If you’re anything like me - a massive reality TV junkie - you’ll have been excited to finally get a glimpse of what we can expect from the latest addition to the Real Housewives franchise, with The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City making its premiere!

Ahead of the debut, we got the chance to chat to the incredible Meredith Marks all about the show, working as a celebrity jewellery designer and just who needs to 'get well soon’ (what a tagline!).

Here’s what she had to say…

Meredith Marks opens up her once very private life to the world in The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City / Picture Credit: Bravo
Meredith Marks opens up her once very private life to the world in The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City / Picture Credit: Bravo

The Real Housewives franchise is evolving once again with Salt Lake City; was it an easy choice for you to get involved or did you really have to think it through?

Well, I think that anyone who goes on a reality show without thinking it through is completely insane! It was not an easy choice. It’s a very big decision, especially for someone like me; I’ve always lived my life as a pretty private person so, putting everything out there on television all over the world was a very big deal and a very big decision to make.

How did you cope with this new life of being followed by cameras everywhere you go?

Well initially you’re somewhat self-conscious, nervous and anxious and, as time goes on, you kind of almost really just forget they’re there or, you just don’t really care. At some point you just say, ‘I’ve gotta live life and I don’t care!’

We’ve seen some of the show in teasers, but how will Salt Lake City differ from other shows in the Real Housewives franchise?

Salt Lake is very unique in that - I’ve lived in many different places, I’ve lived outside the US and I travel internationally all the time - Salt Lake is culturally different to the rest of the United States. 

It’s a very different culture and you have all these different elements of different religions, ethnicities; you are in a city that’s just surrounded by natural, incredible beauty and so, for me it’s one of my favourite things that I can wake up and ski down to my store on Main Street in Park City. 

It’s incredible. It’s totally different in Salt Lake. 

To be honest, I lived in Canada for a little while and it feels more like Canada than it does the US culturally. It’s very interesting and it’s very different here.

It certainly looks like a beautiful setting. As you mentioned you’ve been a very private person before the show, but from the teasers we see that your personal life and in particular your marriage is going to be a very prevalent storyline in the series, so what can you tell us about that?

That is correct, it is a big storyline. It’s definitely what was going on in my life, both during the time we were filming and for several years before. My husband and I had been working through a lot of marital issues. It’s so early [in the season] so I think I have to leave it at that!

Moving onto the rest of the cast! Which of your fellow Housewives should fans expect you to really get on with and vibe with this season?

The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City are unlike any other cast we've seen / Picture Credit: Bravo
The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City are unlike any other cast we've seen / Picture Credit: Bravo

So Lisa Barlow and I have been friends for almost 10 years now. She is my longest-standing relationship by far on the show. 

I’ve known Heather [Gay] for a few years, but we didn’t know each other all that well; we’ve gone out here and there, and the rest of the ladies I’ve met much more recently.

I definitely am closest to Lisa - I started off that way and I would say that’s still 100% true!

Eyebrows have been raised a little by fans after learning castmate Mary Cosby is married to her late grandmother’s second husband. What was your initial reaction to that situation when you first met Mary and learned about it?

Well, first of all, as we touched on earlier, there’s nobody that doesn’t have some marital issues if you’ve been married for a while, so let’s start there and just put that out there!

Is it unusual? Of course it’s unusual to hear that. However, I am very well-travelled, I have spent a lot of time in countries where arranged marriage is very common. 

It is very unusual in the US and marrying your step-grandfather is even more unusual, but in my view if Mary’s happy and she’s okay with it, c’est la vie, we move on, you know?

I love your tagline - ‘jealousy is a disease’ - so which of your fellow Housewives need to ‘get well soon’?

It’s interesting because, there was a lot that went on behind my back. So honestly, I will be deciphering who’s responsible for what went on like everybody else, I will be finding out what went on myself [when watching].

There’s definitely some very vicious, jealous behaviour. I’m still not sure who’s responsible but there’s definitely at least one, probably multiple liars in this circle. So, we shall see!

Away from the show, you’re an activist, an advocate for equality, so tell us a little bit about the movements close to your heart.

Well, you know, certainly as you can see from my Instagram feed, anything that’s about equality for people is definitely the closest thing to my heart.

I live my life and act out of kindness and treat everyone as human, no matter what your choices are, your skin colour is, your religion, whatever. Everyone is a human being and deserves to have a good life and live as they choose.

Recently I know I’ve posted a lot about the LGBTQIA+ community, that is something that is very near and dear to me. It’s very important to me that people should be able to make their own choices, but it really applies to everything in this world.

Just let people be who they are, period.

I’m quite an election geek so this time is an exciting one for me with the US election going on. There’s also of course been the coronavirus pandemic so, what do you make of everything going on? It’s been quite a tumultuous year…

It really has. The whole political environment here right now is honestly terrifying. I wake up with a very heavy heart over a lot of issues going on everywhere. 

I’m originally from Chicago and recently, I have been living partly between Chicago and Salt Lake City, but I hadn’t been there when it was so violent. When I went there to visit my heart broke, I cried. 

What’s going on in our country and in our world is scary and sad, and the violence, people dying, it’s heart-wrenching. It is, it breaks my heart at the end of the day.

Moving on to your career, you’re a celebrity jewellery designer, so can you tell us a little about how you got into that line of work?

So I actually came from a completely different background. While I did start my undergraduate studies as a Fine Art major, I moved away from that and went to both law and business school and got degrees from both schools. 

I also did some real estate development early on in my career and one morning I was mugged on what would still be considered the safest street in Chicago - aggressively mugged, dragged across the street - so at that point I said, ‘I need to change something in my life’. 

My children were very young, I was completely engaged with these contractors on my projects all day long and not focused on my kids and so, I sold everything at that point in time which was a blessing in disguise because it was right before the real estate market crashed way back when, and I took off some time to spend time with my children and find myself, and figure out what I wanted.

Jewellery has always been my passion and my husband one day told me he had a business trip to Hong Kong and India, and I know a lot of production goes on there, so I studied at the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and said, ‘I wanna come with you and I may wanna start a jewellery collection and learn a little bit’. So I went and dove in head-first at the height of the worst recession of our lifetime and everything came out okay! 

Everyone thought I was completely insane but it all worked out. I didn’t go too quickly; I took it one step at a time and built up my brand, and that’s been the last 11 years!

Picture Credit: Bravo
Picture Credit: Bravo

The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City is available to stream and download now on Hayu in the UK and Ireland. New episodes drop every Thursday.

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