By Guest Contributor Kimberly
LOUISE: “I made my money the old fashion way, I inherited it.”
Louise is 50 something and very classy and moneyed. She’s been married to Scott for 33 years and he was a professional rugby player. They have two young adult children. She’s looking and sounding a lot like the NZ version of Vanderpump. Like Ken, Scott is happy to take a back seat to Louise. Scott was yummy in his younger years but he’s painfully thin now almost sickly.
Louise doesn’t care what people think and says so. She used to host the NZ version of The Weakest Link. She now runs Tadpole Theatre Productions. She says people who don’t realise think she’s come down in the world doing theatre but don’t realise she’s trained actress from a top drama school in London. Since when did little theatre compare to The West End?
She lives in a lovely home built by her parents. It has beautiful views of the harbour. She quotes her mother as saying. “Lou, we never keep up with the Joneses, we are the Joneses.” She has a lot of help, a gardener (“who is a dag”), an ironing lady (does this woman JUST come in to iron? She must iron everything!), a lawn man, pool man (and he’s NOT cute at all) just to name a few.
She starts by Inviting Gilda (and eventually Julia and Angela) to a fashion show as she and Gilda are talking in their respective expensive cars. The scenes of them driving in Auckland are beautiful but then New Zealand is beautiful. However there are some shots of the freeway next to the ocean which remind me of a newer Monaco type setting. Truly breath taking.
On to the fashion show where we meet Gilda first.
GILDA: “I never start a fight I cannot win.”
Gilda is originally from Iran but came over as a young adult. She’s an architect by trade but owns an advertising and marketing agency Us&Co. She went through the Iranian revolution in the 1970s. Louise said she burst on the scene in Auckland and was “the veritable Persian Princess”.
Gilda married well (but I think she comes from money from childhood pictures) to James Kirkpatrick one of the wealthiest men in Auckland (it matters when they say wealthiest. There is rich. Then there is wealthy.). However James and Gilda were 45+ years apart in age. Of course tongues wagged and people talked. They’re divorced now with two very small children. She says she didn’t want to have children until she was 39. The youngest is 7 months.
JULIA: “If people are talking behind your back. Then you’re the one in front.”
Julia is the second to arrive at the fashion show. Julia has had a previous marriage with two children but is newly married. She takes her son on an adventure holiday once a year. The daughter seems to be a airhead in the making as she fore goes trips for shopping (who does that when your parents are rich enough for you to afford both? Think girl!). Julia’s husband is Michael who is “a little bit older than me” (I think she’s proud of this insinuating she’s still so young).
Julia seems a bit of an airhead. Meeting her starts with her stating “my days are full of appointments!” By this she means hair, nails, waxing, Botox, fillers, facials, massage…you get the gist. She modeled as a teen was Miss Universe of New Zealand and The Face of the 80s and did a lot of TV commercials. Which doesn’t mean much because it’s easy to be a big fish in a little NZ pond. We meet her hairstylist who looks like a short middle east gay version of a Ken doll. He agrees with her about needing hair extensions to which she’s outraged he agreed with her.
So Julia goes to an art gallery to buy a piece. She has “no idea how much we spend on art. That’s Michael’s area”. The one she had in mind wasn’t big enough for the space so she calls Michael to see if she can get the bigger one which costs $45K+ more. Of course he says ok. It’s on camera.
And this is all Julia has to contribute. So on to Angela.
ANGELA: “My name may be Stone, but everything I touch turns to gold”
Angela is an Amazon! She must be over six feet and statuesque. Gilda seems very intimidated by Angela. She doesn’t rise to greet Angela when she arrives. Angela puts the women on their back foot immediately by bringing her book out as a gift to her friends (two of which she’s never met). This book is a guide to fashion styling. Why? Just why? Other than to get free advertising for your book? Because the other women including Louise (who knows her) aren’t impressed. Not one bit. Gilda in a sidebar questions if she even needs the book. I myself think it’s pretty presumptuous to give such a titled book to a group of women who eat, breathe and live fashion. But Angela says “I take gifts for my friends wherever I go.” Bless your heart.
