Renee Graziano is the daughter of Anthony Graziano, who according to the Federal Government is a high ranking member of La Cosa Nostra. Renee grew up during the heyday of the mob — when things still fell off trucks and people still dropped off envelopes even when it wasn’t your birthday. Immersed in the culture since birth, she embraced the lifestyle as her own and became a “mob loyalist”. Renee has always dated and hung out within this circle–a place where she met and eventually married (then divorced) Junior. Together they have one son, AJ.
When Renee was young her best friend was arrested and sentenced to many years behind bars. This was her first real introduction to prison, but unfortunately not her last. Thanks to a circle of friends living the street life, Renee has visited over 83 prisons and written hundreds of letters to comfort the many friends she had on “the inside.” This correspondence gave her the idea to turn her love of the “the life” into a greeting card company called JAIL MAIL.
Renee sometimes longs for the good old days, but thanks to her friends she is slowly starting to realize that this is not a life she wants her son to lead. She struggles to balance her allegiance to the street life with her hopes that her son will live a life free of it all.
Renee is hysterical, Renee is crazy, and Renee is drama, but she will be the first to give you the shirt off her back. Everyone and anyone who knows her, knows this.
Karen Gravano is the daughter of Sammy “The Bull” Gravano, the infamous mobster who cooperated with the government to help take down John Gotti and the Gambino crime family. Karen was just 19 years old when her father turned on the mafia, a move that left Karen devastated.
While her family relocated to Arizona to start over, at first Karen stayed behind in New York–her way of showing that she had trouble with her father’s cooperation. After a couple years, she joined her family in Arizona where she became a licensed aesthetician, opened up a lucrative day spa, and had her first and only child, Karina.
After 12 years of coming to terms with who she is and understanding her father’s choices, Karen is ready to close up shop in Arizona and return to Staten Island. Beyond reconnecting with old friends, Karen hopes that coming back will help her stand on her own, out of shadows of her father’s infamous past.
Strong, driven and business minded, she has already inked a deal to write a book about her life and is ready to revisit her old stomping grounds and reconnect with her old friends.
Drita D'avanzo is the wife of Lee D’avanzo, who federal prosecutors allege is the leader of a Bonanno and Colombo crime family farm team. While Drita’s husband is serving time in prison for bank robbery (for the second time), she is left alone raising two young girls, Aleeya (9) and Gizelle (2). Drita comes from a strict Albanian household who defied her parents and married someone outside the community — an Italian.
Drita grew up different from the other women. She was raised in the projects of Staten Island after her family settled there from Albania. Her father, a strict soccer coach, raised her to be tough and play with the boys. She was never allowed to cry, and had to do hundreds of push-ups and sit-ups a day to meet her father’s high standards. Drita was invited to play for the Women’s National Soccer Team and was all set to go until she met her first love, “the streets”.
She dated street guy after street guy until ultimately finding and marrying Lee. At first everything was great and she had everything she wanted. However, Lee was allegedly robbing banks (among other things), and before she gave birth to their first daughter, he was escorted away by the Feds for an 8 year prison term. Drita had their baby, and stood by her man — who promised her that he would never leave her again.
During Lee’s first prison sentence, Drita realized that she must do something to stand on her own two feet in case she is ever left in a position like this again. She studied to become a make-up artist and worked for various high end cosmetic companies while her husband was away. Almost eight years later Lee came home and they started over. They built a new home, made baby number two, and Lee even got a legitimate job. However the good times were short lived. Again, Lee was arrested and sentenced to prison for 2 — 5 years for similar crimes. Needless to say, Drita was not happy. But, like so many times before, she picked up the pieces and carried on. As a mother of two with a husband in jail, she struggles to keep it all together while figuring out if this is a lifestyle she wants to continue to live. Currently, she freelances as a make-up artist and plans to develop her own cosmetic line.
Drita is tough as nails and infamous for her many fights and knock outs growing up. Now a mother, she struggles to control her anger and often feels nostalgic for times when a problem could be solved with a fist.
Carla Facciolo grew up in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn, where she had a similar upbringing to Renee Graziano. While her father went to prison when she was young, it didn’t stop her from living the lifestyle she grew to love.
When Carla was 17 she started dating street guys and really got a taste of the life. She hung out with girls like Renee, and others — whose parents were either in the life or extremely wealthy. Carla likes the finer things in life and thought she’d met her match when she married Joey Ferragamo, a stock broker.
Although Carla thought she had finally gotten away from the lifestyle she lived growing up, her husband eventually got indicted and convicted for a boiler room scandal and Carla once again found herself dealing with the ins and outs of prison. Carla tells her twins, who she feels are too young to know where their dad is, that he is away at work. She is a stay at home mom and sales rep for a juice company. She takes good care of herself and prides herself on her hair and great body.
For more on these fascinating women, be sure to check out their full bios on our official Mob Wives show page. And don’t forget, Mob Wives will make its highly anticipated debut on Sunday, April 17, only on VH1!