The new VH1′s show about Staten Island women involved in the mob lifestyle, described as “The Real Housewives on steroids” by its creator, is expected to become the latest hit on TV.
Mob Wives that premiered last night (April 17) at 8.00 pm on VH1, follows four friends at a crossroads, struggling with their identities and families as they start over while their husbands or fathers do time for alleged mob-related activities.
Watch the ‘Mob Wives’ promo & read further:
They dress in furs, drip with gold and look every inch the gangster’s moll – but series creator Jennifer Graziano, daughter of an alleged Mafia counselor, said their lives are anything but glamorous.
Jenn Graziano : “I want everyone to know that these women are just like anyone else, like any other single mom out there. The show to me is really about the struggles, trials and tribulations these women go through and hopefully conquer throughout the season.”
But we must not forget that few single mothers have quite so many underworld connections – or spend quite so much time coming to blows with their friends.
The cast features:
Karen Gravano -daughter of Mafia turncoat Salvatore.
Her father cooperated with prosecutors to take down John Gotti and the Gambino crime family. He admitted killing 19 people in a long criminal career and was imprisoned in 1992, but being highest-ranked informer in the history of crime won him early release in 1995.He moved to Arizona in under the federal witness protection scheme, but eventually left the program.
Gravano said she was ‘devastated’ when her father turned informer and at first refused to join him in Arizona, but she eventually moved there ten years ago to open up a ‘lucrative day spa’, according to her official show biography.
Now she has returned to Staten Island to write her own memoir…
‘One of the reason why I chose to go back is because I want to write a book about being the child of a gangster, I chose to write this book to close that chapter of my life so I can move on.’
Drita D’avanzo -bank-robber’s wife, whose husband is currently in jail.
D’avanzo was brought up in Staten Island in a strict Albanian family. Her father, a soccer coach, taught her to be tough, never allowed her to cry and made her do hundreds of sit-ups a day.
Her family disowned her because she married an Italian, Lee D’avanzo, who prosecutors claim is a high-ranking member of the Bonanno family.
He first went to prison for bank robbery when D’avanzo was pregnant with their first daughter Aleeya, now nine.
He was released three years ago, her husband got a legitimate job and the couple had another daughter, Gizelle.
But last year he was arrested for bank robbery again, and is now serving a two to five year sentence. She works freelance as a make-up artist as she tries to support her family.
‘Prison time is per cent more difficult on me and my kids than him…’
‘I’m sensitive, some people hurt my feelings and I punch them in the face.’
Renee Graziano – daughter of an alleged high-ranking member of La Cosa Nostra.
Graziano’s father is Anthony Graziano, allegedly a high-ranking member of La Cosa Nostra who is currently serving time in a North Carolina jail for racketeering.
She became a ‘mob loyalist’, marrying and divorcing Hector Pagan Jr, who was arrested last year in a Mafia sweep.
They have a 16-year-old son, AJ, who she wants to keep clear of the mob.
Her younger sister Jenn created the series, and describes her sister as ‘the most warm-hearted person you’ll ever meet.’
Graziano has her own card company, Jail Mail, which enlists letter writers to comfort inmates on the inside.
‘Call me a Mafia princess, call me anything you want.’
Carla Facciolo – wife of a stock fraud convict.
Facciolo grew up in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn, and her father was sent to prison when she was a young girl.
She started dating ‘street guys’ when she was 17, but eventually met and married a stock broker, Joey Ferragamo.
She thought she had escaped the mobster lifestyle – until Ferregamo was jailed for stock fraud, which she describes as ‘not a bad crime’.
Now she raises the couple’s twins by herself, and is in the process of divorcing Ferregamo.
She also works as a sales representative for a juice company.
Facciolo is known as the ‘sex kitten’ of the group.
‘[When I visited prison] half the people I grew up with were all there, I felt like it was a reunion because everyone I knew was there.’