'Real Housewives of Dallas' star Stephanie Hollman on philanthropy, that explosive reunion and season two
By: Gibson Johns
Stephanie Hollman was the breakout star of the first season of Bravo's "Real Housewives of Dallas" and, though the season has wrapped, she's continuing to use her growing platform for good.
Whether crying or laughing or doing both at the same time, Hollman always seemed to brighten up the screen throughout the season, especially when paired with her bestie, Brandi Redmond. Much like the the other cast members, Hollman also shed light on some of her charitable endeavors during her time on the show.
Hollman has been working with the Dallas-based organization The Family Place for years and is partnering with them and SoulCycle for an upcoming "Break The Cycle" event, which will raise money directly for victims of domestic abuse.
We recently caught up with Hollman at our AOL headquarters in New York City to talk about her philanthropy, filming her first "Real Housewives" reunion and what she knows about the potential second season of "Real Housewives of Dallas."
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Check out our full conversation with Stephanie Hollman below:
You're partnering with The Family Place and SoulCycle for an upcoming fundraising event. Tell me a little about it!
It's their first annual SoulCycle event for The Family Place, and it's called Break The Cycle because it's about domestic violence. I'm excited -- Travis and I have been involved with The Family Place for a long time. It's on the 27th from 2 to 4 p.m., and we're going to have a cycle cardio party and drink champagne afterwards! How much fun is that?
Who can buy tickets?
People can buy tickets: It's $300 per bike, and all of the money goes to the women and families living in the shelter. It'll be really nice.
How did you initially get involved with The Family Place?
Before I met my husband, I worked in social service as a social worker, so I met with a lot of women and children who were in bad positions. Also, to be honest, I've had friends and family members who have been victims of domestic violence. So, as soon as I moved to Dallas, it was the organization that really tugged at my heart and that I wanted to do more with. Domestic violence is something that people aren't comfortable talking about, so I think it's important -- especially as a mom of two boys -- to raise strong men who respect women. You have to lead by example when you're a parent.
Are there certain moments from your time as a social worker that have stuck with you and informed your giving back in recent years?
Yes, definitely. I worked at night at a homeless pregnant shelter, and I will say that most of our clients were homeless and pregnant because they were trying to escape abusive situations. I saw the fear that they had, and we had to keep them being there very secretive. I saw the trouble they had bringing a baby into the world, too, with a father that is someone that is scary to them and someone they were trying to get away from.
You've been involved with The Family Place for years, but your platform has clearly grown over the past 12 months or so. Does that make is that much more important for you to shine a light on it?
I think that if you do something like reality TV or a show like ours and you don't give back, then what's the point in doing it? What's the point in doing something if you can't change the world for the better? I mean, if I'm going to fight with girls, I'm going to make sure that I do something good in return. [Laughs]
Definitely. That's something that separates "Real Housewives of Dallas" from other "Housewives" franchises -- the first season, at least, was very centered on charity events and giving back.
The good thing about the women on our show is that we all do give back, and I think that that's important. I love Dallas for the fact that so many people in the community are so giving and really do try to make a difference.
Last time we talked, the trip to Austin from hell hadn't aired yet. How do you feel like that was portrayed on the show?
I think it was accurate. Last season feels so far away, and it was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I think most of the girls would say, though, that you do learn a lot about yourself when you have a microscope on your life. Since then, LeeAnne has gone to anger management. I don't see her that much, but I do hope that there's some change there, because I feel like she needs some peace. It was a horrible trip -- I'm not going to lie. Austin was bad. It was worse than it looked.
And then you were going to film the reunion, your first, the next day. How was that whole experience?
I was so nervous! Could you tell? I was so nervous that I was going to get yelled at and cry, because that's what I do. [Laughs] Honestly, it was kind of like group therapy with a bunch of people that probably needed to be in therapy months before already. I feel like a lot of things were hashed out, and I felt better when we left the situation. Then again, if and when we do season two, I'm sure people will get right back into the drama.
I felt like a lot of things were addressed that hadn't been talked about -- you know, the Cary and mark Deuber situation was never really brought up. It had been talked about behind her back, but it was good for everyone to say their peace.
There's been a lot of speculation about whether or not there'll be a second season. What do we know at this point?
I do know that they've come in and cast some new girls, and I've been asked about some parts of my schedule, but I will know the day before you know. That's how it works. If there is a season two, I'm excited to see how it plays out. So many of us have grown and changed, and I think bringing in one or two new people in would be a fun dynamic.
Also, you guys didn't go into the first season knowing that it was going to be part of the "Real Housewives" franchise -- that was decided after filming wrapped. Surely that will result in a different mindset going into season two.
You're right! I mean, I probably wouldn't have talked about pooping so much had I known we were going to be Housewives. [Laughs] Let's be honest, right?!
You've said that you wouldn't come back unless Brandi also came back. Does that still hold true?
They have to have Brandi for the show, right? She's so funny, and she puts herself out there, so I don't even think there would be Dallas "Housewives" without Brandi.
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