The psychology of being a ’Real Housewife’ and staying above the fray
It must take guts to be a willing participant in a reality show.
You have to deal with people being in your personal space, filming just a small percentage of your life, so that it fits the show’s narrative.
Your entire life is upended and has to fit into the producer’s plan for you.
You film for months on end, not knowing what the final product will look like or how you will be portrayed.
Your life, essentially, is in the hands of the producer and editor. They control what people know or think about you, whether it’s true or not.
It’s a risk many people have decided to take.
Looking at how many reality shows are launched every year, they clearly trust that the producers will show their best qualities.
What happens when the worst side of you is prevalent? When the good things you do are suddenly twisted and misconstrued?
That’s when things get murky. Which was what happened in the “Real Housewives of Durban”.
Kgomotso Ndungane and Anne Lodick-Mthembu are successful businesswomen, wives and mothers.
They are living the dream. And yet they were paling in comparison to their castmates, Sorisha Naidoo, Ayanda Ncwane, Nonku Williams and Nonkanyiso Choncho. While they were dull and forgettable, their castmates were getting all the screentime, with some interesting storylines along the way.
Suddenly, they needed to up their game.
Beyond the façade of beautiful events and silly shenanigans on the show, we started delving deeper into what was it about them that producers felt was good enough for them to be on the show.
Was it because they lead fascinating lives, or were they fillers, the supporting stars to the leading ladies?
The cardinal rule about reality shows is: don’t be boring.
Whatever you do, inducing boredom is one of the things that you dare not even think about doing.
And when you are at risk of being a boring, forgettable cast member, it is when producers do what they do best – create and bring out your other persona, the mean girl/guy.
Full disclosure: I met both women and they are perfectly nice, friendly people. I have also met their husbands, who are fine people.
Unfortunately, they have fallen into the “Real Housewives” trap where they have to either be the mean girls or be forgettable.
They also, unfortunately, have not studied how to really harness the mean persona to turn themselves into stard viewers love to hate. Kenya Moore, Nene Leakes, Ramona Singer, Teresa Guidice and Lisa Rinna have done it perfectly.
They are the blueprint when it comes to the “Real Housewives” stars who are mean but in such a way that you can’t help but love them.
Ndungane and Lodick are receiving backlash from viewers because they appear to be mean. There have been cringeworthy comments from both of them that have been tonedeaf, classist and unnecessarily rude.
This has led to them being attacked by fans on social media, with many calling for them not to return, if the reality series is renewed for a second season.
It’s difficult to share every part of your life with strangers who will make, at times, uneducated conclusions about your life. However, that is what you sign up for on “Real Housewives” or any other reality show.
If they do come back for a second season, they will need to study the “Real Housewives” OGs who have taken being mean for the sake of being mean and turned it into an art form that is so entertaining we can’t get enough of it.
“Real Housewives of Durban” is streaming on Showmax.