Meet the Real Housewives of SA's Barbie Brazil

2013-07-14 14:00

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Barbie Brazil is set to take local TV screens by storm.

You’ve heard of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, New Jersey and even Atlanta.

Now the reality TV phenomenon that has taken US cities by storm is coming to South Africa.

Barbie Brazil, the businesswoman who owns the rights to the local franchise, says that she is keeping the reality “real” and will not be tempted to cast any famous faces in her series.

So who will be in it? Barbie herself, of course. Some of the US’ “real housewives” include the former wives of actors Kelsey Grammer and Eddie Cibrian, Camille Grammer and Brandi Glanville.

Socialite Paris Hilton’s aunts Kim and Kyle Richards star in the Beverly Hills version.

Brazil, who was born Tembi Ennie Tshabalala, says that like the US versions of the show, her production will still follow the lives of wealthy suburban women, served with generous doses of drama, and punctuated by screaming and fighting with a dose of scandal and suspense.

“I’m bringing the women that I want. I will not be influenced by what other people think is supposed to be done with reality TV. They want me to bring in famous faces. But really, famous for what? What do they have? What do they do? Do they live my lifestyle? I don’t want famous faces because they have nothing to offer. They are broke,” she ranted.

“I go out three to five times a week, I don’t live on a budget, and they love freebies. This is a reality show about women like us who won’t go and ask, ‘please take a picture of me Shwashwi’. We live better lives than them. They need to sit down and find out how we do it. We work twice as hard.”

So she is looking for self-made businesswomen.

Aside from herself, those who already have a designer stiletto shoe in are Puleng “Queen of Dainfern” Mash-Spies, known from the last local season of the BBC’s Come Dine With Me; and Congo-born Karel Vorster, who owns a game lodge.

“These are young b****es who are hustlers, who have pasts and who know what money is. We don’t play, we work hard and our husbands work so much harder?.?.?.?We’re all divas. I’m a mogul in the making,” she said.

“We are self-made. We don’t need umsobomvu (a youth fund) to start our businesses. Our bank accounts dazzle, but if not, our husbands do that. We’re hardcore.”

Brazil’s manager, Lelo Bikitsha, said they approached the trade and industry department for help to secure the rights to the show and found that it was patented only in the US.

So they quickly registered their own patent.

They are currently in negotiations with a broadcaster and will reveal which channel the Real Housewives of SA will be aired on by the end of the month.

Brazil grew up in Thokoza, on Gauteng’s East Rand. She left home at 18 to become a stripper and began as a table dancer and waitress at the Summit Club in Hillbrow before graduating to the stages of Teazers, The Ranch and Provocadoras in Mozambique, where she got her alias.

“Stripping is glamorous, it’s like modelling,” she said. “You always see models on stage with no bras, revealing tops and sometimes no underwear, so what’s the difference there? I loved attention and I’ve always been a good dancer. So I just thought, why must I be seen for free when I can make money from that?”

Like her US counterparts, she has had plenty of plastic surgery.

So far, she has had two boob jobs, liposuction, “some work” on her back and inner thighs, a tummy tuck and a nose job.

“And something else I won’t say. Don’t worry it’s not a sex change.”

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