This 6 part radio interview, on Cherryontopdotcom, with Renee took place on May 9 to May 11, and I found Renee to be playful, charming, engaging, funny, entertaining AND all with no cursing. The interviewer, Cherry, had known Renee before the show and they had a great rapport. It was relaxed and easy going and I really enjoyed it. There is maybe 40 to 45 minutes of viewing from the 6 parts, that you can watch at various times, that touch on different subjects in Renee’s life. Let’s get down to business!
Part 1: Renee brings Cherry a gift of earrings from “Rich Rocks,” a company that makes fake jewelry and Renee loves it. At this point we are only 3 episodes into the show. The subject of Jail Mail Inc comes up first. Renee explains that she has spent 25 years dealing with her loved ones being in jail. Her father has currently been in prison for 11.5 years and Junior is in and out, and due to go back. She plans to have Jail Mail Inc up and running by the end of the first season. Her website will send cards to inmates for you to loved ones, once you register. This is not about the money for Renee, in fact it’s very personal. She has written 8 to 10 thousand letters to inmates over the past 25 years. It’s all about supporting loved ones who look forward to their “mail call” and listen for their names. She knows first hand how important her own letters have been to her loved ones.
Part 2: AJ Pagan is the topic of this segment. When they went to Florida in April, AJ told Renee that she didn’t need sunglasses because she wouldn’t be recognized. No sooner they step off the elevator and take three steps they here “OMG, OMG! Are you AJ from Mob Wives?” The young girls recognize him and he is taken aback by it, but he is a very well grounded young man. He was never star struck as a child and Renee has always worked with famous people, but it has never affected him.
What was AJ’s reaction to Junior’s (Hector Pagan) Mob Bust. AJ seems very strong, but Renee always wants to know how he is feeling and keeps trying to get him to open up. AJ doesn’t react, he has to be strong, and he didn’t have a normal childhood. His father went away when he was four or five and he has known prison visits all his life. His father, Junior, has been in prison 6.5 years of his life. AJ credits Renee with teaching him how to be strong and she feels maybe she hasn’t given herself enough credit for being a good role model to him.
What are the misconceptions of prison life? Renee says that people should understand that everybody is a human being regardless of what they did. She doesn’t fault the government for doing their job and has no ill will towards prisoners, who were doing their jobs, maybe not the right jobs. But everyone is human, everyone has a heart. So stick together and support your loved ones.
Part 3: How did all the women meet? Renee credits her sister, Jenn Graziano, of JustJenn Productions, who is the Executive Producer and Creator of the show with it’s success and bringing together all the women. Renee has known Carla since she was 16 and met her when Carla was dating a friend of hers. Karen and Renee were friends since early childhood because of their fathers, but lost communication when Sammy turned informant and Renee was told never to speak to Karen again. Renee says she met Drita about 15 years ago. Karen and Drita are both long time best friends of Jenn and Renee is friends with Carla and that is how they all got together.
The Mob Bust was reported to be the largest in US History says Renee, and there ended up being 135 mobsters arrested. She describes Junior (Hector Pagan) as her ex-husband, her best friend, the person she likes fighting with the most, the one who protects her, the person she loved most. When the phone rang at 5am, she knew immediately what to do. She yells up to AJ to get dressed because they have to go to court. She refers to herself as pathetic because she continues to allow her ex-husband’s problems to become hers, but the reality is he is still her son’s father, and they are still there for each other. She claims she is not still in love with Junior, she loves him to death, but there is nothing romantic between them. But, they have never really severed all ties and moved on. Renee feels she needs to let go in order to have a healthy relationship with someone new.
Part 4: The popularity of the show! An estimated 2.2 people watched the show the first two weeks it aired. Why is that? Renee says the girl fight must be responsible and laughs. Cherry wants to know if it’s all “real.” Renee answers, the only thing fake about her is her nose. She gives 100%, there is no acting involved. So what does the future hold for Renee? Renee says she would love to “act.” because she has always been a drama queen. After the series ends she will go where God takes her. She is focused on Jail Mail Inc right now. She would also like to write a book. She is open to ideas. She is happy right now and the show is helping her find her identity.
How does her family feel about the show? Renee explains that her father, Anthony "T G" Graziano doesn’t speak to her now because of the show. After she made the decision to do the show he told her “you made your bed, sleep in it.” He told her he loves her and he would always love and protect her, but they could no longer talk to each other. He is not comfortable with her speaking so freely about her life. She respects that and her father. But, She says she needs to live her own life; her father lived his and he has her mother, they will be married 50 years, they’re good. This is about Renee, and not in a selfish way, Renee needs to know who she is. Her mother loves her.
What has she learned about herself from the show? Renee’s list is impressive, she learned: to stop whining, to depend on herself, not wait for a man to do things for her, she’s a better mother because she is giving AJ a better direction in life, she needs to diet because the cameras are abusing her by adding weight, she has learned to live and let live and not to take things so personally.
Part 5: How do the other women treat her? Renee replies that her sister, Jenn, treats them all the same, she does not get any kind of special treatment just because they are sisters. Jenn is a businesswoman and there is no playing around. In fact, she says that Jenn treats her much the same way AJ does, by telling her off when she needs it. The other women consider her to be emotional, overly sensitive and a drama queen. Renee says she didn’t choose to be a drama queen because she likes it---it’s due to the “life” and how she was raised. She said that Karen showing up at her door after the Mob Bust was “out of left field” and unexpected…just like when she showed up at Carla’s party.
How does Staten Island feel about Renee? What does she encounter at the supermarket, for example. She says she has been stopped everywhere she goes and so far, outside of two people, it’s been all positive. Renee doesn’t care if you love the show or hate it, as long as you watch it, she is good with it.
Does AJ have to deal with Renee “haters”? So far no, says Renee, but she prays it never happens because her son is off limits. She is not saying she is threatening, but he is an innocent child, he shouldn’t have to defend his mother. He lives his own life and if anyone decides to attack him in any way, they will be answering to her and his daddy too. There is no playing around when it comes to AJ.
Part 6: Does AJ have groupies? If he does, he hasn’t told Renee, but there are a lot of young girls following him and he gets recognized everywhere. Renee says he is so, so humble and she goes to him with everything she can. He is in public school now, but he was in a private school. Here’s a little story Renee enjoyed telling and I enjoyed hearing…for me, best part of the interview! AJ went to Catholic school and he hadn’t made his Confirmation yet. So the priest called him “pagan” instead of Pagan. AJ corrected him, and said it’s “Pagan.” The priest says it’s “pagan” until you make your Confirmation. (Uh oh!) Well, Renee paid the priest a little visit. She knocks on his door and yells, “No, it’s GRAZIANO! Got that!?! I’m not playing with my son.” She tells him not to call him “pagan” because AJ believes in God and that a foul thing to do. The priest said he hadn’t meant anything except that AJ hadn’t made Confirmation. She answered, not making Confirmation is one thing, but calling “pagan” in front of everybody at school? And then she removed him from the school (and converted me into her fan). She said nothing bothers AJ, but this bothered him. Renee tells the story better than I do, you must have a listen!
There are a few more little tidbits here are there, in the interview. Renee does a great job and I am so glad I finally had the time to watch it. This week I am on “Team Renee!”
Picture and video credit: Cherryontopdotcom, 105.1 Radio Station
Link to parts 2 - 6 Part 2 of 6 Renee and Cherry on youtube.com