May 2, 2013
A Conversation with Kari Wells - Married to Medicine
Kari Wells is one of the stars of Married to Medicine and stands out for many reasons. She is the only white cast member, she is also a pretentious bitch who seems to have a sense of entitlement. In some scenes she looks like a transvestite. I don’t really get her and have been struggling to figure out exactly what she brings to the show in terms of her personality or ability to provide entertainment. Then we spoke.
I have spoken with a lot of reality stars and I always see them differently after we speak, but with Kari there is a profound difference in who we are seeing on the show and who she seems to be in real life. Kari was soft spoken, laughed easily, and her accent didn’t sound as fake as it does on TV. By the end of our chat I felt compassion for a woman who came to TV with good intentions, but is unlikeable.
Kari joined the cast thinking it would be a show about the sacrifices that women make when they are part of the medical community, whether doctors or married to doctors. If you watch Married tmo Medicine you know that medicine is the backdrop to a show about women who cannot fake their way through the fact that they tolerate each other, more than actually like each other. There are not a lot of authentic friendships happening.
Kari is not thrilled with how she is coming across, but is hopeful that it all comes out in the end. She knows she looks mean and bitchy, and while she has had bitchy moments, she is also kind and lovely. The reason she went on the show was to promote charities close to her heart, and talk about her desire to help women take care of themselves financially. She is surprised and saddened by the hate directed to her through social media.
Kari Wells is very funny, and the first to laugh at herself. When we spoke she was home with her daughter and called me directly, without a publicist. Nothing was off limits and she was open to talking about anything. Important to note that she did not block her number, which I think says a lot about her. I want to make it clear that should Duncan start getting calls in the middle of the night asking what he is wearing, it is not me.
Duncan is very supportive of his wife. There was a lot of controversy when following the big fight in their home, he told Kari that Aiden was going to divorce Mariah. Not good, but also not malicious. They did not know they were on camera, did not know Duncan’s mic was still on, and he was simply trying to support his wife, not hurt his friend and colleague. It was a bad choice of words, but in the end was an unfortunate situation.
Kari and Duncan have been married for 12 year and have a committed and loving marriage. They met in Aspen and he pursued her. He was separated at the time and she would not date him until he was divorced. They lived in different cities and one day, while at work, he faxed her his finalized divorce papers and invited her out for dinner, which I think is oddly romantic. They married, had two kids, and settled in Atlanta.
I asked Kari how she would describe herself and she said funny, different, and down to earth. She went on to say she is a kind person who likes to help others. She understands how she is viewed on the show and is hopeful a different and more authentic portrayal of her personality will come out before the season ends. There is a peace in her voice that it may not happen, but also hope that in the end people will like her.
When I wrote that Kari looked like a transvestite, she wrote me to say she thought I was funny and admired my strong voice. When I told her she was not one of my favorite women on the show, she said if she could bring attention to the charities she supports, it would not matter. To be clear, I am not really getting her on the show and don’t think she is particularly relatable, but I really liked her on the phone. It’s a shame.
Relationships between women are stressful and not always nice. We have all done and said things that we wish we didn’t, the difference is that it is not caught on film. She is a trooper for owning her behavior, but also smart enough to know that editing is not to blame for how she comes across. That said, to get 15 minutes of footage out of 15 hours of filming is hard, and things are often taken out of context and not explained properly.
I spoke with Kari about Toya’s Hitler reference in her blog and she thought it was stupid, but not meant to hurt anyone. She said Toya was a lovely woman who did not have malice in her heart. We can agree to disagree about that one. I think Toys is a moron and a spiteful bitch, but to each their own. In terms of Mariah, Kari is mortified and heartbroken by the turn their friendship took and hopes that it will be forgotten in time.
I think Kari Wells is a great businesswoman, a loving wife, a supportive mother, and a woman who went on TV for all the right reasons, but in the end is being tuned into a reality television train wreck. She is aware of how it works and while sad about some of it, happy with who she is, solid in her marriage, and secure as a woman. I found myself feeling bad for her that this is the legacy being created to show the world who she is.
We don’t know these women, and what we see is certainly real, but not the full picture. I may not like who she is on the show, but I can tell you I would want to be friends with Kari Wells. She is smart, funny, self-deprecating, sarcastic, open, and able to own who she is. This woman is ballsy, and I think that is so important for a woman. She has a great things to share with women and I hope people can look beyond the show to hear it.
It will be interesting to see who is invited back for season two. I am on team Mariah, but I like Kari and I hope she will return. There is a lot more to see of this woman and she should be given an opportunity to show us. Like all fans of reality shows, my opinions change like the wind, but like her or not, Kari is good television. I am willing to give her a chance because she means well, and in the end Kari Wells wants to keep it real.