Angela says she’s a fashion designer, stylist, author, model, jack of all trades. She lives between Auckland and Christchurch. She only sees her five kids (two step children, three children) every other week. “I do what I do because of them. I want them to have an extraordinary life like I wanted to have as a child.” She seems to really believe they will know and appreciate this…as children. We are introduced to who Angela is by her sitting in what looks like the middle of a park mediating. She dribbles on about her spiritual side in the voice over as she’s throwing leaves up in the air and smiling stupidly. Maybe I was wrong about Julia. Maybe it’s Angela who is going to be the airhead, or just a nutter. Too soon to tell but there is something off with this chicken.
Back to the fashion show. Louise asks Angela what differences does she see in styles between Christchurch and Auckland. When Angela says in Auckland there is more chiffon, kaftans and jangly jewellery Gilda pipes up and says “who do you hang with in Auckland?” And we’re off! The first barb has been thrown.
So the whole time the fashion show is going on Angela is doing a running commentary about each outfit and fashion tips. It’s getting on everyone’s nerves. In Lydiot like fashion she believes this is the moment to share her knowledge with these women who live, eat and breathe fashion. Girl, you are in for a rough ride. So when Angela says she’d like to be just like Oprah, Gilda chimes in and says she needs to listen more talk less as Angela hasn’t stopped talking about herself since she arrived. Angela smiles and says, “Thanks Gilda.”Either she has manners long lost to society or the barb was lost on her.
After the fashion show the next day we meet Michelle who is meeting Gilda for a shop n goss.
MICHELLE: “I used to strut my stuff on the catwalk. Now I’m a model housewife.”
Michelle is from the UK and was a model and proceeds to name several avenues of modelling she’s done posters, magazines, TV commercials, worked in fashion “I have quite a body of work”. I don’t think she meant her career. We meet her husband David whom she’s been married to for 17 years. They have two preteens a boy and a girl. She’s an indoor girl. They live in a rural area and have horses and she promptly gets kicked in the top of the thigh by the horse. Hmmm…animals know! Michelle and Gilda briefly gossip about Angela being a jack of all trades but no one has heard of her. And we’re done with Michelle. Not much to start with but I’m betting the horse knows a things or two!
Finally we get to meet our last housewife Anne.
ANNE: “I’m like a fine champagne. I bubble, I fizz, and I go right with the party.”
Anne is the Dame of Champagne “the only drink a woman can drink and still remain beautiful” Anne says in a sidebar her claim to champagne fame is she drinks a lot of it. Then she proceeds to have a mini montage of her in the sidebar sipping champagnes repeatedly. Then she goes on about the seven finances she’s had over her lifetime. She’s been married to Richard for 15 years. She calls him Cuddly Bear and he calls her Little Doll. It’s kind of cute, the have to be in their 60s or so. They open up the house, jack up the music and dance in their own world. I’m liking Anne.
Anne is always trying to get Richard to take in stray pussies. Anne loves stray pussies (the four legged kind). She has a pensioner palace for pussies. Gotta love it! She says “I love pussies because they’re so independent, they never come when you call, in fact I’m sure I was a pussy in a former life!”
Anne has a farm manager, Alan, who is at her beck and call, even polishing champagne glasses. She thinks Alan sees her as a sister. Bless her heart. Are all rich people as deluded as Lydiot with her housekeeper Joann? But she’s sure he sees her as an employer too because she orders him around a lot.If he’s good he gets a glass of champagne, lucky boy (heavy sarcasm).
Julia comes over to invite Anne to her birthday party. They gossip about Angela briefly as well as Gilda. This where we learn Gilda was married to a man so much, much, much, much older. Julia whispers the word “goldigger”.
