Now that the divas from Atlanta have wrapped their tumultuous second season and "The Real Housewives of D.C." isn't set to premiere until the new year, the Orange County housewives are gearing up for their fifth season premiere tonight on Bravo. The good news is that the franchise is stronger than over for the cable channel and audiences continue to show up to see more about the lives of the rich and fabulous. In order to get the lowdown on the comings (new housewife Alexis), goings (original housewife Jeana is departing) and feuds (Gretchen and Tamra bicker in tonight's premiere), our Jim Halterman talked with Orange County Housewife Lynne Curtin, who proved that she is easily more the negotiator than the troublemaker within the group.
Jim Halterman: You are going into your second year on the show so how does it feel to no longer be the new Housewife on the show?
Lynne Curtin: I really am getting used to this. I like it! I'm a silent observer now and I'm just kind of observing what the new girl is dealing with. I've passed on the torch to her!
JH: Did you have any advice for Alexis coming into the Housewife environment?
LC: She did really well. She's very assertive and kind of a take-charge kind of girl. It seemed to me like she really didn't have any problems at all dealing with them. I'm more laid back/follow-the-crowd and she's definitely more assertive.
JH: Is it safe to assume she comes in and stirs the pot?
LC: Yep! She's stirring up some drama but it's all in good fun.
JH: In the season premiere, your cuffs business has really taken off. Did the show help with that?
LC: All the girls are wearing them and I've cuffed them all and they all love my cuffs. I'm expanding to rings and other things too like necklaces. I can see now where people are watching the show because I get a lot of sales from different parts of the country and even outside the United States. I've had some sales in Australia and Japan so that's kind of nice.
JH: You say in the season premiere that you aspire to be a businesswoman like fellow housewife Vicki. Is she a good role model for you to have?
LC: Most definitely. Anywhere we go�like the other day I wanted to go travel with Vicki in her limo and she likes to make her business calls so she was like "I'm sorry! I have to make my calls!" and I totally understand and I'm getting like that, too, where I can't wait to get to my work. I live, breath and sleep cuffs right now. It's always on my mind and I'm always coming up with new prototypes and that's all I can concentrate on. I'm in a mad rush right now to get everything ready by the [show's] airdate so I can have lots of stuff because I think I'll be getting a lot of action on my website, www.LynneCurtin.com, too. I also have men's cuffs so you have to check them out.
JH: I will! I also noticed that you and Tamra appear to be closer this year after she was more than a little tough on you last year. How'd that happen?
LC: You know, what I'm realizing is that that is who Tamra is. She's not super warm and fuzzy like I am. I realize now that she doesn't even like to be hugged and I'm a big hugger and kisser and I'm very touchy feely. She's a little laid back in that department. It takes her a little longer to get to know but she's a good soul sister.
JH: How easy or difficult is it to not get pulled into the drama going on between the other housewives?
LC: You know what, because you're talking to them and I'm friends with them and then they'll mention what someone did to them�you just have to try to change the subject; that's what I do. I just like everybody and I try to turn the tables like when I was the new girl. I don't want anybody to ever feel the way I felt, which was no fun at all. I got my heart broken at the reunion show when Jeana said something to me but I don't want to put anyone through that feeling ever again. It's all high school stuff.
JH: Those reunion shows must be tough to sit through because they seem to stir up a lot of drama. Are you worried about the one you'll have to do after this season wraps?
LC: I am! I'm worried! Because it doesn't really come out until you see the show and then you go 'Oh wow! They said that about me?' I mean, I didn't even know until I watched that episode that Jeana had said that about me in Vegas. I got up from the table and I came back to the table and said 'I love you guys!' and they had just been saying what a dingy ditz I was�but I had had three glasses of wine so I probably was a little bit on the crazy side but that's a part of my personality. That has nothing to do with my intelligence. Just because I like to get wild and crazy with the girls every now and then I'm also very serious at times and I do like to have fun.
JH: With your first season behind you, are you less trusting now that you know that sometimes the others might be saying things behind your back and in front of the cameras?
LC: You know what? I just try to take one moment at a time and they're nice to me and I'm going to be nice to them. If they did say something, I'll just chalk it up to editing. In my mind I'll say 'they didn't say that about me! They weren't saying something!' I'm going to try to fool myself because I like them all and I don't want to have any hard feelings towards anybody. Even with Gretchen, we've had words but we're talking now. It was her birthday last week so I wished her a happy birthday and we're going to go to lunch without the cameras. Sometimes you might say things you normally wouldn't say with the cameras there.
JH: What was the experience like when you first started seeing yourself on the show?
LC: Wow! We did a spray tan party at my house and I came out and I saw what I looked like. You envision yourself looking so much better than when you see it sometimes. Sometimes you look better than you thought you did but it's a catch-22. I just thought 'Oh my Gosh! I had just finished a spray tan' but I was scary looking. You are your own worst critic. I look at Gretchen, I look at everyone else and think 'They look so beautiful' and I look at the Georgia girls and they always look so perfect. I couldn't afford to have anybody do my makeup so I'd get one eyelash on and I couldn't get the other one on so I would just abandon it and just throw them away. I have so many eyelashes floating around my house.
JH: Have you gotten used to being recognized in public?
LC: It happens every time I leave the house now. I say 'I have to put lipstick on or I have to put on makeup!' Even when I go to the gym�I don't put on full makeup but I might put some on and just look straight ahead, get on the treadmill, put the headphones on and turn on Bravo. But it's trippy to watch yourself. I was on the treadmill today and I'll see myself all glammed out and there I am in my sweats. If they could see me now.
"The Real Housewives of Orange County" premieres season five tonight on Bravo at 10:00/9:00c.