Next Top Models & Mommie Dearests
It was Bloody Marys all around and plenty of good cheer as the latest episode of TheReal Housewives of New Jersey concluded. Guests were gathering at the fancy Il Tulipano to celebrate 16-year-old Christine Staub’s newfound modeling success.
As mom Danielle toasted her daughter’s picture on the cover of Daily, there was still bitter in the cup when the camera panned to two ominously empty chairs. Danielle explains they were for estranged-yet-invited-anyway housewives Jacqueline Laurita and Dina Manzo.
We thought this episode would be yet another feisty installment in the unrelenting hatefest among the women of Franklin Lakes.
But halfway through, we wondered more if the show shouldn’t be re-titled "Make My Daughter a Supermodel." While there’s still no love lost between Teresa Giudice and Danielle, they’ve begun to share an intriguing common denominator. Both women have discovered they have cash cows living in their own homes.
It seems no daughter is too young to model in Franklin Lakes, and both Christine and Teresa’s eight-year-old Gia step up to the plate with astonishing results.
While the episode featured many shots of the real pets of New Jersey in the strangest of outfits and most odious of poses (Danielle’s dog dragging his ass along the carpet, Dina’s zebra-print covered bird cage), the show had a more serious and dramatic demeanor than the prior two installments.
Because Christine and Gia had to walk the runway at Bryant Park, realizing in part each mother’s dream of participating in the legendary Fashion Week. They both triumphed. There was something decidedly distasteful about Christine’s photo shoot last week with famed fashion photographer Gilles Bensimon.
The aged photographer and the gorgeous teen made for a kind of Roman Polanksi dynamic, and Christine’s clothing looked a little too Lolita for comfort. “She looks like a Barbie doll,” said Danielle, obviously not thinking much.
And when Bensimon invited Danielle to participate in the shoot, quickly you could see the deflated look in Christine’s young eyes. Why steal her fire?
Meanwhile fashion agent Claudine calls from Caravan to tell Teresa that Gia got into Fashion Week. Teresa tries to share her excitement with husband Joe, but he’s too busy wielding a Slap Chop to care.
And he probably has other things on his mind. “We have sex every day,” Teresa confides in her video diary, “sometimes twice."
Later at Stage Left, she spends $1,965.80 on new clothes for Gia. But the little star seems indifferent to the cost, saying “I’m too pretty to work.”
Gia and Christine were clearly the real stars of the episode. It’s startling that at 16 and with no experience, Christine is filled with talent, beauty, and poise. When Danielle tries to out coach catwalk coach D. Mac Fokes at IMG models, Christine reaches her limit. “You’re both pissing me off. I’m done,” she says with confidence.
Meanwhile, backstage at Bryant Park, Gia refuses the bits of food Teresa offers. Christine accepts only two cubes of honeydew and a bottle of water from the free table. Later when Christine wows the audience, Danielle beams, explaining to the camera, “I might even have thrown up a little in my mouth.”
Then she imagines how her daughter will one day be traveling the world, “with me by her side.” Unfortunately, she’s too busy schmoozing with press agents to notice when poor Christine nearly vomits as she stands for nearly 25 minutes under spotlights with the other models.
Far from the madding crowd, Dina looks East for solace. She just doesn’t want to get caught up in any of the drama. Seated near a blazing red Buddha head she might have found on sale at Marshall’s Home Goods (one of many Buddhas in her cozy home), she explains her position to Jacqueline.
Later Dina’s energist, “Zen” Jen, pays a visit, and encourages her to extricate herself without attacking Danielle. Dina, unlike the others, seems at peace with herself.
For now, that is.