Renee Graziano is a force. Throughout two seasons of Mob Wives, she's let us in to her life where we've seen this strong, outspoken mother and loyal friend thrust on a journey of up and downs bigger than most of us can even imagine. Whether it was watching her go through an excruciating plastic surgery gone wrong, or the intensely emotional moments upon discovering her ex-husband's devastating betrayal, viewers have seen Renee prove again and again that she indeed can survive, and thrive.
This tough-as-nails Mob Wife is absolutely disarming and charming to speak with, and spent a bit of time chatting about where life is taking her next.
With regard to your surgery a few months ago, I’m sure it had to be a lot worse than what we saw on TV.
Well, it was a lot worse than what you saw and I think it was only October when I started to really heal, back from July which was four months afterwards when the skin and the scar on my back finally closed, plus I had an issue with my heart as well. So, when Dr. Fiorillo came along... well, I don’t think I would have made it if not for him. I had a nurse twice a day, someone was constantly changing my bandages, constantly making sure that everything was closing up properly inside, frequently going for blood work. It was a mess. I really believe he's an angel.
You look fantastic now; why would you want to get more surgery?
I’m not going to get more plastic surgery, I’m getting constructive surgery. Primarily because unfortunately the infection that I had ate through so much of my back. It was actually similar to a flesh-eating bacteria, and it went through to the bones in my back. There's no tissue there, so Dr. Fiorillo is going to graft another part of my body in there and put the tissue back between the bones and the skin. I'll be going back for this in June.
I saw the reunion; it was quite intense at times. How is everything at the moment with all of the girls right now, and what can we expect to see moving forward?
Well, I’m Switzerland. Because I just cant fight with these girls anymore. I am mentally and physically exhausted, so I've taken that neutral position. As far as the other girls, well, me and Angela are definitely Switzerland and the other girls... well, you know, they’re not really all speaking right now.
You do a great job as the peacemaker. In that group you need someone to take a stand, right?
Like I said, I love them all and I’d go out on a limb for anyone.
Renee, you’ve really gone through hell and back this year; obviously nobody knows that more than you. Do you think it’s been somewhat therapeutic to put these difficult issues on camera and open them up to viewers?
It’s definitely helped me, and it still does when I watch the episodes back. My sister, who is the creator and executive producer, doesn’t let us see the show until it airs, so we don’t know how it’s cut or how it's going to show. Obviously we’re all very honest and we speak our minds, and it’s very real, but we just don’t know how it’s going to be put together so when we see it that day, I usually don’t talk to the girls for two days after because I’m so pissed off [laughs].
Mondays and Tuesdays, nobody gets a phone call from me. And if they do get a phone call, it’s a cursing phone call. It definitely has been very therapeutic for me to watch myself go through this. I mean, I watch it as a viewer and honestly, on the episode where they take my Dad away, I sat there watching it like, "Oh my God, somebody get this bitch help!” [laughs] Really, it was so sad to watch and I felt it, I felt for myself and that’s a strange feeling, to feel that kind of hurt for your own self.
I think that’s why people really love watching you — because you’re very real.
There’s no way possible you could have made up anything that has happened to me in season one and season two. Because in season one my ex-husband got arrested, and then in season two it was the rest of my family so no, you couldn’t make any of this up.
Why do you think people love the show so much?
The truth is that when you put the word “mob” into anything, people are interested because it’s a lifestyle that’s been so secretive for so many years. And even though there is a lot that's told as far as the men go, you never hear about the women. You never hear about their trials and tribulations, and what it feels like to, you know, get in the car for 12 hours when I go see my Dad, and drive all the way there with your kid through the night. I just think people are really fascinated by the women.
What’s happening with you personally, behind the scenes? What’s next for you outside of Mob Wives?
Outside of Mob Wives, I have a shoe line coming out called Mob Candy. Actually a few things, that are all going to be coming out under Mob Candy, which is very colorful and full of life. I wanted everything to be colorful and bright, unlike my life right now! Just full of color — I have a shoe line that’s absolutely fabulous that will be out by the end of June, my makeup line as well. I have also partnered with my plastic surgeon, Dr. Fiorillo, in a spa called Luminique in New York City, and we’ll have the makeup there as well.
Tell me something nobody knows about you yet. What what would people be surprised to learn about you?
Well, I would love to tell you but it’s going to be part of season three. I felt like I’m halfway there with people in my life, and now I want them to know the rest of me. Why I overreact, why I’m extra sensitive, why I pick these men to date. There’s much more to me then what people have seen, so I think people are going to be really shocked now. There’s a lot more...
What’s the best part about doing what you do?
The best part is I get to help someone else. I firmly believe that God has put me here to learn first and then to teach so I think that women are learning through my experiences and that for me is the best, to save a life. The most challenging is trying not to cry! I did not cry the last four episodes...and for the reunion I had to be on my toes because once you get in a room with all of these girls, it was going to go off like fireworks.