Say “The Real Housewives of Abu Dhabi” to someone and they might be mistaken for assuming it is the name for the next reality show to hit our TV screens. And if three American housewives living in Abu Dhabi get their way, it might well be.
The American expats Vanessa Boson, Tamara Clarke and Inez Moutarde have just set up their own networking group, The Real Housewives of Abu Dhabi, an active Facebook group with more than a thousand likes and a website that they hope will be steaming with housewife chatter.
From reel to real
The Real Housewives TV franchise of the same name is about a group of high-society ladies who are followed by a camera crew as they balance their home life, business ventures and their social calendars. The title is a play on the TV series Desperate Housewives, which provided inspiration for the series.
All three ladies confess they would love it if a TV crew were to film their lives for an Abu Dhabi version of the show. “We are open to all avenues,” Boson says, then laughs. “And people who can’t watch the US Real Housewives series on TV here, they would love to watch the Real Housewives of Abu Dhabi instead.”
The Real Housewives of Abu Dhabi held their first event last week – a coffee gathering at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club. The ladies charged Dh40 a head and provided raffle prizes and goody bags to each attendee. “We were expecting 50 ladies and we had 150. It was a big success,” says Boson.
Ladies who launch
Boson was the director of Bright Beginnings nursery in the capital between 2005 and 2008, then moved back to the US. She recently took the opportunity to return to Abu Dhabi with her lawyer husband.
She started The Real Housewives of Abu Dhabi Facebook page in February after being inspired by a networking event she had attended in the US, The Real Housewives of Northern Virginia, near where she was living in Washington.
Clarke, who runs a tech lifestyle blog, moved to Abu Dhabi last December with her teacher husband and 17-month-old son. She started following Boson’s Facebook page and got in contact when Boson advertised for someone with IT experience.
The third partner, Moutarde, moved to Abu Dhabi five years ago with her husband, a project manager, and two small children.
“We have only known each other for one month, but I feel like we have known each other our whole lives,” says Boson. “Inez, she knows all trades, she is our grounder – she brings me back. I wanted to wear a Wonder Woman costume to the event today but she said no. Tamara is classy – she is a mother and a business woman.”
As seen on TV
Clarke sees herself as a cross between Kyle Richards from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Heather Dubrow from The Real Housewives of Orange County. “I like Kyle’s mothering. She makes time for her kids – and she’s gorgeous. Heather is the best businesswoman I have seen on TV, so she has a platform on the show.”
Clarke is a big fan of the Atlanta version of the show, as she lived in Atlanta herself for six years and had the opportunity to meet one of the show’s stars, NeNe Leakes, at a book-signing event. Boson also loves The Real Housewives of Atlanta and compares herself to Leakes: “She’s the life of the party, and I am definitely the party starter.”
But she admits that the first coffee morning she ever attended in Abu Dhabi, she sat by herself the whole time and went home and cried. “That’s why I did this group,” she explained to the crowd of ladies. “Women can work against each other. But we can also work for each other here. We may not ‘work’ out here. But we do make a difference to other women’s lives.”
Moutarde says she loves watching all of The Real Housewives series, “but for us it’s all tongue in cheek. I don’t wake up in the morning with my make-up on, like they do”.
“We would be the real real housewives of Abu Dhabi,” says Clarke.
The group will be holding their next main event, Cocktails and Conversation, on November 5, from 6pm to 9pm at Ornina restaurant at Al Bandar. You can catch up on the group’s activities via their newly launched website www.realhousewivesofad.com, as well as on Twitter (@HousewifeAD). They have also started up The Real Housewives of Dubai on Facebook and Twitter, and hope to hold a Dubai event soon.