Christine (L), Danielle (M) and Jillian (R)
When stars of reality television don’t like the way they are portrayed, they often blame editing. In every unflattering scene, from Brandi Glanville to Ramona Singer, Bravolebrities have claimed the scene was “scripted” to make them look bad.
Danielle Staub, former Real Housewife of New Jersey star who was never viewed in a very flattering light, is supposedly writing a tell-all book of what life was like during her two-years on the show and the difficulties she endured after.
In the meantime, her daughter Christine Staub, now an adult who will graduate college with a 4.0 and double major in psychology and socially, penned an essay for the feminist magazine Broadly about her point of view from those years. And believe me, she has one. Christine squarely blames the producers and co-stars for labeling Danielle as the “prostitution whore.” Christine wrote,
“I don’t care what any TV viewer believes her to be, or how any media outlet defines her. I know who she is, and I admire her.” Adding, “for more than half of my life, my identity can be summed up in one sentence: daughter of one of the most notorious figures in unscripted television history.”
On the night of the infamous table-flip by Teresa Giudice, Christine and her little sister, Jillian, were present and felt “helpless and unable to defend” their mother. And the reverse was also true. Christine described an embarrassing school experience, something Danielle could not protect her from, when a classmate asked her for a blow-job.
“I mean, isn’t this what you and your mom do for fun?” asked the offender.
Let’s not forget, Danielle is an adult who made the decision to go on RHONJ. And prior to the show, she made some bad choices that were documented in “Cop Without a Badge” and also in a sex tape. Did she not think this would come out? Christine says it wasn’t just the producers, but the other cast members who made her mother look like a “ho-bag slut.” Without naming names, Christine said,
“Even if this housewife had known the truth, it wouldn’t have made a difference. Even if she’d known how the soundbite affected me, she still would have said it.” Christine added, “Insinuating someone’s daughter was a ‘slut-in-the-making’ made for great TV.”
When a cast member said that Christine and her sister Jillian appeared to be “dead in the eyes” this prompted complete strangers to repeat this phrase and call them “children of a felon.”
“These were the early days of reality shows,” explained Christine. “Today, reality stars are savvy, but a decade ago, talent lacked a frame of reference.”
Don’t you love that? “Talent lacked a frame of reference.” But Christine has a point. Today reality stars have publicists, managers, and attorneys working for them.
“My mother’s storyline was edited and produced,” Christine added. “Placing her in scenarios to achieve a desired outcome. She wouldn’t normally be involved in these scenarios; they were dictated by the producers, and they just told my mom where to show up for filming. In season one, my mother didn’t expect this to happen.”
At the time RHONJ began, the RHOC and RHONY had already launched. Many could argue the template was there for the unflattering light, but Danielle chose not to look. However, Christine asked the readers to consider something very important.
“Imagine if all of the arguments you’ve had in your life were filmed by a stranger, and they took out the worst things you said, edited it together, and then presented the footage on TV to define your character. Would you say that characterization was accurate?”
Yes and no. Don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe children are innocent and often the casualties of reality shows, and kids don’t have the capacity to understand consequences of fame – but their parents should.
“Anything that is produced, and edited in this manner, is fictitious by default, but unlike an actor, my mother didn’t have the advantage of hiding behind a character, not to mention that the term reality forms a perception that is impossible to overcome when the viewers aren’t aware of what goes down behind the scenes.”
So Danielle did what she thought was best for her family after two seasons and quit the show. Christine maintains her mother “left to save her life and her kids” and wasn’t fired. But did life get easier? Unfortunately, no. The rumors followed like a stray cat.
Christine said it has been “impossible to overcome” who Danielle was made out to be by the producers.
“My mother can’t find work because of the preconceived notion America has about her. Since she left the show, my family has fallen on hard times.” Adding that, “all these years later” people view Christine “as the daughter of an infamous reality show prostitution whore.”
Christine recounted how they packed a few suitcases and fled the only home she’d ever known.
“We didn’t have furniture, so we slept on blow-up mattresses,” Christine wrote. “I worried about my grades. I missed three weeks of school as my mom desperately searched for an educational institution where I would receive more respect and protection—a place where fellow students would not demand blowjobs.”
Christine learned a lesson many girls her age haven’t learned yet. “Unfortunately, there are some things you cannot ever escape” and blames the show for making her feel like “garbage” and taking away her name and voice.
“I will no longer be the excess debris created by a produced, manipulated, pseudo-reality universe,” asserts a more mature Christine. “Now I have a voice, and the time has come for my mother to reclaim her own—to reclaim the respect she deserves.”