We finally caught up with the costume-wearing, smiling-dog-owning Renee, who was eliminated on last week’s episode of A Basement Affair. Below, she talks about being targeted by the other girls, her competitive spirit, her suggested costume fetish and why it’s important to maintain a sense of humor about yourself (especially if you’re on VH1).
What are your thoughts on this experience, looking back on it?
I wouldn’t trade the actual experience for anything in the world. It was so surreal to me and I still find it hard to believe that I did this. A lot of the girls have been on TV before, they’ve been on music videos, or have been models and all that. I haven’t done any of that. I’m just a normal person. I’ve done theater and acting but I didn’t have an agent or anything. Through editing, sometimes you see things that are you, but just in bits and pieces — you don’t see the entire you, and that probably was the hardest thing for me to accept. After a while, it was like, at least I’m begin portrayed as something. At least they will remember who I am. At least I made people laugh. At least they will remember who Renee is, whether it’ good or its bad.
Let’s talk about that: do you think your portrayal was bad?
I wouldn’t call it bad — I do think it’s funny. They don’t show a lot of who I really am. I have been looking for love, yes, but I am not desperate. I have plenty of guys that are interested in me and I’m not interested in them. In Episode 2, I said “I don’t need a man, I just want one.” I am independent, I live alone, I take care of myself, I take care of my own bills…I don’t need anybody in my life. It’s impossible to show 24 hours in a single episode, so you don’t see Frank relating to me and my experiences, like when I said to him, “I am a part of the mile high club and I like sex on the beach.” That is all very true, however, you don’t hear him tell me about his crazy experiences first. You don’t hear him tell me about how sexual of a guy he is, you don’t hear any of that. What I said was mild in comparison.
Did you feel bullied on the show?
Absolutely. How could I not? You could feel the tension in the house. Really, I felt like I had two choices: I could sit back and watch everybody else make their moves and have their time, or I could do something about it. I chose to take chances when a lot of the other girls were there more for each other than they were to actually get to know Frank. I wasn’t trying to get under anybody’s toes. I was in a competition and I think a lot of people forget that that’s what you’re there for. You’re not there to make out with each other, you’re there to find love, and you’re there to be with Frank. I told the girls straight out, if you’re not there for Frank then I’m going to tell him. I thought that was being honest with them. They all turned against me and I did feel it, so that was very difficult.
You had all this one-on-one time with Frank, he made you his spy…and then you were eliminated. Where did it go wrong?
All the girls got to his head, I’d have to say. I’m surprised I lasted as long as I did. I am a strong person, but I went through probably the most emotional abuse out of that whole entire house. I had no idea how brutal they could be. I knew people could be catty but I couldn’t believe how catty and I couldn’t believe how jealous these girls were. At the end of the day, I think actually makes me look better because I wasn’t like that. I can’t please the world. If people don’t like me, they don’t like me and that’s fine. Their comments were really just catty and retarded to me. Like, “Oh she needs to fix her nails,” or “Oh her bra is sticking out. I want to tell her but I am not going to.” That’s just lame. That’s just retarded. Whatever.
I think what may have started the rift was your story condemning women for going on TV to advance their careers.
Of course, we were all there for TV. Anyone who tells you, “Oh I didn’t want to be on TV,” that was on Frank the Entertainer is f***ing lying. The difference between me and maybe the other girls in the house is I was open to whatever happened after TV. I was open life after that the fact. If Frank and I got along and wanted to date, hey, great. But with somebody like Dana or 90 percent of the women on VH1, they’re not really open to anything that happened. They are just putting on a show.
So you were competitive for a reason, not just for the sake of being competitive?
I liked Frank. I was enjoying getting to know him as a person, and I wanted to continue to get to know him. I thought he was a very cool guy. I still do. I wish him nothing but the best. I wish the Maresca family nothing but the best. In the beginning, I did feel a connection with Frank. When I won the talent competition and found out that I had things in common with him. I liked his family so much and the experience of being there.
What was up with the “old barmaid” out fit you busted out?
I know how it came across on TV: that I am this crazy sexual addict or something. That was a Playboy costume, first of all. It was cute, it was meant to be funny. I am a silly person. I am not taking myself seriously. I figured, why not? I thought I was getting eliminated anyway, so I figured that I might as well be entertaining while doing it, and who knows maybe he’ll keep me around because he’ll be so shocked.
Was that based in reality, though? Are you a costume fetishist?
No, not really. I think they are fun and funny. I think when I go to a costume party everyone turns their heads and looks. It’s funny. I think they’re cute, but no.
In addition to being accused of snitching, people called you “weird.” Do you agree? Are you weird?
Everybody is a little weird, but in comparison to the other girls, some of them were really weird. Maybe it was weird that I was a real person. Maybe it was weird that I was extremely competitive. I think I was targeted because it was easy since I am not a mean person. I was not the type of person to start s*** out of nowhere. I am not the type of person to start arguing with you over nothing, like Dana was. I always tried to watch what I said. Even in my interviews, I would think about it. I would think, How would so-and-so feel if this was said about them? How would I feel if it was said about me? I always put myself in another person’s shoes. I shouldn’t have been that way because now looking back, I see what other girls have said about me and they didn’t care about my feelings. They said whatever the f*** they wanted. Basically some of them wanted more airtime and that’s why they targeted me but it backfired on all of them because I got the most airtime on the show, so ha!
So you’re happy you did the show?
Oh yeah, I would not trade the experience of the show for anything in the world. I had wanted to do television since I was a little kid. Doing the show is something I will never forget, ever. The experience of it was a once in a lifetime…well, hopefully more than once, I hope to get on something else. Even though I am perceived as needy and blah blah blah, I laugh at myself. If you can’t laugh at yourself, then life isn’t worth living.
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