I think I speak for most people when I say that Siggy Flicker has been a breath of fresh air for the RHONJ franchise. We had to sit through a very rough 6th season with Rino, The Twins, the highly anticipated return of Dina Manzo that fell flat as a pancake, and not to mention Jim MarCrazy. I think a lot of us were irritated to have the 7th season was put on hold just so that Bravo could profit from Teresa’s bad behavior (or at least, I was irritated), and I still think there’s a lot that could be done to return this show to its former glory. I will give Bravo credit though, for their decision to cast Siggy Flicker this season. Since I started blogging the show, I’ve upped my intake of housewives related media (podcasts, other blogs, twitter fan responses, etc) and the one comment I hear over and over again is “Jersey is a snooze, but we LOVE SIGGY”. I feel the same way. Siggy has been exceptionally kind to us at 10ThoughtsBlog from the get and has made herself extremely accessible to fans over social media. We felt like we had to reach out to her to ask for an interview and when I finally got up the gumption, she was quickly responsive and so open to speaking with us that even if she’d been a terror to talk to, I still would have been grateful. Fortunately, she was a dream. Without further ado, please enjoy my not particularly hard-hitting, but delight conversation with the incomparable Siggy Flicker:
*The text below was taken from a transcribed phone call and reformatted into more of an interview style. My questions/comments are in bold and Siggy’s responses are in regular type for easier reading.
Siggy! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us. This is a real thrill. You’ve been undoubtedly the breakout star of this season, so I know you must be pulled in a million directions, but I can’t tell you how much it means to the blog for you to gab with me for a little bit this morning.
Thank you. I think you guys do a great job with your blogs.
Thanks! We try to be snarky but fair.
Yeah. Really, you have to be snarky, but you are fair. Other people are just snarky and they have no idea what they’re … Some of the other stuff that’s put out there is ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous.
I think a lot of times people would rather get a laugh, regardless of the cruelty involved. I think we try not to do that.
Yeah, I understand laughs but not like … Oh, my god. It’s so ridiculous, some of the things that are said. I’m glad that you have a conscience and a good heart.
Well, we appreciate that. To pass it back, I think it’s safe to say that your own “good conscience and heart” are what the audience likes so much about you. It reads through on the screen.
Well, thank god. It was the hardest thing that I’ve ever done in my life.
Really? What makes you say that?
People think how easy it is, but it’s long days and cameras are always around. To put all that out there, knowing that you might cringe later. But you can’t take it back. It’s on film.
I think people forget that if their entire lives were filmed for even a full day, there would most likely be some embarrassing things in the mix. So how did you get involved with the show?
Well I used to have my own show on VH1. It was called Why Are You Still Single? Over the years, thank god for Wendy Williams and Hoda and Kathy Lee, Peyton Fox. They just kept asking me back. I was invited to events, all these galas… They invited people who are TV personalities. At a few galas, I always used to be sat at the table with Jersey. At the Dr. Oz gala, I sat with Jacqueline and Chris and Melissa and Joe Gorga and Richie and Kathy. That’s how the whole relationship began. We kept on seeing each other at events and then I would have parties at my house. I would invite them. They would come. I would go with them to parties. We’d meet for lunch. It just blossomed into something of a real friendship. Then Jacqueline said, “Siggy, why don’t you do Housewives?” I’m like, “No, my husband would never let me do that show.” She goes, “Siggy, please.” I’m like, “No, but I’ll help you cast.” Then I started trying to help cast the show and no one wanted to be on the show.
I was pissed. I was like, “You know what?” I don’t know why in my life, but I always go for the underdog and I think that Jersey has been portrayed in a dark light from a lot of obvious serious issues that have happened on the show. I said, “I want to bring some pride and love and laughter back to Jersey.” I kept on saying that. My husband said, “They’re not looking for that.” I said, “Well maybe I could change that.” He goes, “You’re out of your mind.” I said, “I can only be who I am.”
It feels like there’s higher stakes on Jersey because it’s beyond the usual housewives frienemy drama. These are real families.
Right. Exactly. I did the show. I agreed to do the show, and I’m so proud of the way it’s going. Yes, the drama has started and more is coming. Yes, it’s intense, but I’ve got to tell you something. These girls are amazing. I love them. With everybody, you’re going to get something different, but family is first. It’s first with Teresa and Joe. It’s first with Jacqueline and Chris. It’s first with Kathy and Richie. It’s first with Dolores. It’s first with Melissa and Joe. These women love their husbands and they love their children. Family is everything to them.
