I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Real Housewives of New Jersey Star Jacqueline Laurita. Jacqueline talks about her friendship with Teresa, her son Nicholas’ progress, why she decided to join the show, her favorite moments during filming, her regrets, and even shares some of her summer beauty tips! Check out our EXCLUSIVE interview below!
The Real Housewives of New Jersey is one of the most popular shows in the franchise and you have been been a part of it since the first season. How did Bravo originally approach you to be on the show?
JL: “Cast recruiters from our production team came to our local salon to inquire about a group of interesting women who are Mom’s. The owner of the salon gave them my name. They reached out to me and we talked for 2-3 hours on the phone talking about my life. They asked me if I could do a video interview as well. Out of curiosity, I said yes. You know the rest of the story. I had NO IDEA what I was getting into. I’m proud to have had the opportunity to work with such a great network as Bravo.”
Were you hesitant about joining a reality TV show?
JL: “I was hesitant. It took me a while to actually sign my contract. I just never really watched TV except for Nick Jr. and Disney because of my son, CJ. I just didn’t know what I was getting into but at the same time, I was very curious. It was never about fame for me. I was more curious about what went on behind the scenes of a reality show. I knew that it would be a once in a lifetime experience. I love experiencing new and interesting things. I always lived my life as an open book anyway. I tend to over share with everyone and anyone, so sharing my life on National TV was easy for me. I’ve never been a private person.”
What do you think makes RHONJ so popular, yet controversial?
JL: “I think because we are mostly family and long time friends. Our relationships are so real and our issues run deep. It can get explosive and emotional at times. There is history there, so it makes it interesting and real. I think people can relate to us in one way or another. There are lessons to be learned from watching us. It can be an eye opener.”
Why do you think the viewers of RHONJ have such strong loyalties and opinions of the cast, more than any of the other Housewives shows?
JL: “Everyone thinks they know us because it’s a reality show and they can relate to us, or our situation, because they have been in similar situations themselves. We speak our minds so fans feel comfortable speaking theirs.”
Looking back, which season is your favorite?
JL: “I had a lot of fun filming season 2 filming with Teresa. We had a lot of laughs and good times together.”
What is one of your biggest regrets on the show?
JL: “I try not to have regrets because I have learned from all my experiences. I hated how season 4 reunion got so ugly. It was a 12 hour day and I was just irritated and fed up with everything. I was holding things in for a while and I just let it all out. It needed to be done but my delivery could have been better. Lol!”
It has been reported that you and Teresa made amends when filming season 5, I know you can’t give too much away, but can you tell us what led you to reconcile?
JL: “There comes a point where you just get tired of the unnecessary fighting and all the negative energy it brings. It sucks the life out of you. I have a bigger fight to fight trying to recover my son. The other petty nonsense just seemed so unimportant to me. It takes two people to make things better so if you can get on the same page at the same time, you will succeed at coming to an understanding to make things better and finding peace.”
Do you think you and Teresa will ever be as good of friends as you were?
JL: “I think that although there is a long history behind us, and we have let go of a lot of hard feelings, our lives have changed a lot since we were friends before. We both are very busy now in our lives, we have different priorities, and it often takes us in different directions. Our relationship is better now, but different. I’ll always cherish the good times I had with Teresa.”
Do you think when Melissa Gorga and Kathy Wakile joined the cast it made their relationships with Teresa worse?
JL: “No, not at all! Their relationships were always rocky. If anything, the show brought them closer together. Had it not been for the show, they may have never been forced to face their issues. Being together on the show made it harder for them to avoid each other. Being “out of sight, out of mind” makes it much easier to never reconcile. When you are pushed to face each other and get to the root of a problem, resolutions can be made and the healing begins.”
You and Caroline seem to be very close, and Caroline has been very open about her strained relationship with Dina. Do you or your husband Chris ever see or speak to Dina?
JL: “We have a couple of times. She just doesn’t want a relationship right now. She is busy living her own life. We are hoping one day that she comes back around. She will always be family and we will always be open to talking to her, but it takes two to want it and make a relationship work and most importantly, the effort needs to be sincere.”
Watching you work with Nicholas this season has been so emotional, what do you hope viewers take away from your story?
JL: “I just don’t want anyone to ever be ashamed of an Autism diagnosis. I want people to be open about it, help educate others and raise more awareness. Sharing your journey with others will help you by letting you know you are not alone and you get support from others. It helps your child because people will share information and resources with you that could help your child. In turn, you will be helping others. I know that the thousands of people that reached out to us have helped our family tremendously. The support of others is what gives us the strength, hope and encouragement to persevere in our quest to recover our child and has inspired us to give back, help as many others as we can, and give them hope.”
How is Nicholas doing now?
JL: “Nicholas is doing amazing! He works really hard for all of his achievements. It’s a joy and a challenge every single day. He is a happy and loving child. He is progressing from the help of his early interventions. He is saying more and more words and surprises us with new achievements all of the time. He is now learning sight words and we are teaching him to use the words in context and how complete a sentence. We always push him to defy expectations. If he has come this far, I know he can accomplish so much more.
It’s not about “fixing him” , because we don’t think of him as being broken. We love Nicholas no matter what and we tell him that every single day. When we say we want to “recover him”, we mean that we want to recover the abilities he had before he regressed and bring out the best Nicholas, that Nicholas can be. The more tools we can give him to learn, the more his frustrations are reduced and life will be much easier for him in the future. We will never stop trying to help him. We realize that his path may be different from someone else’s. We believe that the signs and symptoms from an Autism diagnosis can improve with the right interventions. I have spoke to many families who have had success with recovering their children. I hold on to that for strength and to remind me to never give up.As parents, we will be his best advocates and find what works best for our child!”
