May 18, 2012 | 7:56 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
I was so sure Aubrey O’Day was going to make it into the final two of Celebrity Apprentice, I bet one my readers she would. She felt strongly Aubrey was out and so we made a wager. If the repulsive Ms. O’Day was in, she would write a guest blog for me, and if awful Aubrey was out, I would write a blog about how smart my reader was. Well here we are, and let me just say, my reader is brilliant.
I am writing the first of what I hope will be many blogs in a series called “Conversations with Reality TV Fans”. My subject is Julie. Many people know her from Twitter as @FavAuntJulie, and I can now confirm, she is in fact my new favorite Aunt Julie. I had never spoken to her before we did our interview on the phone. I just knew her from Twitter, and her comments on my blog. I thought she was sweet, but I had no idea she was also fascinating.
Many people assume reality TV fans are a little nuts. A bunch of people who sit at home watching the shows as if they are being shot live and everything is real. Those types of watchers certainly exist, but that is not everyone. There are also smart, educated, sophisticated people who watch because street crack, no matter how smart you are, is going to get you in trouble. Reality TV fans are addicts.
I am proudly a slave to my reality TV addiction and in speaking with Julie, I have seen that it’s not only the freaks in their basements who watch, but also wonderful people who like me, watched one show, then another, and before they knew it were addicted. This series of blogs is for the addicts and for those who judge the addicts. There are people out there who are brilliant, and while addicts, have voices that should be heard.
Julie is a remarkable woman. I will start by saying she lives in South Carolina and talking to her is like talking to Scarlet O’Hara. Her accent is divine and she sounds like she is singing when she speaks because the words roll into one another like a melody. She is very sweet and soft spoken, which was interesting because while lovely on Twitter, she can also be a firecracker. Sadly accents do not translate well on Twitter.
Julie is an engineer that has worked for the Department of Defense and also Homeland Security. She had exciting jobs that required her to travel extensively. She is one of five children in a family that has two sets of twins, of which she is one. After years of being away from home, she decided to leave her lucrative job and return to Charleston to be closer to her family, which includes nieces and nephews.
Julie’s mother had been killed by a drunk drive years earlier, which I imagine makes you want to leave and have a change of scenery, but is also the reason you want to be home and close to your family. She is a strong woman who has been through a lot, seen the world, and in coming home built a new family for herself. She and her husband Shawn have a real love affair. I am a sucker for a good love story, and they have one.
She went to high school with Shawn 25 years ago. He married his high school sweetheart right after school, and his wife was a friend of Julie’s. When Julie moved back to Charleston a quarter of a century after they graduated, Shawn and her connected on Facebook through high school friends. Julie had never been married, Shawn was now divorced, and their love began. They reconnected, got engaged and married within a year.
Shawn has children, and while Julie had not spoken to his ex-wife since school, she reached out to her to make sure she had her blessing as she did not want to hurt her. To hear Julie tell the story is quite remarkable. She is a real southern lady and to check in with her friend was lovely. I’m not sure many other women would have been as gracious or kind. In the end her friend was happy for Julie, and for Shawn, and they all remain friends now.
Shawn is a true gentleman and he loves his wife. They are not only in love with each other, but like each other very much. Julie sent me a link to her wedding video and I must tell you I cried. I am a hopeless romantic and watching the wedding made me feel like I really knew her. Shawn adores his wife and you can see it. You can tell how much a man loves his woman by how he deals with her addiction, and bless him, Shawn accepts it all.
Julie’s addiction began innocently enough with Big Brother. She got into the hardcore Housewives and there was no turning back. She watches, reads blogs, and Tweets about the shows. I am fortunate to be on the list of blogs she reads, and I have enjoyed chatting with her on Twitter. Julie has seen first hand how fun and how brutal Twitter can be, and she takes it all with a grain of salt. She is not there to piss anyone off, just have fun.
Sometimes it’s hard to keep your cool in a sea of crazy, but Julie does a good job of not getting sucked into the drama. She has learned over time who is nice, who is a little off, and who is full blown delusional. Reality fans are an interesting group of people and if you can separate the loons from everyone else, Twitter is a great place to chat with other fans. Reality TV is much more fun to talk about when there is no judgment of your addiction.
Julie is so into Twitter that Shawn has now threatened to get an account so her can get in on the action. They have come up with the word “Twignoring” as he will occasionally call her and she will not respond as her phone is not with her, but her iPad is, so he’d have a better shot at getting her through a tweet. Now, I’m no expert, but I feel confident that no good can come from your husband having a Twitter account. Don’t do it Shawn!
Before Shawn and Julie got married, she told him she was addicted and he needed to deal with it because it was not going to change. He agreed and signed on. Cute that she told him about her love of reality television, and even cuter that he was okay with it. Julie is watching Real Housewives of New Jersey with all of us and she too is surprised by the open and constant attacks on Teresa. Involving the kids however, gets her mad.
She would never be on a reality show herself and is appalled when the shows bring in the kids. She wishes the ladies could get themselves together and instead of talking about how important family is, start acting like family. I loved talking housewives with Julie. She really is all about her family and to hear her talk of the ladies of New Jersey, I was even more embarrassed for the NJ gals. These chicks care more about the show than their kids.
I wrote last week that I was not going to blog about RHONJ anymore because it was no fun. I am still watching, just not going to write about it. Julie told me that she looks forward to my blogs because if she agrees, it is nice to have someone who sees things the same way and if she does not, then talking about how we saw it differently is fun and interesting. I am a fan who writes about reality TV so I forget sometimes that I have fans too.
I learned a lot from talking to Julie. She is kind and sweet, but also tough and opinionated. She is educated, savvy, aware, and honest. She is the person that I am writing for, and so I will write. I am going to blog about RHONJ through to the end of the season because this is what I do, this is what she wants, and we are in this together. Julie is a wonderful woman. She has been a reader of mine for a long time and now she is my friend.
I am very excited about interviewing other reality TV fans, and not just those who agree with me! There are some really wonderful people out there, and their voices should be heard. I am blessed to have an outlet for my stories, and I look forward to now sharing their stories too. Thank you Julie! You are amazing and I loved our chat. Who shall be next? There are only two requirements: 1) A reality TV addiction, and 2) you can keep it real.
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