October 24, 2011
A Conversation with Dana Wilkey
I had the pleasure of speaking with Dana and she is a fascinating woman. She called me from home, and did not block her phone number which I thought was unusual, but sweet. While it was probably an oversight, she could just be cool and figured I was not a stalker, and did not worry because she is an open book and if I called, she wouldn’t mind.
I liked Dana immediately. She is ballsy and fun, but has a vulnerable undertone that is very sweet. Of all the housewives I have met and spoken to, she was the most unlike what I was expecting. She is super smart, accomplished, generous and kind, yet she is painted as a desperate drunk who only cares about being friends with the ladies of Beverly Hills.
Dana has had a rough road to happiness. Her mother was in a car accident when she was only 10 years old, and lingered in a coma for a couple of years after that. She died when Dana was only 12, and Dana moved out and was on her own when she was just 15. She went through high school and college on her own, and graduated with honors from USC.
She has been with her fiancé for several years, and they are together, happy, and planning their wedding. They have a young son that they both adore, and Dana lives with her man, her boy, and her 92-year-old grandmother. It is her maternal grandmother, and Dana loves her and has taken care of her for years. Dana is fiercely loyal to her family.
She grew up alone, with the pain of losing a parent, and it’s unfortunate that she was painted as being desperate to make friends, when really it’s simply a sincere attempt to be friends with women that she has nothing in common with, and would never be friends with under any other circumstances, than taping a reality television show. (I use the word “reality” loosely.)
Dana shed some light on a few things from last week that were odd to me. Why did she invite Brandi to her house for game night when she had been so rude at Adrienne’s by saying her fiancé was cheating on her? She did not want to invite her, but Taylor said it would be the nice thing to do, so she invited her to be kind, not because she wan’t mad about what Brandi said.
Why was she begging the girls to go on a “healthy” vacation together? That scene was at the end of the night and she was a little tipsy. The second Kim arrived she knew she was in trouble. Kim was clearly fragile and Dana wanted to be sensitive to her. When she suggested a “healthy” trip together, it was gentle way of discussing rehab for Kim.
Why does she appear to be desperate to be friends with all the crazy? Turns out she never really sees these girls. While she is good friends with Taylor, she does not know the others, and shooting together is the only time she sees them, so she tries to cram in a lot of stuff while they are together. They are nice, but not particularly friendly or accepting.
Dana is different from these women in a lot of ways. She is independently wealthy, and did not marry into her money. She did not quit her job, and still runs her companies on her own. She does not need the money. She does not need to prove anything. She is a sweet girl, who thought this would be fun, and is not too concerned with how Bravo is editing her.
She is fiercely loyal to her friends, and while I imagine some of the editing has hurt her feelings, she mostly laughs at all of it. When you sign on to do this type of show, you never know how you are going to come off to the audience. From watching I thought Dana was ditzy, but after speaking to her, I think she is smart, philosophical, genuine and a complete hoot.
Dana is not desperate for friendship, or fame. She has built a life for herself, has longtime friends, a loving fiancé, special grandmother, a beautiful son. She is fun, and people need to be a little less harsh with her because what Bravo is giving us, is not the whole story. I suppose that’s true of all of them, so must I take my own advice and be kinder?
Probably not going to happen my darlings. Part of what is so fun about blogging about the housewives is that we are able to comment on what Bravo gives us, so none of it can be taken too personally. All is fair in love and reality television. Dana is on Watch What Happens Live with Andy and Brandi tonight, so check her out and let me know if you think she is keeping it real.