With the exception of the Richard sisters on Beverly Hills, most of the other major Housewives franchises aren’t made up of family members. Jersey has always been really different in that regard with the Laurita’s and the Manzo’s in the first two seasons; and then the Gorgas, and eventually the Wakile’s came in as Teresa’s family. To me, this has always the audience feel more invested in the cast’s fights and eventual makeups because of that deeper connection. People want root for a family to succeed. Do you think the women on the show feel that? Are they aware of how invested their audience feels in their fights and reconciliations? And do you think that helps or even maybe hurts to repair relationships?
I think that they’re aware of it, yes. I think that they’re very aware of it and they’re very grateful for it, but it makes it that much harder for all of us. Because if you want to comment about me, okay, I can fight my own battles.
Sometimes we take a lot of heat for just the way we raise our kids. I’m an overbearing Jewish mother. I can’t help it. These kids came out of my body. I’m obsessed with them. I want to touch them. I want to hug them. I want to squeeze them. I love them. I want to know what they’re doing. I’m snoopy. Whatever it is. Sometimes other people might say, “Hey, hey, hey. Look at this overwhelming person.” But it’s like, what are you going to do? This is who I am. I’m putting it out there. Sometimes it hurts when people criticize that.
While you’ve already become a beloved cast member on the show, and are certainly entertaining, I think it’s fair to say that you are one of the least controversial housewives possibly in franchise history, but there has been some criticism from blogs and fans about how you handle phone privileges with your kids. How has it been to get that kind of feedback from the audience?
What they’re not showing on the show is Sophie has ADHD. She’s like me and they’re not showing that on the show. Both of us have ADHD. When a child is on the phone all the time and their grades are staying A’s and B’s, it’s not a problem. But Sophie’s grades were suffering last year. I didn’t know what to do. Every time you look at her, she’s on her phone, Insta, Snapchatting. At some point, I had to go to her teachers and say, “What’s going on?” and they said, “she’s not focused. She’s not concentrating. She’s getting detention for sneaking her phone into her locker or into the bathroom”. At that point, I said to myself, I love her but sometimes to love your child is to say, ‘No, I have to take the phone away. I have to have her tested.’ She indeed tested as having ADHD. There’s certain things that Sophie can’t do that other children can do. She can’t focus on 5 things at once, so I have to say, “During the week, you don’t get your phone. When your homework is done, then we’ll think about giving it back to you for an hour.” Her grades went from C’s to A’s and B’s again when I did that.
I think that these humbling moments you’ve had with your kids, particularly with your son, Josh, the conversation at that diner was really interesting to watch. I think it was particularly endearing for fans of the show who are mothers with teenagers. I’m sure that wasn’t easy to do on camera.
No, that killed me. That killed me because what a lot of people don’t understand about blended families is that when my kids go to Mark’s house, and Mark is a great dad, but he doesn’t see them except for every other weekend. So for the kids, it’s like, “Okay, we’re going to go to Central Park today and we’re going to go out to the Pancake House and you’re going to get waffles and syrup.” And it’s fun. Then when they’re with me, it’s like, “Okay. Sophie, you’ve got volleyball tomorrow. Do you have your uniform ready? Do you have your lunch packed? Okay. Is your homework done? Okay. Who’s driving today? Who’s picking up?” They don’t understand that I’m running a household here. So when Josh was like, “Well we don’t feel the need to be on our phones when we’re in front of dad,” it was like he took a dagger and put it in my heart. On the same hand though, you know what? Do I need to meet them halfway? Yes.
I want to talk about the dinner scene with your ex-husband, his wife, their young son and Josh.
Sure. Mark shows up with Thuy who is the cat’s meow. She’s the classiest woman. She doesn’t love the sound of her own voice. She’s not loud. She’s not over the top. She’s perfection. She’s sitting at the dinner table with Liam, who is a year old, and watching that dynamic between them only brought back memories of me and Joshua. Memories of back when he needed me. He’s like, “Mom, I don’t feel good. Mom, can I lay with you?” All those moments and I’m hysterically crying at the table before we walk outside and we hand him his car.
