Archives For Mob Wives

I walked out of my apartment on the Upper West Side to a SUV that had driven from Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. Melissa, who works for the casino’s PR department and Angela “Big Ang” Raiola traveled from Uncasville to pick me up. We were headed to Resorts Casino in Atlantic City, a property that Mohegan manages. The casino booked the “Mob Wives” star for a series of “Reality Check” events, and I was tapped to host the question-and-answer sessions in Atlantic City as well as Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes Barre.

When I hopped in to the car, I immediately noticed one person missing: Ang. She had walked across the street to my bodega for a pack of cigarettes. On the way back, a few fans stopped her for photos, and she happily obliged.

“So you live around here?” she asked me once we hit the road. I mentioned that I had been at my apartment for at the time, a little over a year. “Nice neighborhood. A lot of good brunch spots.”

There are many things I’ll never forget about that weekend; hearing Ang, in that trademark Staten Island drawl of hers, offer up Yelp-like reviews of the brunch options on the Upper West Side is certainly one of them.

Another was during the trip down I-95 to AC when we diverted to a rest stop for food. I wasn’t too hungry so I just grabbed a coffee; Ang wanted to hit up Auntie Anne’s. We finished our purchases and head back in to the car. Ang bought pretzel dippers with sauce. And if you know me and my eating habits, you know they usually don’t involve pretzel dippers, with or without the sauce.

“Honey you want one?” asked Ang. I politely declined. I could tell that she was a little annoyed but we continued making small talk.

She asked two more times before finally offering up a look that is all-too-familiar to fans of her show.

“No, really. Have one.”

Before I could respond the pretzels were right in front of my face.

If you’re like me and you grew up in an Italian-American household, you’re probably having flashbacks and rightfully so. Ang was a tough but loving mother from Staten Island; not one to mince words and always making sure those around her were taken care of.
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And like any good Italian mother, if she offered food, you’d better accept.

Despite our pit stop, we arrived in Atlantic City with time to spare, so we headed over to the outlets that are a stone’s throw from the boardwalk. Yes, I went shopping with Ang. She was looking for clothes to buy her grandkids (always taking care of others); I was just happy to spot H&M.

Being out in public with Ang was an experience in itself. It didn’t matter whether it was a bar, nightclub, store or open-air shopping center: the woman always became the center of attention regardless if she was seeking it or not. Not only did everyone know who Ang was, but everyone felt like they knew Ang. She was as authentic as they come, especially for reality TV, and that’s what endeared her to so many fans.

“Ooh look at you! You made out!” she exclaimed when she saw the amount of clothes that I purchased. Of course, Ang had accumulated a few bags herself.

The event in Atlantic City went well and the next day we took off for Wilkes Barre. Another part of the weekend that’s unforgettable: Ang was always on time. She enjoyed herself, but she knew that we were there to work too.

The trip from AC to Northeastern Pennsylvania was a long one. Traffic on a side road the driver took was brutal, and by that point in the weekend, Ang had grown a bit tired. We made it to Mohegan Sun Pocono just in time for the appearance and of course, it was the best of the weekend. Ang was in great spirits on stage, trading barbs with me and the crowd while sipping on an alcoholic beverage; it was Cinco de Mayo after all.

“I’m not here for a long time; I’m here for a good time,” she said during our chat at MS Pocono, one of the last quotes she offered up before we wrapped.

I surely won’t forget that either. She truly was one-of-a-kind and someone who lived life on her terms. Ang – thanks for the memories, and the pretzel dippers.

Angela “Big Ang” Raiola called in to “The Ralphie Show” from Staten Island. The VH1 “Mob Wives” star talked about the drama on the show as well as her spin-off – “The Big Ang Show.” Of course, the interview with Ang was anything but ordinary – and you’d expect nothing less.

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“Big Ang” will be appearing at Resorts Casino in Atlantic City Saturday night and Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on Sunday – both events hosted by yours truly.

I checked in to WBRE’s “PA Live!” from my suite on The Strip in Las Vegas for this week’s “The Ralphie Report.” Chatting via Skype, we discussed stories involving “Mob Wives” star Drtia D’Avanzo and former “American Idol” contestant Jermaine Jones, plus my plans while in Sin City.

The fans of VH1’s “Mob Wives” take to Twitter every Sunday when a new episode airs. Many tweet not that they love Drita D’Avanzo, but that they f***ing love her. And when I brought this up to her during a recent interview on “The Ralphie Radio Show,” it’s safe to say she f***ing loves it.

“There’s an extra ‘oomph’ to it,” a laughing D’Avanzo said. The TV star sat down for a chat before meeting some of those loyal fans inside Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes Barre, PA. “Just loving someone is kind of weak.”

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All kidding aside, the soon-to-be ex-wife of the incarcerated Lee D’Avanzo feels that people connect with her because on some level, they can relate.

“Everybody has that side of them,” she said, referring to the no-nonsense, in-your-face persona people witness on the show. “I just keep it real, and I’m myself, and they feel comfortable being their self.”

But D’Avanzo revealed that her closest friends, including one that has known her for over 30 years, see the TV star in a much different light.

“She always tells everyone, ‘I never had an argument with her. She’s the easiest person to get along with,’” D’Avanzo said. “What you do see on the show is me, because I could never not be me. But, there is editing.”

Despite the personal wishes of cast members or the “influence” that family members may have in other areas, the final cut of “Mob Wives” is at the discretion of VH1.

“I would be like, ‘Hello? Take the fight out!’” D’Avanzo said if she had a say in what footage aired on TV. “[The network] is going to get the moments that capture entertainment.”

Of course if you watch the show, you know that “entertainment” primarily refers to conflict and controversy. While that might not paint the most flattering picture of some cast members, it has given way to a number of new opportunities for the single mother.

“That’s exactly why I chose to do [the show], because I want to focus on taking care of my kids,” she stated. “I’m moving forward.”

D’Avanzo is moving to a plethora of projects, including a cameo in a French Montana music video, a modeling gig with a swimwear label, her own cosmetic line, and a new fitness video. Meanwhile, “Mob Wives” is two seasons strong and will debut a new city, ala “Real Housewives” this spring with “Mob Wives Chicago.”

And to think, initially, the men and the women in these families weren’t looking for any extra public exposure.

“When [VH1] came forward, it wasn’t like, ‘Yes! We’re going on TV. Yes! It’s a reality show,’” D’Avanzo admitted. “But, at the same time, all of our men are already in books. There’s really nothing about them that you can’t Google.”

In this age of the Internet and social media, D’Avanzo makes a valid point. Still, you’d have to think that if the men in the family wanted anyone to “Google” anything, it’d be the word “Omertà.”