Real Housewife of New Jersey and memoirist Danielle Staub hosted a screening of The Lovely Bones at the Paramount Screening Room last night. Afterward, she talked to me about her upcoming book, her unhappy Garden State housewife nemeses, Haiti, her immunity to hangovers and the possibility of a cooking challenge with fellow Jersey girl Snooki.
[Note: Gentleman in the picture is actually not Billy Gray.]
Thank you for hosting the screening! The Lovely Bones was great.
Thank you. The messages were really deep. It was well done. [Lead actress Saoirse Ronan] is brilliant. The movie was really powerful. I can’t wait to tweet about it. It’s just piercing.
So how did you get involved in hosting this?
I was contacted through Bravo. And the rest is history. I really don't get involved in these kinds of things. But it goes along with everything that I’m doing in my life. I’m working on myself. And this movie shows the reasons why.
It resonated with you?
Oh it totally resonated with me—just the journey… and the climb.
So what are you working on right now?
Right now I’m working on my memoir, which is my life story. So the way that the film resonated with me is that I’ve had to relive everything I’ve gone through in my life and write about it in the past six months. It would normally take 18 months to write a book like this—it’s almost 300 pages long! So having gone back and done that, this movie felt like it was completing my journey. I’m in the editorial stages right now. The writing is finished!
Oh! You’ve finished writing it?
Yeah, now we’re just editing it.
And when can we expect it to come out?
It will be out this May.
And will its release coincide with the second season of Real Housewives of New Jersey? Is the show coming back?
You’ll have to watch and see. There will be an announcement soon.
Do you hang out with the other Jersey housewives between seasons?
No, I absolutely do not.
I’m not surprised!
I’m a fan, so I figured that was the case.
Hopefully you're a fan of mine!
Absolutely. I think Teresa’s table-throwing was completely out of line.
You know, I’d really rather hang out with the caliber of people who would like to stand and talk with one another and keep it at a civilized level. If you don’t like somebody, you don’t have to hurt them. I just…steer clear of the other housewives. I don’t understand darkness like that. I was there once. That’s another reason this movie means a lot to me. Climbing through that darkness is difficult.
And the other gals are still lost in the darkness?
I don’t know. I try to stay as far away as possible. If it doesn’t feel good, I stay away from it. I have a saying. It’s actually one of my quotes: “If it feels good, draw it near; if it doesn’t, steer clear.”
That’s good! I like that! Life’s too short!
Life is way too short. And I believe life is a gift, love is a blessing and trust is earned. And none of them have my trust.
Well, I don’t think they’ve earned it.
I have many blessings in life: my children, my pets, my friends. I mean, look at this screening. I made a few phone calls and all these people showed up. I would rather pride myself in building other people up. I mean, there’s devastation like Haiti. It’s going on right now.
I know. It helps you keep things in perspective.
Seriously. When I think about things that have happened in my life, I realize they're really not too bad. Just think of Haiti. Every day you wake up is a gift. We all have a little diva in us, but you have to know when to dial it down.
Speaking of divas, do you watch the other Housewives installments? Are you a fan of the franchise?
I have friends on each season!
Because I was going to ask you who, among the other casts, is the biggest bitch?
I don’t know. Given that I’m on one of the series, I know that I’ve been misunderstood quite a bit. So maybe I just wouldn’t even take a guess.
Who do you think might be most misunderstood?
Maybe Ramona. It seems like she might not be very well understood. People judge her because she has this really big energy and shakes her head a lot. Well if it bothers you, just don’t look at her!
Ramona is passionate, I think.
She’s her! I don’t like people that judge other people.
Neither do I.
I’ll take the underdog every time.
Have you watched Jersey Shore?
I haven’t. But I hear there are a couple of people on that show who might like me. I’ve been asked quite a few times about…Shnooki.
She wanted to do something with me. And I totally welcome it. I would like to. I’d be like their mother. I’m 47! I’m sure they’re young enough to be my children!
That’s cute. But I don’t think she would come at me like that. I think she’s very lovable and respectful toward me. So I’d totally hang out with them.
Maybe you could hang out on a cooking show. The Jersey Shore kids whip up a lot of great Italian food.
Let’s put it out there. I like the cooking show segment.
I’d love that. Jersey synergy! You could do a baked ziti competition.
I would make my meatballs.
I made a New Year’s Resolution to cook more. I’m going to buy some ground beef and pork and make meatballs as well.
So big news out of Jersey recently: the state has legalized medical marijuana for people who are extremely sick. Would anyone on your cast qualify based on mental illness?
They’re not happy.
If you’re happy, you don’t tear at other people. Maybe that’s why I’m not doing it?
Oh no. Are you telling me you won’t be back for a second season?
It’s a part of my life.
OK, I’ll run with that. Guest of a Guest follows New York nightlife. When you cross the Hudson for a night out in NYC, where do you like to go?
Wherever my PR person tells me to go!
OK. Honest answer.
It’s true! I hosted the China Club New Year’s Eve party and packed it. It sold out. And the people there were so wonderful to me.
And you got paid, of course.
Well that’s part of it. I have two children to feed. But I loved the energy. I packed it and two hours later, I left. And I don’t have hangovers, ever.
Oh yeah, although I will probably get a place in New York. One of my daughters is a model with IMG, so she’ll be in the city.
And that was part of the show, right? Meeting with modeling agencies?
No, that was someone else. We didn’t go after them. They came after us. You’re thinking of my nemesis.
Last question: I don’t know if you’re familiar with a website called Gawker.com...
No. I don’t read any of those.
Well, it’s a big New York blog of sorts. And Jill Zarin, from Real Housewives of New York City, was their intern for the day today. Is there any way you would consider interning at Guest of a Guest?
Why not! That would be fun. As long as I don’t have to walk too far. I’m a Jersey girl; we like to be driven door to door.
Oh believe me, there would be no manual labor involved.
Danielle was a delightful class act throughout. Some of her politeness even rubbed off on me as I waited to escort her to her car after she visited the ladies room. We were alone and the movie was about a kidnapping, so she was understandably nervous.