The season finale of VH1's Mob Wives aired last night, and, long story short, it was quite explosive. But we wouldn't expect anything less from the Staten Island foursome of Karen Gravano (infamous mobster Sammy "The Bull" Gravano's daughter), Drita D'Avanzo, Carla Facciolo, Renee Graziano (daughter of a Bonanno crime family consigliere). Over ten dramatic episodes, Mob Wives offered all-access passes into the other side of the Mafia world—think a quartet of Carmela Soprano's, only real.
Complex caught up with the ladies at the show’s wrap party at Pacha NYC this past Saturday night to get the scoop on the fights, what’s in store for next season, and those weird, yet pretty awesome, rumors about Drita and Celebrity Boxing.
Complex: How would you say things have changed for you since the show's premiere back in April?
Carla Facciolo: It’s changed me in the aspect of, like, being noticed on the streets. I used to walk down the street [and] no one screamed my name out. Now, it’s like, “Carla, oh my gosh!” They call me like they actually know me; I guess from watching the show they feel like they start to know you. So they call me and I think, “Oh, I must know that person,” I turn around and they’re like, “We love the show!” and I’m like, “Oh, thank you.” So that’s kind of weird. In Staten Island everyone pretty much knows each other, but now I go to the mall with my kids and people got me taking pictures with them in the store. So it’s different—nobody wanted to take a picture with me before!
Drita D’Avanzo: I would definitely say the recognition, like everyone recognizing me and so many fans. It’s all positive, it’s very nice, and [there are] a lot of business opportunities. Things that I wanted to do, now I’m capable of doing. I have a cosmetics line coming out. I’ve always been in the field of make-up [and] I’ve modeled, so all these things now I can do. And I’m also spending more time with my kids and getting paid for it. I’m very fortunate right now. I really always have worked, I never have not worked, and I had to stop working to be there for my daughter mentally, so I really came to the point where I still was working from home but it’s just not enough, so this came and really picked me up off my feet.
Renee Graziano: I got more fans! [Laughs.] No, things have changed in a positive fashion for me. I’m finally enjoying my life. From having so much flack when I was younger with the stigma of my lifestyle, I’m actually comfortable with who I am. It was very tough growing up, but I guess it was part of the territory. And now, at least, my life is falling into place. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger; I’ve got to be able to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders.
Karen Gravano: People don’t only just recognize my last name, they recognize my face. It’s really weird, especially coming from the lifestyle that we live, so to have people come up to you.... At first, you’re kind of standoff-ish, because I forget that I’m on TV. It takes a minute to kind of let my guard and down and realize that I’m on TV.
Has it been hard adjusting to having cameras around all of the time?
Karen Gravano: At first, to me, because I was so private with my lifestyle, especially about the topic of my father, in the beginning it was very hard for me, I was actually uncomfortable. And I think now, watching back, I can see myself on the episodes and tell that I was uncomfortable. I feel like the more it goes on, you get used to it, and I think that we kind of got the hard part out of the way. So hopefully in Season Two, we can move more into the girls, into our growth, into where I feel comfortable instead of drudging up old topics.
Have you heard anything from your friends and family about your involvement with the show?
Carla Facciolo: Honestly, my mother was cool with it.... [My parents were] like, “Listen, you’re a big girl, go on the show and do what you want.” I talk about my life, and only really my life, and I don’t really talk about anyone else’s. And they said, “If that’s what you want to do, then, you know, go for it.” Nobody was upset at me, thank God.
I like to cook and take care of a man. - Renee Graziano
Renee Graziano: My father and I still aren’t really talking, otherwise it’s really not discussed. Believe it or not, I’m sure my father is relieved I’m growing into my own skin. Not at the expense of the title of the show, but they love me, my parents. We’re not speaking, but they love me. It’s OK.
Drita D’Avanzo: My family, they support me, they just feel I’ve been through so much. They know I’m smart enough to make the right decision. I think it was a difficult decision when it came to my children, for me, because it was a lot to put out there. But I have to keep my eye on the prize.
Are your kids cool with the cameras?
Drita D’Avanzo: They do fouettés and pirouettes when the cameras are around—my kids are pumped! They’re scene-stealers, if you watch the show. My little one, if she’s in the room, no one wants to watch me anymore. She’s the best. And my older one is an old soul; she’s a very intelligent girl. I do have a lot of talks with her. My daughter doesn’t watch the show. Never. My oldest daughter, never. Everyone in her class, everyone in the school watches it, and I do not allow her to watch it. When she’s on, I do my own editing on the computer and I watch her version, that version. I told her when she’s older, I can explain more.
How do you respond to all of the criticism surrounding the show's subject matter and how it could promote stereotypes?
Karen Gravano: For me, I’ve always had criticisms, so it’s something that I’m used to. I just feel like I’m very confident in what I’m doing and who I am. I think I’m by far not the best person in the world, I’m gonna make mistakes, but I am who I am and I’m just going to keep pushing forward. I don’t mean to offend anyone, but I’m doing me.
And how are things between you all now?
Carla Facciolo: We’ve all had little tiffs.... We’re all cool. Me and Drita are very close. Me and Renee are cool—we talk. Me and Karen talk. I don’t really have a problem with anybody. Even though we had our little arguments, we got over it, so we’re good.
