1. The real-life fairy tale behind the Real Housewives of Atlanta

    Princess-Anne Banton-Lofters and her son AnthonyNot many people would call The Real Housewives of Atlanta a fairy tale, but the TV show has been for Princess- Anne Banton- Lofters.  Before Princess (her real name) married her orthodontist husband and moved to Atlanta to be just another housewife, she lived in Toronto and worked in a bank.

     Now she lives in “Black Hollywood” and is the producer of Bravo’s (Slice) hit series The Real Housewives of Atlanta.  So how did a nice Canadian housewife come south and become the power behind the wildest of all the Housewives shows?
    She did it by going to parties in Atlanta, finding her fairy godfather, and then selling her tale to Hollywood.  To find out the whole story in one of Princess-Anne’s first interviews ever don’t miss a word of this exclusive DolceDolce interview.
    DD: How did you, a Canadian woman, end up creating and producing The Real Housewives of Atlanta?
    PABL: I am from Canada — very much so. I am actually from Hamilton, little bitty Hamilton.  I had worked in Toronto, too.  But, I had moved to Atlanta when I got married and was trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to work in TV. My husband kept saying find something you want to do.  He is an orthodontist and all his friends are doctors, ball players, and in the entertainment industry.
    My husband kept bringing me to parties and I kept seeing these feisty women. I kept thinking they should be on TV. These women kept pulling me out of the crowd talking about their Louis Vuitton bags and such.  They did things we don’t do in Canada.  I kept watching them and thinking they should be on TV. 
    As a black female I saw it as chance to represent this lifestyle; after all Atlanta is nicknamed black Hollywood. I would sit (at the parties) and write things down on napkins.
    Then I finally had several ideas.  I got to meet the former president of BET(Black Entertainment Network) Curtis Gaston. He was going into retirement, but he agreed to take time from his busy schedule to meet with me.  From that meeting I got a show.
    Then I started flying to LA.  I’d literally fly to LA just have coffee with someone. Then I met Brian Hale of True Entertainment and I got a development deal.
    At this point, I had not seen the Housewives shows. I had only seen a few of the original OrangeCounty shows.  I just had an idea about doing a show about these feisty women in Atlanta.
    More than one group wanted the show.  It was finally decided that it would be part of the Bravo franchise.
    DD: Was it supposed to be a black cast originally?
    PABL: Not to my mind. I was never narrowing to just an African-American cast.
    I started with casting and I stated with NeNe Leakes. Casting is something that I do very well. I interviewed many, many women. And the women I chose all gave me that “wow thing’.
    Kim came in with NeNe. She started out as a supporting character for NeNe. But she gave me a “wow thing”. She wowed the Bravo producers too.
    But after I watched all the (Housewives) shows I noticed that there was not one black woman on any of them. And I get it that Atlanta could represent that. And it has been great that all types of women, black and white, have congratulated me on doing a show that represents African-American women. So I do feel good about that.
    DD: Do you think the show or being on the show makes the women more competitive with each other?
    PABL: No, I just think it’s their individual personalities when they are together in a group. They can get defensive.
    Princess went to on to stress that all the wives are very family-oriented and “100 percent mommy first”.  I did observe at the premiere party that when a scuffle broke out among some of the party-goers, Kim dropped everything to check on her daughters.  Princess, herself, is the mother of a charming, well-mannered teen-aged boy.
    DD: Why are reality show and shows like Housewives popular?  What resonates with women?
    PABL: People like to live vicariously. If you are just a housewife, it’s exciting to see a catfight and watch women who drive fancy cars. They like to see a fantasy life and watch these women who are larger than life with all their drama. They may sit at home and say “Isn’t that awful that she did that!” — but they enjoy it.
    At the end of the interview Princess mentioned that she had a new project. She added that she hopes to inspire and help others to realize their dreams. She never forgets the debt she owes to the Scott Dunlop, the creator of the original Housewives show The Real Housewives of Orange County. Even though she has never met him, she feels he indirectly helped her to realize her dream.