One of our favorite Bravo stars, Margaret Josephs, just released her new memoir, Caviar Dreams, Tuna Fish Budget, and it’s full of so many juicy details about her life. In fact, The Real Housewives of New Jersey star revealed an unknown secret about the show that she explained even further during an EXCLUSIVE interview with HollywoodLife.
Did you know that Margaret almost joined RHONJ in 2013 — three years before her eventual addition to the cast? In her book, Margaret says the RHONJ casting team approached her and thought she would be “a great fit” for the show. Sadly, she was already under contract with her own show that she was hoping would get picked up by a network. It was called Marge In Charge, and it would have centered around her life and business. The Bravo casting department loved Margaret and actually picked her to join the cast after they watched a tape she filmed for them, but the timing wasn’t right.
And years later — as we now know — Margaret got a second chance. Her friend told her that they were hiring a new cast member ahead of Season 8, so she filmed a new interview video and within a week they asked her to join the show. “It was such a crazy whirlwind,” Margaret writes in her memoir.
What we found most interesting, though, was the fact that Margaret almost joined the show ahead of Season 6, just after Caroline Manzo left the series. As fans of the series know, one-season wonders Amber Marchese and the twins (Nicole Napolitano and Teresa Aprea) joined the show that year, while viewers also saw the return of OG star Dina Manzo. So would Margaret have joined those ladies or were one of them added after she was forced to drop out? And what would the drama have been like that year with Margaret in the mix? We couldn’t help but ask Margaret these questions during out EXCLUSIVE interview with her earlier this week.
HOLLYWOODLIFE: I’m loving your new book. And I love the title. How did you come up with that?
MARGARET JOSEPHS: I came up with Caviar Dreams, Tuna Fish Budget because I always say I’m not from the lucky sperm club. And I always had big dreams, but I never knew we didn’t have a big budget growing up. And then once I finally became an adult, I said, I always made something out of nothing. And I built a life, you know, just started at my kitchen table and started my business that way from a tiny little nothing with no money in the bank for my business. And really, it grew from there. So I always said, If I can do it, you can too. And it was just a really fun tongue-in-cheek way to live my life. So I just thought it was a great title. I can make anything look like a million bucks.
HOLLYWOODLIFE: When you first announced the book, you said you would reveal ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’. Why would you say you were so willing to share every detail of your life in a much more intimate way than what we’ve seen on TV?
MARGARET: Well, on TV, you see about 25-30% of my life. And people feel they know me and everything about me. But there’s so much more to me. You just get to see an hour a week for a few months a year. And I had a very interesting life prior to getting there. I reinvented myself numerous times — I always say the way you start in life is not necessarily where you’re going. So I thought it was important to say, yes, I am a mom. I have a natural born son. I choose to keep things private. To the respect of my children. They didn’t choose this life that I chose. They didn’t choose the mistakes I made, of course. I did have lawsuits, I’ve made a ton of money, and I’ve lost a ton of money. I grew up with a single mom in the ’70s. That wasn’t common. I choose not to drink, but I could have gone in the opposite direction by growing up with a party girl. So there were just so many things and choices that I’ve made in life that made me successful but it easily could have gone in the other direction.
HOLLYWOODLIFE: Was there anything you included in the book that maybe you thought twice about?
MARGARET: No. I wrote a lot of intimate details about my first marriage. But I was — I’m so close with [my ex-husband] Jan. And we both loved each other. And he knows everything that we did together. And it was hard to relive that part for us, because we had such a beautiful family, so it was hard. Those moments were hard to relive.
HOLLYWOODLIFE: You also shared other tough moments from your life, like the sexual harassment you experienced at a young age in the workplace. And on RHONJ, Jennifer Aydin made a joke of it. How did that make you feel?
MARGARET: That was very upsetting. And I’m still upset about it now. It’s actually victim shaming. And I think that’s why women don’t come forward. And because I didn’t give every intimate detail right away on the show — but you will see that. I wind up giving more of it away [later], when I read an excerpt from the book. But I think it’s a shame. And that’s why women have suffered and men, you know, people have suffered for so long while never coming forward. I was shocked when she threw such a vulnerable moment in my face. But I think also, she’s not very worldly. She’s never had to go through something like that, thank God. But I hope she learns from it in the future. I’m moving forward, but I was sad. I was very sad about it.
HOLLYWOODLIFE: You also revealed in your book that you were originally asked to join RHONJ in 2013, and I did not know that. Was that season six after Caroline Manzo left?
MARGARET: Yeah, it was season six. And because I had prior obligations for a different show, which I discuss in the book [that never transpired], I couldn’t do it. And it was just, you know, it just wasn’t meant to be and timing is everything. It wasn’t the right timing. And obviously, I didn’t get my own show. [It] never happened. Then, that contract expired, and when [RHONJ] had come back to me, it worked out perfectly.
HOLLYWOODLIFE: If you did join the show during Season 6, which also featured the twins, Amber Marchese, and Dina Manzo, how do you think you would have done, as opposed to coming in later with Siggy Flicker and having all that conflict with her?
MARGARET: Maybe they wouldn’t have had Amber and [her husband] Jim [as part of the cast], or maybe — I don’t know. I just think I was on at the right time. I don’t think I would have interacted very well with them. I think I would have gotten along well with Dina, but Jim and Amber were totally different people. I just don’t think it would have worked out as well. Season six just wouldn’t have been the right time for me, even though my career was going great.
HOLLYWOODLIFE: Why do you think Siggy Flicker had it out for you the first season you joined the show?
MARGARET: I think she was thinking that I would be more of a sidekick for her, and be like her. But you know what, I think we’re just such different people. And I don’t think she was used to having anyone challenge her. We’re two different people. So I think she was shocked that I even answered her back or, you know, commented to her. And so that upset her immediately and put her on the defensive. I’m authentically myself, and she likes to put on something that’s not very real. I know the real Siggy just from being around town. So I think that frightened her a little bit. I knew the truth.
HOLLYWOODLIFE: What are your thoughts on Teresa Giudice and Jackie Goldschneider’s feud? It’s been said amongst the cast that there’s a double standard when it comes to stuff involving Theresa — do you agree?
MARGARET: I do agree. Because if anything was ever said about Teresa’s husband, she was always so upset. And I stood by her when you know, someone said something about her husband. I stood by her. So when she said what she said about Jackie’s husband, I told her to apologize, so we could get it over with and be done with it.
HOLLYWOODLIFE: There has been a lot of fan hype for Caroline Manzo to come back to the show — would you be into that?
MARGARET: I’d totally be into it. I think she’s great. I think she’s smart. I think she’s grounded. Yeah, I’d be into it. Absolutely.
HOLLYWOODLIFE: How do you think Teresa would handle Caroline’s potential return?
MARGARET: I think Teresa might not be happy at first, but you know what? I think she would deal with it the way she deals with anything else. She’d take it. At the end of the day, Teresa is a professional, a trooper, and she gets through anything.
HOLLYWOODLIFE: And what is the biggest takeaway you want people to get from your book?
MARGARET: To be inspired. Where you start in life is not necessarily where you’re going. You can make anything really come through if you just go for it and not to give into fear. You really can reinvent yourself at any given moment. Every day is a new beginning, and your past doesn’t define you.
New episodes of The Real Housewives of New Jersey air Wednesdays at 9pm on Bravo.