Renee Graziano: Everything is everything! I’ll deal with it as it comes. Some days I like them, and other days I absolutely can’t stand them.
In the finale, there was a huge fight between Drita and Karen....
Drita D’Avanzo: Yeah. It’s unfortunate that happened—I’m not happy it happened. I’m not young where I’m like, “Oh, I got in a fight!” I’m not immature. So, I’m at the point where I’m sorry that I allowed the aggravation and someone to get in my head. I want to be better than that. Physical violence isn’t going to solve anything, and I think it’ll make it worse, so I’m mad at myself that I allowed that. That’s me, that’s my temper, but I want to change that about me and I’m not happy it happened. Karen and I don’t really talk right now; as for Renee, I’m cool with her, and Carla’s my girl, so.
Karen Gravano: Renee and I are friends, we’re close. I don’t really have issues with any of the girls on the show, I’m just ready to move past it, you know what I mean? I’m not friends with Drita, we haven’t talked, we haven’t done anything, but my focus isn’t on her—it’s on me.
Renee, last week's episode showed the end of your marriage to Junior....
Renee Graziano: [Junior’s] here! But I have a date! We’re friends. He’s really nice, but I’m very new to the dating scene, so we’ll see what happens. I’ve been single for a really long time. I’m a homebody; it’s very, very hard, I’ve been single for a very long time, so it’s enjoyable but I like a family. I like to cook and take care of a man.
You guys just got picked up for a second season. What can we expect?
Carla Facciolo: You know what, I don’t even know what to expect yet, but I am excited about it. It’s weird because when we ended off, that [fight] happened with Drita and Karen, and I just want everything to try and like get back to normal in Season Two so everybody can just hang out and be happy again and be friends and have a good time! I don’t know what they actually expect from us, but we’ll find out soon, I guess. They don’t really tell us anything yet.
Drita D’Avanzo: Yeah, that’s exciting! For me, you can expect a huge life change, an event. It’s going to be shocking, probably.
Karen Gravano: For me, I’d like to see a lot more growth in the women. I’m a very business-oriented person, and I feel like you never really get to see that side of me. Even after everything had happened with my father and everything, I’ve owned my own businesses, ran my businesses, closed them down, lost them, rebuilt them, so for me I think I’d like to work more on the business side. And with the book, I would like to get involved with a charity to kind of work with inner-city kids or any kind of kids that kind of have any thoughts that crime is the right way, and guide them and say you can have a better life and everything you do has a consequence; at the end of the day, it’s not worth it for the families. So, for me, I’d like to work with some charities.
Renee Graziano: With me, you never know. It unfolds as it happens, so you get a hundred-percent reality from Renee.
How are you with the editing process, are you happy with the way that the show has portrayed you?
Renee Graziano: At first, I was a little uptight because people weren’t seeing the side of me... I’m very funny. I’m very, very loving. I came off extremely hard and, I think, cold. But as the show has unraveled, you get to see who I really am and I love it. I think VH1 and my sister [Jennifer Graziano, the show’s creator and executive producer] did an amazing job. I’m very pleased with everyone and I’m looking forward to Season Two.
When do you guys start filming?
Carla Facciolo: They didn’t give us an exact date, but they think they want to start towards the end of July, because I guess they want to get some good summer months in, because [last season] we filmed in the dead ass winter.
How would you describe your experience filming the show?
Drita D’Avanzo: Stressful. It’s very stressful. It’s difficult, because I always put my kids first and think about what they would think, so. I’m always like, “Oh, I hope my daughter doesn’t hear this and get upset.” It’s just hard; it’s very stressful for me. I’m very private. I worked in [Saks Fifth Avenue] for seven years and no one ever knew anything about me. They probably, honestly, would be shocked. I mean, seven years in the same place, 55 hours a week with 55 women, and you never tell anyone that your husband was in jail or that you’re a single mom—they’re gonna be shocked. I never used profanity!
Renee Graziano: Therapeutic—really great therapy. I got to learn a lot about myself. Some things I absolutely love, some things I don’t like. There’s things I hate. But for the most part, I like me, and I’m good with that.
Karen, what’s the status of your book, Shadow Of The Bull?
I worked in [Saks Fifth Avenue] for seven years, and you never tell anyone that your husband was in jail. - Drita D'Avanzo
I feel like my whole life, I’ve always lived under this shadow because of who my father is, and not that that’s a problem, because I love my father, but I feel like people’s first perception of me is always, “Oh, that’s Sammy the Bull’s daughter,” instead of, “Oh, this is Karen.” So, for me, that has always been a big thing, and I’m coming out of the shadow. Not by any means am I saying that I don’t love my father, but you want to have your own identity, you don’t always want to be your mother’s child or your father’s child.
Drita, what's this we hear about celebrity boxing with [The Real Housewives Of New Jersey’s] Teresa Giudice?
Drita D’Avanzo: Untrue. I wouldn’t do that. There are rumors, but I wouldn’t do that. I’m trying to get away from the fighting in my life—this is something I grew up doing. I have a lot of pride, and I think that hurts me.
Is there any truth to the rumor that we might be seeing a Vegas edition of Mob Wives, or one in Miami?
Renee Graziano: You never know with us!
Karen Gravano: I heard that, as well. I think it’s great. I would love to sit down and watch Mob Wives! And not have to be angry while I’m watching it! It’d be good to watch other people.