“Actress Drew Sidora is known for her performances in the Disney Channel series “That’s So Raven,” the VH1 biopic “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story” and the dance film “Step Up.”
The Olympia Fields native plays the role of wife, mother and actress in a pandemic on the new season of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” which is scheduled to premiere at 7 p.m. Sunday on the Bravo network.
Viewers meet Sidora, 37, on Season 13′s second episode, which is set to air Dec. 13. The Rich Central High School graduate, who is married to business executive Ralph Pittman, is raising three children. She has the unenviable task of joining the cast of a long-running TV show that has become the flagship of “The Real Housewives” brand, thanks to notable personalities such as NeNe Leakes (who is not slated to return for Season 13) and Kenya Moore (who is back).
Sidora’s drama seems to center around her husband’s mysterious three-day disappearance. Her mother also lives in their home. She said her father is battling Alzheimer’s disease in an Illinois nursing home. Sidora chatted with the Tribune about her time on “The Real Housewives” in a recent phone interview. The following transcript has been edited for clarity and condensed for space.
Q. What made you decide to sign up for the “Housewives?”
A. It was just one of those things. I was approached back in 2015 to join the show. I was pregnant with my now-5-year-old, and while I was in Chicago visiting family, my water broke. I was only 28 weeks, so I was actually transferred and admitted into Rush (hospital). I was there for like five weeks, ordered to bed rest and delivered Machai, 4 pounds, 4 ounces, at 32 weeks. So we kind of just stayed there, and I was like, now’s not the right time.
It just wasn’t good timing, so when they came back around, we were just moving to Atlanta. I got a chance to hang out with (former cast member) Eva Marcille and (cast member) Cynthia (Bailey) at her wine cellar opening (last year). And that’s when it was like, all right, this is awesome. And so this year, here we are. So, it was kind of God. It was like, all right, three times. Three-time charm. This was the third time, and it just felt really like perfect timing.
After everything we’ve gone through this year for 2020, it was just like, why not? Why not open myself to let people get to know the real me that I usually can’t show in any movie or TV show I would ever do? This is going to be just raw and really just introduce the world to who I am as a person.
Q. Besides Eva and Cynthia, did you know any of the other cast members before joining the show?
A. I knew Porsha (Williams). I had done an interview on Dish, so I got a chance to hang out with her. She’s my neighbor, so she literally lives six minutes away from me. That was awesome. Also Shamea (Morton), who’s a friend on the show, she was in the TLC biopic, so I had met her a few years back when we filmed that movie.
Q. Was it difficult to join a show with 12 seasons of history?
A. It’s an amazing show. I know I watched the show over the course of the years. Before we started filming, I went back to Season 1 and just really got more familiar with everything. I think it’s just awesome to see what the ladies have been able to do as far as their businesses are concerned and just really showcasing how as women we can get along. We can have fun. I’m sure you have girlfriends. You know sometimes everything’s not perfect, and you have to have those tough conversations or disagreements, or whatever. I was just excited to meet the ladies. Obviously everyone’s been super awesome and just very inviting toward me. Not that everything’s perfect — but most of them are just really enjoyable, and (I’m) just getting to know each and every one of them.
Q. When did you become a fan of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta?”
A. I would definitely say my family, they’ve been super fans, so just watching it with them. I absolutely love NeNe and wishing her well. She opened the door to this franchise, and I thought she was amazing on the show. Very, very entertaining. For me, it was just about showing myself. I’ve had three surgeries on my Achilles, and my dad has Alzheimer’s, and just what I go through. I feel like just being able to share that and open my home, hopefully to inspire somebody and just to show as an actor, this is also my life. It’s not always glitz and glamour and just show that journey of an actor that you wouldn’t get to see on any film or television show that I’ve done.
Q. A (Bravo) news release mentions some marital troubles. Can you give us some more details of what the viewers will see this season?
A. Oh, Lord. They’re going to see just us. Just the Pittmans. Obviously, my husband left for three days. I did not know where he was. That was just a thing that I thought we would never be showing to 30 million viewers, but it happened. You’re going to just see us really trying to figure this marriage thing out for the sake of our family and for what we came together and for the love that we do share. We’re just really trying to be better. We’re in counseling, so you’ll be able to see that journey as it plays out. We’re just really working hard to save our marriage.
Q. You know that being on the show is usually a marriage killer, though? There’s kind of a curse that happens to couples when they go on “The Real Housewives.”
