Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Can you explain how the women are actually connected in real life? Who had relationships coming into the show?
Jenn Graziano: So, Carla and Renee were friends since Renee was 16 and Carla was 19. They had a ton of mutual friends including some of the street guys and wise guys from that era that they all hung around with. Carla was dating one, Renee was dating one [and] they all hung out at the club where all the guys were. They really spent a lot of time growing up with each other and also within the world.
Karen was actually my friend, Karen and Ramona, we grew up together since we were like 15 years old. So, me, Karen, Ramona, and Ramona’s sister [Roxeanne] who you don’t see on the show, [were friends]. That was our crew. We were all born into this lifestyle. We were in it from the family perspective, but then the guys we were growing up with were sorta like mobsters in training. A lot of them wanted to be close to us and our friends because of who our fathers were and so we all formed this kind of clique, and that included Drita’s husband Lee and a few other guys, my boyfriend, Ramona’s boyfriend at the time. The guys were like their own clique.
When we were about 19 or 20, Karen had met Drita and Drita was actually dating this guy that we all kinda knew. So Karen and Drita used to double date. Karen was with Lee and Drita was with this other guy and Karen and Drita became really close, and then through her, Drita started hanging around with our little girl crew. We’d go to clubs, we hung out, and then Drita moved in with Karen. Karen moved to Brooklyn into her grandmother’s house, and Drita moved in with her there.
Then, Big Ang [was] actually my aunt’s Celia’s best friend. So Big Ang, we would see all the time at Aunt Celia’s: every Sunday dinner, pool parties that she would have, her daughter’s christening, her daughter’s communion. Throughout my entire life, anything to do with my aunt, Big Ang was there. Then she became close with my older sister Lana and she would start to come to our family parties. Her and my father were close too because Ang used to have bars and hang around with all the wise guys so she knew my father from the street life as well. Ang became like part of our family.
Love was one of Karen’s friends. Actually they were enemies at first, Love and Karen had a big fight on Bay Street, I remember when we were like 18 years old and Karen actually bit Love’s hand and paralyzed it for like two weeks. Love was a nail technician and couldn’t go to work because of Karen. After that, I don’t know, they became friends.
Renee grew up with Alicia ’s boyfriend. Renee was very close, almost best friends with Alicia’s boyfriend [and eventual husband] throughout the years. When I was actually trying to cast the Philly Mob Wives the first person I looked at was Alicia because of our connection to Edward, who was Renee’s friend. Natalie [Guercio] wasn’t as organic as the rest, but me and Renee met her through a family friend of ours. We were friendly but it wasn’t a lifelong connection like the rest of the women.
Who else was on?