really wanted. We wanted to show that Bravo bought right which was real heartfelt funny sometimes but with positive female depictions. Right? And then that became the thing.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 39:42
Well then it becomes like, right, we don’t know what to do with all this love. And it is, and you know what? If there is any reason for your show, not to come back. Let it be because the women on the show love each other so much, that they just spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically cannot get to a place where they would ever be comfortable jeopardizing those friendships. And I have to tell you, when we prayed about it, and we did, right, because that’s what southern people do. We met at the park and we all prayed about it. And I remember Scarlett saying, it’s already written for us. God knows where this is headed and whatever he has in store for us, but we are not going anywhere. The spirit of what she meant remained and I think that’s a lot about you and I as well, you can leave the experience behind but there are certain people you just want to carry with you. And, and I love you now I’m going to ask you some rapid fire Bravo questions before I let you go. Okay, ready? What is your favorite reality show you have ever worked on?
Leslie Farrell 40:56
Okay. Ever worked on? Jersey Belle?
Jaime Primak Sullivan 40:58
Leslie Farrell 40:59
Yeah. Super fun.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 41:00
Would I make a good Real Housewive of New Jersey?
Leslie Farrell 41:05
Oh, Lord have mercy there. You would just kick all their asses.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 41:10
That’s the fucking truth.
Leslie Farrell 41:13
Seriously. Oh, you would tear them up. The show would be over. So I have to say no.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 41:23
And which was your favorite, Belle? Of the all the Belle’s aside for me? Character wise, like truly like, personally like..
Leslie Farrell 41:33
Danielle, without a doubt.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 41:37
Okay, what is your question for me?
Leslie Farrell 41:39
My question for you is after all this time is Jaime from New Jersey? How southern are you now?
Jaime Primak Sullivan 41:49
How southern am I now? I would say not at all. Truly, I don’t think I’m southern at all. Because do I say y’all. Yes, you pick it up because you hear it so much. And your children say it and your husband says it and you become almost like a parrot in a way. Like I’m not Madonna who moved to London with Guy Ritchie and suddenly was accepting awards like, and I would like to thank all my fans. You’re just like, I’m sorry, what? I’m not that. But I do say y’all from time to time. My Jersey friends always get me on it. They’re always like y’all. But I still think my I’ve maintained my regular Jersey accent like mostly. But I’m not southern at all, because it’s a bit of a trauma response for me. I don’t think this is so deep right now is you’re gonna be like, okay, what the fuck, but I don’t think that I think that I hold the New Jersey in a time capsule of 1993 which is why I’m, I love it so much. Because that’s when my dad died. And that’s when like, before that I was like that might, you know, I was in high school, when in love with my boyfriend and my dad was still alive. And I lived in New Jersey. And I want to stay there, like in that space. So I’m afraid to assimilate anywhere else. Because it would mean that my identity of that part of my life is over. So I can’t become southern or because then I’m, that becomes too far away from me. I can’t remember that as good. So it’s really a trauma response that I refuse to assimilate. And I wish that I could be different and just take a deep breath and just sort of assimilate a little bit. But also like, here’s the thing. I think southern people love me, but they’re not really, they don’t really need me to become southern. You know what, Jaxon, you’re southern. You’re very southern. Do you think I’m southern?
Leslie Farrell 44:02
That was really easy.
Y’all was maybe 10% But that would be it. You don’t eat southern food, you don’t partake in, you did go to Garth Brooks the other night.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 44:14
But I’ve been going to Garth Brooks since college. Yeah, because I went to West Virginia. I started at West Virginia and my roommate was in love with Garth Brooks. And I was like, what is this friends in low places shit. But seriously, Leslie, thank you so much for doing this.
Leslie Farrell 44:32
Oh, thank you for having me. It was really fun, really fun.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 44:40
This was such a fun episode. I’m very grateful to be able to have these conversations and share that part of my life with people and some of those untold stories I’ve never told before. I hope you guys love this. I hope it answered a lot of your questions or at the very least, took you a little bit behind the curtain of one of the most beloved networks and processes and phenomenon’s and television. Thank you as always for listening I hope you like and subscribe and rate and all the stars and stripes and all the things. And on behalf of Jackson and myself, thank you so much and we will catch you guys on the next episode of Let’s Tawk.
Jaime Primak Sullivan 45:19
Let’s Tawk is a Lemonada Media Original. Our producer is Xorje Olivares and Dani Matias. Executive Producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer and Jamie Primak Sullivan. Mix and scoring is by Brian Castillo. Music is by Dan Molad. Please help others find the show by rating and reviewing wherever you listen. Catch my series Cawfee Tawk on the Jaime Primak Sullivan Facebook page. I’m also on Twitter at @JaimePrimak, and on Instagram at @JaimePSullivan. And follow at @LemonadaMedia across all social platforms. If you want more Let’s Tawk, visit Lemonada Premium only on Apple podcasts.