A. I refute that though because my mom is a pastor, and we do a lot of praying in our house. I don’t think the show could make or break your marriage. I think it just would probably bring things to the forefront that you may try to ignore. And so I feel like if the marriage is supposed to work, it’s going to work whether you’re on this show or not. I really feel like for us, it’s been very instrumental in helping. I’ve had to have really tough conversations and really be vulnerable, and I think, honestly, it’s brought us closer because we’re doing the work. We’re committed to our counseling sessions. We’re committed to doing our homework and really staying together, and that’s just a decision that we’ve made. Of course we’re not going to let anything come between that, but I think being able to show that to the world — marriage is not easy; divorce is not the first thing you have to do — that’s what really (we) are most excited to share.
Q. And how much will we see of your three children this season?
A. Oh, they’re all over the place! It’s a pandemic. They’re in virtual schools. They’re in the house, literally, all the time, and so you’ll see them. We don’t have a nanny. We’re just getting settled, and we’re like schoolteachers. We’re everything. They have been a very intricate part of what you will see this season for sure.
Q. “The Real Housewives” is known for escapism, but the new season begins with the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. How do you feel about the shift in tone this season?
A. It’s going to be powerful because Black Lives Matter, that’s a big deal. And it’s something that we definitely need to keep the conversation going in, so that we can continue to do what’s right and fight for equal justice and equality and better gun laws, gun reform. And now we have a new president! I think all of that is really what we’re going through, so it’s very real. It’s very raw. I think it’s great that Bravo decided to showcase that because the world needs to see that.
Q. Now that you’re on the show, what was one thing that surprised you since you’ve been behind the scenes?
A. I was very shocked. I’m like, oh, cameras are here. I’m used to takes, multiple takes, and a director, and all of those things. And this is way different. I’m definitely able to say this is a challenge for me. This is something new, but it’s definitely exciting. What you see is what you get. It is very raw. We did not plan this stuff. It just is what it is, so that was definitely just different from what I’m used to.
Q. What other TV and film projects do you have coming up?
A. Right now I’m on “Influence,” which is an adaptation of Carl Weber’s New York Times bestselling book “Influence.” It’s streaming right now on BET and BET Plus. It stars Deborah Cox, ohmigod, so many amazing people. Kellita Smith. Amazing cast. Columbus Short. That project I’m really, really, really excited about. I also am directing my first film next year. We’re in preproduction for that right now.
Q. How has the pandemic affected your career?
A. Oh, majorly. One thing through this whole pandemic, when my checks stopped, I was like, wait a minute. I still have a family. It forced me to challenge myself to realize the importance of creating your own content, so I immediately started my production company. My husband and I started Eudora Entertainment, which is a full-fledged production company. We just got distribution through eOne. We just wrapped production of our first film. Really kudos to the pandemic because although it was difficult, although it’s been super-challenging, it really forced a lot of people to just think outside of the box.
I’ve been in front of the camera, but definitely for me, getting behind the camera is going to open up so many doors to actors that may have never had the opportunity. That’s what I’m most excited about, but the pandemic really pushed me to that. To realize, you’ve got to get out here and create your own content. Get online. Do more. Write more. I’m grateful for that because the industry, Hollywood, shut down for a really long time, and you couldn’t travel. So there were projects that I was slated to do and productions went down because they couldn’t work. I was like, OK, that’s not going to happen. I’m going to create my content and try to make sure that that never happens. I’m always able to work even through a pandemic.
Q. And what do you want the viewers to know about you as they’re watching you on the show?
A. I just want them to know Drew Sidora Pittman, the wife, the mother and the actress, and really just be gentle with me. I am not perfect, and I think that’s what you will see is that I am on a journey of really just getting back to myself. I’m rehabbing my Achilles and just really inspiring people, hopefully, to know no matter what you’re going through, you can push through anything, even during a pandemic.
Q. How often do you get back to the Chicago area?
A. Normally, if we weren’t in a pandemic, I would be home twice a month visiting my dad, visiting my family. I haven’t been there now in seven months. I’m hoping, maybe when things get safe again, I can go visit around the holidays or top of next year because I really do miss my family. I had a dream about my dad last night. I woke up in tears just really wanting to see him. I’m really hoping sooner than later I’ll be able to get out to Chicago. I love my city. I need some Garrett Popcorn right about now. I need some Harold’s Chicken, so I’m definitely going to be there very soon.
Q. Now that you have a season under your belt, do you think Chicago should have its own edition of “The Real Housewives?”
A. I would love that. We have one of the most amazing cities (and) Lake Michigan. I think the world needs a Chicago “Real Housewives” franchise ASAP.”
“Garcelle Beauvais’ Thanksgiving wasn’t exactly celebratory. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star spent the day, which also happened to be her 54th birthday, isolating due to a COVID-19 scare on the set of Housewives. ET was first to report that production on the show’s 11th season was halted last week after a crew member tested positive for the coronavirus.