It’s me knowing that that car outside, that’s it. Joshua is on his own. Joshua was going to go to the dentist. I said, “Okay, when are we going?” He’s like, “Mom, I made the appointment. I’m going myself.” And now I have to turn away. I have to just walk away. So then I cry a little bit. Or when he started school; every year, I take the kids to Staples and we go up and down the aisles with their school lists. This year, he went with his friends. Now, what I have to do is not show him how hurt I am because I don’t want to put guilt on him. I just want him to enjoy his life. I love my kids so much. It’s the most important job.
The love you have for you kids absolutely reads on screen. And I think it reads with all the women in Jersey, because the show is so family-focused. Your parents have been a really lovely addition to the show, as well. What did they think of you getting involved in a show that, like you mentioned earlier, has sometimes gone through some really dark periods and shown some pretty volatile familial relationships?
Well, my parents don’t really know the volatile side of Jersey Housewives, so that’s good. They were very, very excited about it because they know that I have such a gift and a message. All I want to do is inspire people and help people. For them, they saw it as the best platform. With a book out, and everything else, it was just the platform that I needed to take it over the top. That’s why I did this. I didn’t do it for the money. I didn’t do it for the fame. I could stop tomorrow and go and live happily ever after with my husband.
I have a beautiful life. For me, I’m always about that underdog out there who says, “You know what? I don’t have a Siggy in my life. Right now, this guy is not introducing me to his family.” I have to say, “Listen, if he loves you, he’d introduce you to his family because he’d be proud. You need to stop wasting time because you have a biological clock and you want to have kids. Take the L out of lover and tell him it’s over.” For me to be able to do that on this level and sell my book and people listen to my podcast, it’s everything in the world to me.
How did you become a relationship expert or matchmaker/life coach? How does one go into that line of work?
It happened in high school. First of all, to be a matchmaker and a life coach, you don’t have to go to any school. You just have to be born with intuitive feelings and a gift. You have to be trained by the right person. That right person is my mother. When I was living in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, I was probably one of the ugliest girls growing up.
My mother always said, “Sigalit, you special. You beautiful.” I believed it. I had that attitude where I am special and I can have anybody. In 9th grade, I was dating a senior. His name was Scott and he took me to senior prom. Everybody was like, “Wait, I don’t even understand. How is this girl who’s not even that attractive … Yes, she’s full of life and has a great positive attitude about her, but how is she going to the senior prom?” People used to come over to me and I used to just reiterate what my mom taught me. If a man doesn’t call you on Wednesday to see you on Saturday, then he can’t just think that you have nothing to do. He’s got to be respectful enough to give you leeway.
If a man doesn’t love you more than you love him, there’s something wrong. He’s got to chase you. Men are hunters by nature. You can’t make it easy on them, especially not in the first 6 months. I just started following this advice and sealing the deal every time. I said, “Wow, I’ve got to share all that my mom taught me and all my experiences of even getting married and thinking, ‘Hey, I’m never going to get divorced.'” Who walks down the aisle and thinks you’re going to get divorced? Not me. Then when my marriage fell apart, I was faced with two choices. Do I make this bitter or do I take the high road? Choosing the high road was everything for me.
People said, “Oh, hire the best attorney.” I said, “No, no, no, no. It’s not about the money. It’s about Sophie and Joshua and their health and their happiness and the way that they’re going to live out their lives, going back and forth between Mark and I.”
It’s all about choices in life. It’s always about making the right choices in life and I like to share that gift and help out as many people as I can.
What would you say is your best advice for people who are trying to stay friends with their exes, especially if they have kids involved?
I’d say let go of ego. Sometimes you have to bite your tongue. There are plenty of times when I want to scream at Mark and I want to say things to him. They might not be the nicest things in the world, but I say, “Okay, Siggy. It’s okay. Take a deep breath. It’s about Sophie and Joshua.” You have to bite your tongue because the situation is not going to go exactly your way. You have to really say, “Okay, for the sake of Sophie and Joshua, what would be best for them? That’s what I’m going to do.”
From a relationship expert standpoint, let’s look at Melissa and Theresa’s relationship. I feel like they’ve come so far and I think that’s something that the audience has really rooted for, for a long time. Do you think being on the show together helps that? Would they be in the place they’re at now if they had never gone on the show together?
