'Mob Wives' star Brittany Fogarty: 'When you're fighting with pigs, you're going to get a little mud on you'
When Brittany Fogarty joined the "Mob Wives" cast on its final season, she was thrust into a wild year of name-calling, fist fights, lasting friendships -- and of course, heartbreak with the tragic loss of one of their own, Big Ang, in February.
While many of the women, who are in their 40s and 50s, were resistant to the then-24-year-old fresh meat, Fogarty says Ang welcomed her from the start.
"One thing that I really, really loved, and I will always appreciate from Ang is that from when I cam on day one, she welcomed me with opened arms. She treated me like my own person. She didn't treat me like my father's daughter. She treated me like Brittany, my own person, and I really, really, really will never forget that," she told AOL in an exclusive interview.
Fogarty, whose father served six years in prison after cooperating with the Feds about his mob ties and activity, was heartbroken when she was asked not to attend Ang's funeral last month, along with co-star Karen Gravano, but respected the family's wishes and said goodbye to her friend in her own way.
"I just went to the ceremony after all the services were done. I said a prayer at where she was laid to rest, and I said goodbye to her in my own way. And I'm okay with that. I don't have any hard feeling about not being there," she said. "It's not about me, it's not about Karen."
SEE ALSO: Big Ang talks about her bucket list on emotional 'Mob Wives' series finale
In a room full of "big egos," Fogarty, who has pursued modeling and other endeavors in the fashion world, remembers Ang fondly as "big-hearted" and "the real deal" who supported her friends.
"They didn't really play the timeline out true-to-life on the show, but she had just had her lung surgery and three days later was my fashion show. She literally just had like half of her lung cut out, and I told her to stay home, but she was insistent on coming," she recalled. "I mean just like jumping up and down, screaming, cheering me on during everything she was going through."
"When Brittany came out, she was screaming more than me. She loved Brittany, she really did. It was just very touching. Here she is with all she's going through and yet she came to support her, which says a lot about her character," Fogarty's mom, Andrea, added.
As fans of the show know, not all of Fogarty's relationships played out as swimmingly as with Big Ang. Fogarty clashed with co-stars Carla Facciolo, Karen Gravano and Renee Graziano, who are all more than 20 years Fogarty's senior.
"I mean, let's call it what it is – I'm half their freaking age. That in itself is intimidating. You're on your final season, you have a new, young, pretty girl coming on with very strong opinions. I think they have a problem with someone much younger than them calling them on the way that they act and making them confront their problems and what their character defects are," she said about the experience. "It was shocking to me. I can't believe how these women act. I feel like I'm arguing with high school girls."
Fogarty is still reeling from a big restaurant blowout with Facciolo that prompted her co-star to exclaim, "Honestly, I could breastfeed the kid."
"You have two teenaged kids and you're talking about and arguing with somebody who's half your age and you say you're a classy lady, but you're also on a TV show attacking me for being 24 years old and saying you want to breastfeed me, so really who needs to do the growing up here?"
Another big point of contention for Fogarty this season was the women's fixation on her family, especially falsities surrounding her mother, who owns up to the fact that she allowed her husband go to jail, so she could raise their three kids.
"Not everything is fair game. There's this big thing with all of the women that family is off limits and that family is off the table, but I felt like with my situation from day one, it was constant attacking the family, and I don't have the kind of personality to just sit there to take it and roll over for anybody. I'm going to punch you in the face"
Perhaps that's why her feud with Marissa Jade escalated to a full-on fistfight earlier this month.
"I didn't wake up one day like, 'Oh I want to f--king kill this b--ch.' No, it was a constant build up of Carla telling me this, Renee telling me this, Drita telling me this ... It's like how many times can you just hear people taunting you, teasing, talking about you behind your back?" she said about the infamous fight.
While all the emotion and conversations are real on the show, Fogarty says, some of the situations and the subject matter are manufactured. She notes the fight with Marissa as one of her biggest frustrations from the season.
"What was so frustrating to me was all of the build up and all of this drama and all of the talking and then you put us down and then you have security completely instantly separate us and hold us from each other," she said. "Of course I was trying to fight these bodyguards because every ounce that I am wanted to attack and beat that girl. So yea, that's how I acted."
Despite it all, Fogarty has no regrets. The reality star may be taking a break from reality TV for a while, but she is pursuing modeling and hoping to get in the "design end" of the fashion industry. While she and her mom are happy the season is over and expressed regret over some of their actions, they know some of the dirtiness is part of the game.
"When you're fighting with pigs, you're going to get a little mud on you," Fogarty said.
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