“We shot for Housewives on Tuesday, Tuesday night we got home and found out that a few people in our crew tested positive for COVID,” Garcelle confesses in ET’s first look at this Tuesday’s episode of The Real. Garcelle says she and her castmates all have to quarantine for 14 days, and her 13-year-old twin sons, Jaid and Jax, are temporarily staying with their father, Garcelle’s ex-husband, Mike Nilon.
“We do all the protocols,” Garcelle tells her Real co-hosts. “We get tested at least three times a week. We get tested before we shoot. You know, my kids get tested, I get tested, anybody who’s in my household, and you know, we did the right things, but at the same time, it just shows you that this virus — you can touch something, you can… you know, it’s not necessarily just from people.”
“Hopefully everybody will be healthy, and we’re down for a few weeks, but then we’ll be back to work,” she adds. “But luckily for me, we do The Real from home, so I can still do this job, which I’m thankful for.”
Garcelle says she has no symptoms, has had multiple negative coronavirus tests and continues to be tested multiple times a week amid her quarantine.
Season 11 of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills will feature Garcelle alongside Lisa Rinna, Kyle Richards, Dorit Kemsley, Erika Jayne, Sutton Stracke, as well as new ‘Wife Crystal Kung Minkoff and new “friend of” Kathy Hilton. It’s slated to premiere in 2021.”
“One is the mother of a pop singer best known for failing to impress the judges on the The X Factor.
Another has rubbed shoulders with Donald Trump, while a third is a 57-year-old thrill-seeker.
They are among seven glamorous and successful women aiming to put Jersey back in the TV spotlight in a new reality show.
The Channel Island’s first small screen claim to fame came in the Seventies with Enemy At The Door, about wartime life under Nazi occupation.
But perhaps Jersey is still best known to many viewers as the setting for Eighties detective drama Bergerac, starring John Nettles as unorthodox ex-cop Jim Bergerac.
Now The Real Housewives Of Jersey hope to show viewers a different side of island life.
The ITV reality series aims to portray everything from its picturesque tranquil beaches to the glitzy party scene.
And yesterday the cast of the show, which will begin airing at the end of the month on ITVBe, was unveiled.
Tessa Hartmann, mother of British singer and X Factor contestant Tallia Storm, will be joined by businesswoman Ashley Cairney and natural medicine guru Hedi Green.
Fashionista Jane Rayner, socialite Kate Taylor, model Mia Ledbury and estate agent Margaret Thompson round off the cast.
A short trailer gives a glimpse into the women’s lifestyles as they are seen swimming in a luxurious outdoor infinity pool, getting off a private jet and, of course, sipping champagne.
ITV says the ten-part series ‘will follow the highs and lows of our marvellous Housewives and their families who all live life to the full on the island while bringing fun, laughter, tears and of course, plenty of glamour’.
It is the second UK version of The Real Housewives franchise – there are more than a dozen covering various parts of the US but the only British location until now has been the award-winning The Real Housewives Of Cheshire.
Executive producer Mike Swindells said: ‘Having spent an incredible summer embracing all that the beautiful island of Jersey offers, we can’t wait to introduce the world to this magnificent location and our raft of exceptional new Housewives.
‘As viewers would expect, the lives of The Real Housewives of Jersey are as complicated as ever.’
The entire series will be available to watch on the ITV Hub on the same day it launches on ITVBe, in the week after Christmas. Here we profile the programme’s seven stars.
She may be a 57-year-old mother of three daughters but that doesn’t stop Hedi Green skydiving, motorbike riding and paddleboarding.
The ‘warrior of life’ has lived in Jersey for 35 years. A practitioner of natural medicine who believes in the energy of earth and healing, she has three clinics.
Originally from the Midlands, Jane Rayner, 56, has been living in Jersey for five years. The fashionista is twice divorced and currently engaged – so hoping it’ll be third time lucky.
Sir David Attenborough is one of her heroes and she is keen to do her bit to protect the environment.
At 58, Margaret Thompson is the oldest Housewife. She moved to the island when she was 18 and has worked her way up from pot washer to the self-styled ‘Queen of Jersey property’.
Originally from Scotland, Miss Thompson was pictured rubbing shoulders with Donald Trump at a New Year party in 2016. Her dogs have their own following on Instagram.
Kate Taylor, 51, has lived on the island for 30 years and has become well known on the Jersey social scene for her gregarious character and extravagant outfits.
She is an ambassador for a number of charities and is into yoga and wellness.
Tessa Hartmann, 50, is the mother of singer Tallia Storm.
She is originally from Scotland and moved to Jersey five years ago with her husband, composer and film director Sascha Hartmann.
The couple began their PR agency Hartmann Media in 1996 and she has represented designers including Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren.
Former model Mia Ledbury, 44, originally from Australia, moved to Jersey only five years ago with her husband Dan and their two daughters.