What is some advice you would give a mother facing the same challenges you are?
JL: “Don’t give up hope. Believe your child can recover and that the Autism signs and symptoms can improve with the right interventions. Early intervention is the key to recovery. Educate yourself on all of the information and resources that are out there. Get an individualized treatment plan! Learn, and stick with, the GF/CF diet. Find your child’s positive reinforcers because that is what will motivate them to do the work they need to do to learn more skills. Be your child’s best advocate! Know your child’s rights in your state! Be patient. Except and love your child for who they are, but at the same time, you need to always defy expectations so that you can bring out the best child that your child can be. Find a good support group. Never ever give up on your child! They will surprise you with their accomplishments that you may have thought was not possible. Believe! XOXO!”
Are you affiliated with any Autism programs or charities?
JL: “I get involved with many various Autism charities and organizations. I realize that some organizations have different views than other ones, but to me, they are ALL working to do something positive to help the Autism community so I don’t alienate myself to helping just one charity organization. Autism Speaks and Generation Rescue were the first two organizations that my husband and I reached out to in the beginning of our Autism Journey so we are very grateful to them for their support and guidance. My husbands company, Blk beverages, is giving back a portion of their proceeds of each bottle sold this year, to Generation Rescue as a thank you and appreciation for all of their efforts to guide our family along our journey and for all the help and hope they give to other families with an Autism diagnosis. There are a lot of great Autism organizations out there as well as plenty of support groups to reach out to.”
Since you are a licensed cosmetologist what is one of your favorite beauty secrets for summer?
JL: “Use sun protection every single day! Make it part of your staple beauty routine every day throughout the entire year. I recommend using a physical sunscreen as opposed to a chemical sunscreen, because it protects you from 100% of the Harmful UVA and UVB rays that can be damaging to your skin. Look for a sunscreen that contains Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. I use “Kassir Derm” that comes from a Triple Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. It also contains antioxidants for nourishing your skin and fighting free radicals. They have a sun protectant for normal to combination skin and they also have an oil free version if you are oily and/or prone to breakouts.
There is always a chance of incidental exposure just from walking to your mailbox or while you are driving in your car. The sun will get you, so you need to protect your skin at all times to prevent premature aging, freckles, sun spots and skin cancers.
I also love to set my make up for a longer lasting finish while reducing shine by using my silicone based spray mattifier called,”Ultra Matte” by “Face Atelier”. It mattifies my face without making it look dull. It also has line blurring effects to help fill in and smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. I love it! You can use it before, during or after your make up routine.
I love a good self tanner to give my skin a little extra color. Especially a tanner that doesn’t streak or turn my skin orange. I love “Colour Couture” from “Red Carpet Ready, Hollywood It Girl!” It’s my spray tan in a can! It’s made with a premium DHA so it will always give me a deep bronze glow without turning my skin orange. You just spray it on. You don’t even need to rub it in so it won’t get all over your hands like other self tanners. It’s actually tinted so you can see where you are applying it and your tan still continues to deepen as the hours go on. You can go back over the spray tan to darken and contour certain areas to create shadows right under your muscles, to make them appear to pop more. Give yourself instant defined calves, triceps, abs, etc. You can even give yourself an illusion of a more defined cleavage by spray tanning the arches of an M above and between your breasts. A blow dryer can help it set faster. If you get extra product anywhere like on the inside of your joints, just put a little baby powder on there with a blush brush or Kabuki brush and the powder will suck up and absorb the extra product without ruining your application.
I also use a waterproof eyeshadow base to help make my eyeshadow appear more vibrant, and prevent creasing for a longer wear. I use Lancômes nude Aquatique.
I also always wear a waterproof Mascara in the summer by Mabelline, called “The Colossal Volum’ Express” in Glam Black. I never cry, smear, or sweat my mascara off with it.
You can also do a hot oil treatment on your hair to give it shine and nourish your scalp, by using coconut oil, olive oil or argon oil, etc. Apply your oil or oil mix, and then put on a shower cap while you sit in the sun for 15-20 minutes. I recommend using fresh, natural, organic ingredients when possible.”
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
JL: “I have had a vision for creating a beauty website to share with others for a long time now. I have spent several years educating people about cosmetics, skincare and everything beauty. I have literally tried it all. I became friends with a beauty Publicist, by the name of Suzanne Summers, who used me as her ‘tester,” before she took on a new client for her firm to test the products efficacy. We would go to beauty trade shows together and spoke fluent beauty to each other. I told her about my website idea and we decide to turn our love affair for beauty into business for us. Fans of my show would tweet me beauty questions constantly, so I created a platform to get all of their beauty questions answered. I get all sorts of questions from what plastic surgery procedures I recommend, to what beauty products you can use to make beauty treatments right out of the fridge. I love sharing beauty secrets! Since I am a licensed Cosmetologist with years of experience and Suzanne is a beauty Publicist who has also has tried it all, we thought it would be a great fit to bring our years of knowledge together as well as hand pick a team of other beauty and health professionals to blog with us. We truly feel there is something for every woman on this site and our main goal is to educate and make women feel empowered and let their inner beauty shine.
AltruisticBeauty.com is my vision becoming a reality! We have industry professionals on down to the everyday girl (or guy) that has a wealth of knowledge to share. We have put together an amazing panel of experts that are pioneers in their respective fields. Readers can email us questions at email@example.com
If you sign up on our landing page now, on www.AltruisticBeauty.com you will get a chance to win some amazing beauty products that our team of experts recommend. We will be doing giveaways until the launch of our website. By signing up now, you will also receive a special invitation to our virtual launch party, as well as a chance to win an opportunity to come join us in person during our festivities in celebrating our launch.”
Photo Credit: Bravo