By Brett Edward Stout
Originally published on Advocate.com July 24 2012 5:00 AM ET
At the annual Out magazine Pride Party, a flurry of flashes went off as Renee Graziano from VH1's Mob Wives dropped in to show love for her favorite people — the gays. The Advocate caught up with Graziano while lounging on her couch on a day she took to herself to “relax.” But even during the interview, Graziano’s life buzzed onward around her with the whirlwind of family drama and shouting we’ve come to love from the show. Graziano talks about always being herself, her disagreement with the Pope, and her crush on Ellen DeGeneres — who she says could teach the men in her life a few things.
The Advocate: Season 3 of Mob Wives starts filming in July. Are you excited?
Renee Graziano: Very soon. Very excited. Not so excited to deal with the bullshit, but it comes with the world of “reality.”
How different is your life during filming?
My reality is so real. I don’t change when the cameras are on or off. For me, it is what it is. I say, “Renee is reality.”
Do people think they “know you” from watching you on the show?
Yes! Sometimes people are a bit too much when they approach me. People know that I don’t care for my son’s father, that’s not a secret, but when someone else starts getting derogatory and personal and it has to do with my son, then I get defensive. I can’t say I blame them cause I allow them into my life. But some people don’t have any couth.
You have a thing for gay men, don’t you?
I absolutely love gay men! I wish I could get a gay man to date me. It would be perfect. Well-dressed, in shape, and I wouldn’t have to worry about him cheating on me with another woman. What’s not to love?
What is it you love about men?
Straight men give you nothing but heartache. Seriously though, why do I love men? They protect you, they provide, not just financially but stability in the home, and just a strong man to love you, put his arm around and tell you everything is gonna be OK even if he’s lying.
You’ve come out of your own closet; you’ve come out of the “plastic surgery closet.” Was that difficult for you?
I feel like a gay man must feel when he comes out. It’s wonderful. What am I hiding it for? Cause I’m embarrassed that I’m not perfect? If there are things that can be fixed and it will make your life better, do it! Go to the gym first, but if it makes you happy, do it. I’ve started working with Dr. Fiorillo since my surgery went wrong one year ago today. That reminds me, I need to send him flowers!
For those who aren’t familiar, what happened a year ago?
I had a tummy tuck and he told me he was going to fix my rear which he never did because I almost dropped dead on the operating table. Dr. Fiorillo has repaired all the damage done by the last doctor.
You’ve also talked about suffering from depression. Do you still feel depressed?
I look in the mirror every day and I’m so happy to be me. I never thought I’d be able to say that. I know exactly when it was that it changed. It was the day after Dr. Fiorillo made me whole. He made my heart feel better. I don’t take any medication anymore at all. I’m officially off everything. I’m in recovery from Xanex and I avoid it completely now. I used to have problems sleeping.
As a Catholic girl, how do you feel about the Pope who doesn’t seem to share your love of the gays.
I don’t think that’s God’s view. I think that’s the Pope’s view. I don’t have any views on anything other than if you’re happy and that’s how God made you, then that’s what God wants. If he’s not here to personally tell you yourself, don’t believe it cause someone says it. I know I’m supposed to believe certain things because I’m a Catholic girl, but he also says I’m not supposed to have sex before I’m married. Yeah right! There are so many things more important about who you are than being gay or being a “wise guy’s” daughter. Just be happy. That’s all God wants.
Do you have a main gay?
The only gay man in my life is Adam Gonzales, he’s our producer. I love him. Just kidding, actually I have lots of gay friends, they’re closer to me than my girlfriends, what am I saying? They aremy girlfriends.
Do you have a gay crush?
Ellen! I have the biggest crush in the world on Ellen. She’s so confident; she’d be the perfect, perfect man. If she could teach men how to be men, we’d all be happy in heaven.
Watching the show, you’re especially fond of bold prints and bright colors. When were you bitten by the “fashion bug?”
Color is everything! I’ve been doing fashion the way I’m doing it now forever. I remember once when I was 16, I was wearing ostrich feathers, the most beautiful purple, and I had these shoes with butterflies up the leg. I’ve always dressed this way. The other girls have their own style, some extremely need help. One girl on the show thinks she’s the cat’s meow, but she’s more like a can of paint. That’s Carla. That’s not me talking behind her back, there’s nothing I wouldn’t say to any of the girls right to their faces.
You have your own accessories line too. Where did Mob Candy come from?
Mob Candy is the treat without gaining any weight. It’s makeup, it’s jewelry, it’s very glittery shoes. Mob Candy came about when everything else in my life had fallen apart. I was sitting around depressed eating candy and getting fat. I had a bag of M&Ms in my hand, and I thought about all the bright colors and thought of a way I could turn things around. I thought, I can take this idea and make it work. Right now we’re just in Brooklyn [198 Flatbush Ave], but we’ll also be online shortly.
If you could have your way, how would men dress?
Sharp at all times, even if he’s in sweats and a T-Shirt. For men it’s easy; just be really clean. Jeans, put on a button up shirt and Air Force One sneakers or a pair of Prada sneakers and keep it simple. As complex as everyone thinks I am, I’m a simple girl. I like dark suits and dark men.
(RELATED: See photos from Out's Pride Party)
Correction: Dr. Fiorillo's name was spelled incorrectly.