Before Julia’s birthday party we see her vineyard. She’s explaining to her husband Michael why men aren’t going to the birthday luncheon. She makes a crack about “now we need to establish who wears the pants in our relationship.” To which Michael retorts, “Darling you need to understand I pay for the pants and I get into the pants. That’s my role.” In her sidebar she says “I think I make the perfect wife. I keep Michael happy.” She says this in a creepy Stepford Wives kinda way.
So we’re off to Julia’s birthday luncheon. Julia has rented a limo. Anne brought champagne of course! Angela brought a gorgeous bouquet of yellow and white roses for Julia. Must say they are lovely! Louise brought a small gift. Gilda and Michelle aren’t in the limo because they didn’t want to ride in one (Huh? Who doesn’t?). We see them getting into Gilda’s chauffeured Rolls (the same one she was driving for herself in the beginning of the show). Not fooling the little people Gilda! As Gilda walks out of her house I’m thinking maybe she did need Angela’s style book because her dress is FUBAR. Her lip encrusted shoes are uglier, if that’s possible. Goodwill or Salvos wouldn’t want them. Whoever sold her that ensemble saw her and her platinum card coming. Yuck! On their way to the luncheon talking seems hard as they spend some time texting and Gilda does a kiss selfie. Finally they get to the luncheon. Michelle is dying to meet Angela.
Angela expresses her reservations about Gilda and her friend Michelle. Gilda is hoping Angela will be more chill. Angela points out in a sidebar Gilda snubbed her at the fashion show by not standing when they met for the first time. For some reason Julia thinks Angela will inhibit her growing friendship with Michelle and Gilda. Anne asks why they didn’t come in the limo to which Michelle immediate says “I don’t do limos. I think they’re tacky.” Julia says limos aren’t tacky it just depends on what you’re using them for! The women ask Michelle what she did in the UK. When she says she modelled Julia brings up the fact Angela models. Michelle says, “you model still? What? Plus size?” BAM! And the gloves are off for the season! I knew that horse was right!
Quite weirdly Angela just sits and smiles at Michelle after this obvious put down. Deer in the headlights maybe? Bless her. Gilda is practically swallowing her tongue not to laugh. Anne has Angela’s back just because Michelle is being a bitch. Good on her! Then Michelle goes on to question Angela in order for her to validate her modelling. We find out she’s not only a jack of all trades but she’s also currently the face of NZ tourism. Gilda stupidly says tourism doesn’t have anything to do with clothing. Angela quite rightly in a condescending tone puts her down and makes the distinction between fashion and modelling. Michelle tries to get back Gilda’s fashion cred. Julia whines everyone is not focused on the birthday girl. Gilda goes on to put her foot in it and say she doesn’t depend on her looks to support herself. She says she’s not a model or actress and therefore doesn’t have to worry about those things (except looking good horizontally for the elderly). This all of a sudden reduces Angela to tears who gets up and leaves the table. Julia and Louise go after her while Michelle and Gilda look askance as to what her problem might be. Anne sits there taking it all in. Out in the balcony of the restaurant Julia and Louise try smoothing things over with Angela by saying Michelle just word vomited “plus size modelling”. I don’t know about you but I hate people who try to gloss overt crap like that over. If it walks like a bitch, talks like a bitch…….it’s a bitch.
When Angela comes back to the table Michelle proceeds to accuse Angela of crying croc tears. I think Angela is very nice and doesn’t know what she’s signed on for or she’s just a bit stupid. She just keeps smiling even while confronting Michelle. Michelle says “anyone with tits like that is a plus size model. Get over it already!” Gilda points out how she smiles ALL the time and I have to admit it’s creepy. Once more Julia whines it’s not about her. I must say Angela does show she can hold her own. Maybe a little nutter there after all? The understatement of the show is when Gilda says in sidebar “I’m not a judgmental person” she had a judgy expression from the beginning of the show.
I have to say that while words were exchanged, they were civil. Their homes, cars, and fashion were great to watch. Wish the USA housewives were more like Auckland and Melbourne.
Next week: Angela says people speak poorly about Gilda.