Meet 4 Southern women with hospitality, manners

One of the most popular shows on cable television is “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

It is a reality TV show that follows the lives of five housewives from the Peach State. But they aren’t your garden variety carpooling, laundry-folding, bake sale moms.

No, they are loud, brash and rich.

On a recent trip to Atlanta to visit my sister, I wanted to meet some real “real housewives of Atlanta” and see how they compared to the gals I’ve seen on TV.

I asked my sister to find me some of the most fabulous Southern ladies she knows. We set a date to meet them at one of their homes.

Each lady was as beautiful and charming as a Georgia peach and immediately showed me why the South is synonymous with hospitality.

The morning we met, I was greeted by each one with a warm hug. My sister and I were escorted into the kitchen, where the housewives were cooking bacon in a cast iron skillet and the Southern favorite: grits. (I was told grits stands for “girls raised in the South.”)

When I asked if I could take a picture, our hostess Lisa said, “Wait! Let me get out the Williams-Sonoma.”

MEET THE HOUSEWIVES

Lisa, Georgia native and “life of the party” is a former cheerleading captain, wife of seven years of an attorney and spunky mommy to a 4-year-old boy.

When she is not taking care of home and family, she is a hair and makeup stylist for weddings and photo shoots.

Kate, “the adviser,” is her friends’ go-to gal. Kate has a master’s degree in educational psychology and is a former high school guidance counselor. Now, she stays at home with her three girls.

When she is not doling out advice, Kate is a social activist supporting a charity organization that helps children in India.

Carmine, “the beauty queen,” was born in Haiti and came to Georgia via Boston. She is a former model and Miss Massachusetts.

Carmine’s average day starts with a 5:45 a.m. workout, after which she gets her four kids ready for school. Time with her family is very important to Carmine. She and her computer engineer husband never miss their Friday date night.

Lazette, “the planner,” was too modest to describe herself. But her fellow housewives, who know what the inside of her pantry looks like, said she is “organized,” “hot,” “humble ” and “über-talented.”

Although Lazette is a stay-at-home mother of three, she says she is never home. She is so busy, she doesn’t watch TV. In fact, Lazette is the only one of the four ladies that had never watched “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

‘HOUSEWIVES’ VS. HOUSEWIVES

I had plenty of questions for these real housewives.

“The cast members of ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’ are said to be Atlanta’s high society. Is that true?” I asked.

“I’ve been to high society events, and I’ve never seen them there,” Lisa said.

“High society is made up of Atlanta’s ‘old money,’ and they don’t flaunt it,” Kate added.

“One of (the show’s) housewives, Kim Zolciak, says in the intro of the show that, ‘In Atlanta, money and class buy you power.’ What do you think of that and what makes you feel powerful?” I asked.

Being powerful has more to do with who you are as a person and less about having money, Carmine said.

Having her home “in order,” meaning that her relationships with her husband and kids are good and stable, makes her feel powerful, she said.

Kate said her education and a continued quest for knowledge makes her feel powerful.

Lisa added self-confidence to the list.

On “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” there is a lot of drama. Sometimes the ladies’ actions might not be considered those of a proper Southern lady: Pulling out each other’s hair extensions, swearing, gossiping and lying about each other.

So, I asked, “would anyone like to comment on how you think the housewives represent Atlanta?”

The general consensus was a big “thumbs-down.” True Southerners don’t air their dirty laundry.

Lazette gave the answer I expected of a genteel Southern lady: “If someone says something I don’t like or agree with, I don’t say anything. I just smile.”

Then I asked the ladies another question related to Kim Zolciak from the show. She and her daughters are financially supported by her mysterious and married boyfriend she calls, “Big Poppa.”

“Do any of you ladies have a boyfriend? Let me rephrase. Does anyone here know of anyone here who has a boyfriend?” I asked.

(Cricket-cricket.)

Just like true friends, no one was about to “out” a friend. All of them admitted and verified that the others were happily married.

With that, I asked a final question related to show cast members Nene Leakes, who wrote a book, and Zolciak, who started a wig line.

“Have any of you read Nene’s book or worn Kim’s wigs? Let me rephrase. Does anyone here know of anyone here who has read Nene’s book or worn Kim’s wigs?”

(Cricket-cricket.)

The only answer I received was a smile.


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