I think in the beginning it hurt their relationship but I think now, after Theresa has gone through what she’s gone through, I think it helped their relationship because now you realize what’s really important. Not the show. Nothing but family because at the end of the day, Theresa’s relationship with Melissa is the real deal. At the end of the day, they are there for each other now, especially Joe being away. She needs her brother, she needs her sister-in-law and she needs her family.
How do you think being on these types of shows affects a person’s personal relationships?
I think being on a reality TV show affects any relationship that doesn’t have a stable beginning. For example, Michael and I can be on 20,000 shows. We’re not getting divorced. Michael comes first. I come first. If you’re going on a show and that relationship is rocky, that show will bring out the ugliness in your relationship. If you’re going on a show and your relationship is solid, you’ve got nothing to worry about. It reads with every single relationship. In Jersey, it all started with Theresa’s family also being on the show. That’s when it got a little bit hairy for a while. I also just want to say that the relationship with Joey and Melissa is always solid. The relationship with Theresa and Joe is solid. The relationship between Kathy and Richie is solid. You’ve got really strong foundations with these marriages.
With the exception of Dina Manzo whose husband we never saw, RHONJ is the only show to seemingly avoid the Housewives Divorce Curse. I may be forgetting someone, but I think all of the marriages that have been featured on this particular version of the show are still solid and I think that’s another part of what makes Jersey unique and very family-focused.
But not all of the relationships featured on the show are familial. Theresa and Jacqueline are just friends, or at least they were- as we’ve seen the show unfold that relationship seems to be all but gone. Again, as a relationship expert, do you have any advice for Theresa and Jacqueline to possibly work it out?
Yes. I told them it’s very, very simple. Teresa and Jacqueline have a 13-year friendship. There’s a lot of love there and there’s a lot of anger there. Where there’s anger, there’s love. Where there’s hate, there’s love. It’s very, very complex. Let me just tell you something. These 2 women have such a passion for one another. When it’s good, it’s amazing. When it’s bad, you want to crawl under a couch and you want to cry.
My advice to them is as long as you don’t bring up the past, you guys can move forward. Listen, we can’t bring up the past. You have to leave the past where it is in any relationship in order to move forward. Every time these 2 have gotten in a fight, it’s because the past has been brought up.
On a lighter note, let’s talk about your first scene on the show because it was a pretty memorable first impression for the audience. Was there a miscommunication on the timing of filming when you were getting a face lift or…?
Nope. I knew it but I didn’t care. To me it was like, “Listen, I have this appointment.” I wanted to have it done and I don’t care about putting anything out there. I’ve always been an open book. I don’t hide anything. I don’t lie. I tell the truth. It’s the way I’ve been since a very young age. It’s who I am. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with a 49-year-old, one year shy of 50, getting my face done.
People want to inject their skin with Botox and Juvederm and Restylane and then it’s heavy and then you get jowls. I wanted to do one procedure. I don’t have to have Restylane or Juvederm or Botox anymore. I did it. I owned it.
People are already calling it the best first scene of a new housewife.
I’ve mentioned this to you on twitter before, but considering your background with healing relationships and conflict resolution, do you ever wonder what Bravo was thinking when they said yes to you being on the show that basically thrives on conflict?
Bravo has been really, really good to me. For me, Bravo is like winning the lottery ticket. It’s the number one network to be on, in my opinion. It’s the only network for Siggy Flicker that makes sense. I am so proud to be on this network. I feel like Bravo has been nothing but good to me and for me. That’s how I feel. Now why they picked me to be on the show when there were other candidates, I have no idea. When we started this filming process, they didn’t say anything. Then it goes to corporate and they watched the edit. Then they decide who’s going to be a housewife.
All I did was I had to be myself. That’s it. They like me? Great. They don’t like me? Oh well, I tried my best. I’m very grateful for the opportunity because the platform is enormous. It’s enormous and I’m reaching people that I couldn’t have reached before. To me, it’s like thank you to Bravo.
I don’t know how to phrase this without sounding weird, but do you think there’s a place on these shows for people like you, who put such a priority on healing relationships over manufacturing drama? Or in other words, not to sound pejorative, is there a place for grace and maturity in the Housewives franchise?
