Shannon Beador has a lot going on in her life: Her divorce from her ex, David Beador, is still ongoing, she's continuing to build her Real by Real Cuisine business, she's a single mother to three daughters and she's bouncing back after losing a total of 27 lbs. Regardless, she's an open book.
The five-season star of "Real Housewives of Orange County" recently sat down with AOL to talk about everything going on this season, where she stands with the rest of her cast mates and why she's not that interested in getting to know her new cast members.
Check out our full conversation below:
How are you holding up midway through the season?
I think I’m seasoned! This is my fifth season, and it feels like I just started yesterday. I always say I’m not going to get in the fray, but somehow I always get into it. So, that’s not fun to watch, but filming is the most fun part for me. Watching it is difficult, because I know what I filmed, but I don’t know what everyone else said about me. Sometimes they’re not very kind.
Is there something that someone said about you that you found out by watching this season?
I know I have things coming up that the new girls have said abut me that I feel, if true, are unconscionable and unethical, and I can leave it at that.
Mid-season trailer that came out recently teases the an explosive Jamaica trip that makes it seem like you're involved in a big argument. What can you tell me about it?
I walked into there exhausted. In a six-month period, I launched a business that I’m so grateful for, and it was taxing for me. I’m a single mom, I moved and, to this day, I still haven’t unpacked all the boxes in my room. I was going through a really nasty divorce, where things were going on daily, so I was really looking forward to the trip and having an amazing time, but then I reached a point where the other women weren’t understanding exactly where I was coming from, and it was mistaken for me being selfish. I have to say, I’ve been called a lot of things before, but I’ve never been called selfish -- that was like a knife in the gut. So, you have to listen to what people say, and I understand where they were coming from today, but it wasn’t fun at the time. I hate being the reactive person, but somehow I am year after year. Could there be a season where I don’t walk off saying, "I’m done"?! [Laughs]
You mentioned that you were going through a lot. I know you still are, but it’s been fun to see you pick yourself back up and embrace where you are in life.
It’s interesting, because you reach this rock bottom -- here I was, on top of the world, with a husband who surprised me with a vowel renewal and then, weeks after, my marriage started to deteriorate. To go through that process, where I started to self-medicate with food and go out too much, and to see the downfall that happened so quickly … I see now as I’m reflecting -- and I’m still crawling myself back -- that sometimes people have to reach that low to see how strong they are. I’m regaining a confidence that I had when I first met [my ex] David. Part of it is physically getting myself back to where I was -- and I’m doing it slowly, because I want to eat healthily, but also have a cocktail or two on the weekend -- but it's about creating a balance. I gained 40 pounds, and today I’ve lost 27 pounds. I have 13 more to go, and I’m going to do that. At the reunion I’ll be back! I’m slowly but surely getting there, and when you start to see results, it gets you more excited about it.
Talk to me about your frozen food line -- Real by Real Cuisine! We see your QVC debut, which must have been a totally different filming experience for you.
It was, but it’s fun! I’m nervous when I walk out, but then once I start, I can just keep talking and I’m more at ease. It’s fun. It’s almost like you’re gambling, because you don’t know what’s going to happen or who is going to call in. QVC is so good with their statistics, so they have a certain number they expect you to sell when you’re a first-time vendor and they doubled mine. They’re really happy with it.
It's also pretty incredible that you've taken this low-point in your life and channeled it into a business that has helped to drive your turnaround.
I tell this to a lot of my friends: If you feel as though you have a good idea -- mine was, who doesn’t want to be healthy while eating something easy and convenient? -- you believe in yourself, but even when you’re my age, you can get there. You have to wake up, do positive affirmations and focus on things with positive energy. You can do whatever you want. It’s an amazing lesson that I’m teaching my kids, because I was scared. I’m not going to lie. I’m still going through a nasty divorce, and when it comes to financial stuff, [men] don’t want to give you everything, so I’d be over the moon if some day I could say, “I don’t even need anything from you. Put it into an account for the kids, because I can take care of myself!” That’s the goal.
Let's talk about the new ladies, Gina and Emily. You're notoriously tough on the new cast members -- is that just because you want them to prove themselves to you?
I’d like to rephrase that. I think that if you look back, the new girls come after me. With Kelly Dodd, it was like, "Hi, how are you?" and then bam: "No wonder your husband cheated on you," "Eat up!" I could go on, but we actually are friends now, so we’ll sometimes be out together and be like, "We should reenact this stuff!" But yeah, I think that some of them came guns a blazing for me. Ahem, Lydia!