She is beginning to dip her toe back into the modelling world after taking a break to have children.
Ashley Cairney, at 31 the youngest Housewife, is the only Jersey-born girl on the show and a self-made businesswoman.
She is married to Ben, her high school sweetheart whom she has been with since the age of 17, and the couple have two young children.
They each run their own business on the island.”
“Jo De La Rosa has a new significant other in her life! The Real Housewives of Orange County alum recently revealed that she has a new boyfriend named Taran, and the two have already taken a major first step together.
In a series of November 30 Instagram Stories, Jo revealed, “We are doing the thing that all new couples should do when they first start dating.”
“Maybe not when they first start dating,” Taran chimed in.
“OK, and we are doing the thing that all couples should do before getting engaged one day,” Jo clarified. “Take a long road trip together. So we are off to San Francisco, which is about a good eight hours away. But knowing all of the stops we’re going to do, it will be 11.”
Jo previously introduced Taran to her Instagram followers and podcast listeners. In an October 3 post in celebration of National Boyfriend Day, Jo shared a selfie of the two with a heartfelt caption.
“My whole heart and soul. If you’ve been listening to PopCandy for the last few months now, you’ve been hearing me gush about ‘Broadway Boy’ and sharing our crazy story about meeting in the middle of COVID. Happy to finally show you the handsome face behind the name and why my heart has felt so full these days,” Jo wrote. “@tarangraymusic thank you for being a light and a gift in my life.”
Taran commented on Jo’s sweet post to add, “I love you baby girl. I wouldn’t want to battle this year the way we have with anyone else.”
In a later Instagram post, Jo revealed that the pair met virtually and kept in contact for a bit before meeting in person.
“Found this pic of our first time ever meeting after 3 months of COVID dating over a screen! Can you tell how excited we were to finally meet in real life?” Jo wrote. “I think I’ll keep him!”
Jo even shared a little dating advice with a follower who commented on the post, “I might actually try again if I could find a sweetheart like you. I haven’t dated for 10 years.” Jo shared the secret to her romantic success, writing in response, “Try Hinge. That’s where we met and I think the best pool of quality people who are looking for love there, but that was just my experience having tried all the major dating apps.”
“In the November 29 episode of The Real Housewives of Potomac, we got a glimpse at the newest addition to Karen Huger’s House of La’Dame and one of her “best projects to date,” La’Dame by Karen Huger X RPGShow. Karen teamed up with her hairstylist, Steven Thomas (also known as “The Hair Doc”) and launched an exclusive wig line, which she introduced to the rest of the ‘Wives during her “Wig Shift” party.
We recently caught up with Karen and Steven and got all the tea on how this “bold and sexy” wig line came to be. Read on to learn how these two create their hair magic.
What inspired you two to launch a wig line and what has that process been like?
Karen Huger: I have worn wigs for quite some time. I had that wig shift on national TV and that was my aha moment. So, I had been looking to develop my own wig line — one that fit and feels wonderful. When RPGShow presented the opportunity to work together to create the collaboration, I knew I wanted Steven to be by my side as the creative director. He is a genius hairstylist!
Steven Thomas: Creating this wig line with Karen is one of my best projects to date. It’s gratifying and has allowed myself and Karen to get closer and bond. Karen gives me freedom to fly creatively with her guidance, which is the ultimate reason why I love being a part of her glam team!
How did you start working together?
KH: A few years ago I was looking for a new hairstylist and I heard about Steven. As you know your hairstylist is someone who you spend quality time with. Once we met, it was pure magic.
What is your work dynamic like when creating hairstyles?
KH: There are just some people in your life with whom you gel effortlessly. When I find a look I want, I discuss it with Steven and he styles my wigs with that goal in mind — with a bit of Hair Doc extra.
Do you ever disagree on what looks good?
KH: We work together and feed off of each other to get to what I envisioned… then we end up elevating the look!
Has Karen’s style changed at all since working with Steven?
KH: My style has evolved. I always have my classic look, now just with a modern twist.
How do you choose the wig looks you’re going to create?
KH: I think about what women want and what women need to help empower themselves to be the best they can be. If there is one thing I know, it’s that if you’re having a great hair day, nothing can stop you.
Explain the meaning behind your wigs’ different names.
KH: Each of the wigs in my bold and sexy line has her own personality/mood. Victoria, for example, she’s a queen. She goes from boardroom meetings to a night out with her friends. She’s powerful, intelligent, sultry, elegant, and versatile. When you wear one of the wigs from my collection you’ll know the Grande Dame is by your side.
What do you have planned next for your La’Dame empire?
KH: La’Dame is not only beauty… beauty is only the beginning. I am so excited as we continue to grow. The sky’s the limit!”
SALT LAKE CITY