Listen, if I was Martha Stewart or Little House on the Prairie, I don’t think I would be a good fit for Bravo. Bravo loves strong opinionated women. What they loved the most about me, I’m guessing, it’s that I can give such great relationship advice but I’m also open enough to say, “Hey, I’m a human being, too. Look at me. I’m struggling with my relationship with my kids and my parents.” There’s something wonderful about, “Hey, I love to help other people but yet I’m a human being and I’m also struggling because anybody who says that they have a perfect life is full of shit.”
No one has a perfect life. I think Bravo looks for very strong, loud, opinionated women. I think that I fit the face of Bravo. I fit right in. If I was all about, “Oh, hi. I’m Siggy and everything is great. My children love me. My husband loves me. My parents have no issues with me,” they would be like, “Okay, she’s out.” Because I’m so open and real, I’m open from plastic surgery to raising my kids to my hysterectomy, I think that they find it not only funny, but they find it like, “Wow, this girl is open and honest.” I think that that’s why they picked me. I would have to think so. Yeah.
You’re putting the “Real” in Real Housewives.
I truly do believe that. We’ll see what happens at reunion, but it’s always coming from a good place. I’m not a jealous person. I want everybody to have what I have. I love for everybody to get along. That’s how it would be in a perfect world. This is not a perfect world. You know what? Sometimes my opinions hurt people. Sometimes people don’t like what I have to say. You can’t win them all.
It seems that despite your best efforts, conflict among the women is just ramping up. I’m guessing that for someone like yourself, who ultimately wants everyone just to get along, that when they don’t it hurts your heart. Are we in for an explosive rest of the season?
Oh, you’re in for the most explosive roller coaster ride you’ll ever be on. It’s just not good. What’s about to go down is just so bad and overwhelming. Well, as you saw in last week’s episode where I say, “If Jersey wasn’t 8 hours away, I’d walk home.” In every scene that you see me in, my nose is spread from ear to ear and I’m hysterically crying. I didn’t enjoy it or like it.
If you’re asked back for another season, and we certainly hope that you are, would you say yes?
As of right now, let me just … Can you ask me that after reunion? I have to tell you, it’s time-consuming. It’s overwhelming and if I had to do it all over again, I would answer you that I would do it all over again.
100 percent. I’m 100 percent, I would do it all over again. I had a wonderful experience. Draining or not draining, I would do it all over again. I would have to see how reunion goes and how much that takes out of me to see if I physically and mentally can do it again.
Are you nervous about reunion? If I had to guess, I doubt anything will be aimed at you, but I would imagine that being in a bubble of intense conflict will probably be very hard for an empath like you.
I’m so nervous. I just want it to be tomorrow. I’m so scared. I’m so scared.
I don’t doubt it. Reunions are crazy. Siggy, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today and being so open and forthcoming with us. You’ve become a real fan favorite and we hope you are back next season!
Any time you want to call me, you have my cell number. Call me if you have any questions you want to ask me.
You read that correctly folks, I have Siggy’s cell phone number and she encouraged me to call any time. Now, obviously, I’m not going to ring her up to shoot the breeze because that would probably be a little weird, but honestly? I really don’t think she’d mind it if I did. I genuinely think that Siggy is the type of person who would happily take a virtual stranger’s phone call and give them as much of her time and advice as she could. She’s just that good of a person.
Look, I get that this show has been a bit of a slog. I get that we’ve all been trying to chug along and I know the show has lost some fans in the process, but Siggy is the real deal and I’d love to see Jersey move more in the direction of positivity and fun after this season. Bravo’s best shot of that happening is to center the show on someone like Siggy. From my mouth to the Bravo God’s ears…
And lastly, here’s some general info:
You can find Siggy’s book, “Write Your Own Fairy Tale: The New Rules for Dating, Relationships, and Finding Love on Your Terms” on Amazon or any other major online book dealer.
And you can check out her podcast by searching for “Just Sayin Podcast” on itunes or wherever you get your podcasts.
Yes, that’s Sammie from Jersey Shore
I can’t express enough how much of a pleasure it was to speak with Siggy and I hope you all enjoyed reading our conversation as much as I enjoyed being a part of it.
All photos taken from Siggy’s Instagram where you all should also be following her! https://www.instagram.com/siggy.flicker/
If you want to learn more about Siggy and the rest of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, visit BravoTV.com
This interview with Siggy Flicker was conducted by Liz and is the exclusive property of 10thoughtsblog.com. Please link back to us if you plan to share or quote it. In other words, be cool my reality tv lovin homies…be cool