‘Real’ search for personality

Big TV show isn’t about riches of women so much as their candor and their ‘amazing personalities,’ producer says.

April 01, 2009|By Brianna Bailey

When it comes to casting the hit reality television series “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” producers of the show say personality matters more than a bank account balance or bra size.

“What we’re looking for is an open personality,” said Housewives Executive Producer Kathleen French. “We’re looking for people who don’t hold back, people who talk openly and who will live their lives openly as if there isn’t a camera in their living room.”

“Real Housewives” producers will visit South Coast Plaza tonight for an open casting call, interviewing wannabe “Housewives” for the yet-to-be announced season five of the series.


The show follows the lives of a group of wealthy, often surgically enhanced women living in Orange County as they shop for designer clothing and jewelry, eat at upscale restaurants and gossip.

The casting call is a change of pace for how the show has been cast in past seasons, French said.

“Typically, we reach out to the other ‘housewives’ and see if they know anyone,” French said.

Season-four newcomer and Costa Mesa resident Gretchen Rossi was cast on the show after seasons one and two cast member Jo De La Rosa put in a good word for her with the show’s producers.

Although shopping trips for expensive designer duds, cars and yachts are an ongoing theme on the show, wealth isn’t a prerequisite for being on the show, French said.

Former cast member Lori Peterson was divorced and living in a small condo before marrying a wealthy real estate developer.

“She was not in same financial situation as the rest of the wives — it’s about personality,” French said. “I don’t know that we would cast someone from Torrance or La Mirada, but it’s not an economic decision.”

The housewives are already comfortable in the environs of Newport-Mesa.

In its first season, which debuted in 2006, most of the action on the show took place behind the gates of Coto de Caza in South Orange County, but the show has branched out to locals outside of the gated community.

“I think we had to expand beyond Coto de Caza because we felt it is really about this South Orange county area and other adjacent communities,” French said.

Last season, cast members shopped for dresses at South Coast Plaza and talked about their children over extravagant meals at Javier’s and Sage on the Coast in Newport Beach.

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