But, I will admit -- because I will own my part -- that I don’t like change. I don’t have a lot of friends -- I have a very close-knit group of friends -- because I want to put the proper amount of time into a friendship. So, two new girls come in, and they’re almost half my age. It’s like, okay. We don’t have that much in common, so you get to a point where you have to prioritize. I have a business, I have three kids on my own and I’m going through things that are taking up my time, so should I put those aside so I can spend time with a 32-year-old?
Gina said recently that you two have "no relationship." Is that accurate?
Quite accurate. That's not to say that there wasn’t any effort made, but at the same time she was very judgmental, saying I was the reason Emily went after Kelly? Um, I don’t think so! I rode down in that car with Kelly to Eddie’s birthday party, and she was hellbent on talking to Steve. And we all know Kelly: When she has her mind made up, she’s going to do it. So I said, "You know what? I’m going to try to diffuse her."
When I talked to Vicki recently, she made an interesting point that the new cast members have, at this point, seen a ton of old seasons and may come in thinking they know how they should be acting. Do you think that new cast members haven't been natural enough on the show?
There’s one girl that’s new -- that I’ll leave for you to guess -- my God, I feel everything is manipulated. She’s tried to be on the show for multiple years. But, when you talk about Vicki, too, I was one of the few that Vicki liked right off the bat. I went in not thinking she would like me, but she did. I said to her, "Where’s the old Vicki who was a little harder on those new girls? Don’t pass that off to me!" She has her own opinions on the new girls, too, and she’s in agreement with me on most of it.
In the Jamaica teaser, we see you and Tamra get into an argument. What's it like putting that friendship on camera specifically?
It’s hard. It’s like putting my marriage up there. It’s hard. I’m so close to Tamra that we are like family members, and all relationships have good periods and bad. That being said, even our issues went on past the show, and it was very difficult. I’m not excited to see it. But the fact that she and I were able to resolve and discuss and communicate about what we need to do so that this doesn’t happen again, I think our friendship has emerged stronger. In the long run, we’ll say that it’s good this happened.
Part of what makes being on a Bravo show so special is that there's such a massive, built-in fanbase for these shows. Talk to me about what it's like hearing from fans on social media.
I’m very low-tech, but I’m learning social media little by little. Andy Cohen told me it took him almost nine years with all those bad comments. You can have 100 good ones, but that one bad one is going to upset you. I’m learning that people hide behind their computers or phones and a lot of people would want to be in my position right now if they could, so I try to look at it from that perspective. I have to say, though, as far as fans, it’s overwhelming. There are weeks where I’ll just sit and cry of happiness. I can’t believe how many people are rooting for me. It just blows me away, and I’m so grateful.
Do you feel as though you represent a certain group of women now? You're a single mom that went through some really rough times with your marriage and divorce, so I'm sure there are people that relate to your story.
I know people can relate. When my husband had an affair and we worked on things, at a certain point I felt pressure that I was the poster child for a good marriage after infidelity. When things started to crumble, I worried that people were going to think I was a fraud. I wanted my marriage to work. Yes, I’ve had difficult times, but I know there are people out there who have had much much worse than me. I’m so grateful for everything I’ve been given, and I want people to understand that. I’m an open book, and there’s never a question that’s off-limits. I signed up for this, and I said in my final interview [before being cast] that I never really cared about being on this show, but then I wanted to win [and get cast]. I wanted to be all-in. If you start not being yourself, then you won’t remember all the lies and what’s real.
What can you tease for us about the rest of the season? Is the you, Vicki and Tamra trio going to hold up?
The Tres Amigas are still rocking and rolling! It’s nice. I still talk to Tamra three times a day, but also I’m texting with Vicki and Kelly every other day or so, so we keep in touch. We’re come to an understanding that there are issues from the past, but we’ve agreed to disagree. We can focus on that or the good parts of our friendship, and Vicki has been a good friend to me in tough times, and me to her. You have not seen the end of the Tres Amigas.
Is there anything that you're looking forward to bringing up at this season's reunion?
I’d like to address what apparently I will be seeing: The labels that Emily Simpson has made on me. I just think she’s out of line. I didn’t threaten to kill someone at a party. If you’re going to start questioning my mental capacity, then I’ll throw it right back at ya, gal.
"The Real Housewives of Orange County" airs on Mondays at 9 p.m. EST on Bravo