An Interview with Real Housewife of NYC - Amanda Sanders
Last week I had the pleasure of speaking one-on-one with Amanda Sanders, one of the newest cast-wives on the Bravo series, The Housewives of NYC. She is a savvy single mom balancing a full plate of professional successes while raising two beautiful young daughters. We had a frank discussion about her unexpected journey to single motherhood. The good and the bad of her ex-husband’s key to her home, what it’s like being a Bravo housewife and the exciting launch of her new jewelry line.
KZ: Are you a full-time single mom? In other words, do you have 100% custody?
AS: The court ordered that we share custody 50/50, but honestly it’s more like 75/25, because mom’s home is the girl’s main residency. Doesn’t really matter though, because my former husband is always around.
KZ: Doesn’t that bother you?
AS: He has the keys to the house and it’s for the benefit of the children. I have no choice, but to accept it. I think it’s the nature of the new divorce. We’re not living in a Kramer vs. Kramer world anymore. Divorce is always awful so if allowing him to sit on my couch alleviates the tension, I do it.
KZ: What do you think happened in your marriage?
AS: It didn’t work for him. He didn’t want it anymore. I don’t believe marriage works anymore. With two income families the dynamic of the institution has changed. Women are equal to men these days. I married a man with a great profession, a lawyer. I thought for sure he’d be making the lion share of the income, but it didn’t work out that way. I think that is too hard on everyone.
KZ: What is the greatest joy in being a single mom?
AS: The best part is being able to have alone time with my daughters. When they were younger we would go get mani’s and pedi’s and blow-outs all the time. Now, their world is opening up. They like fashion, the theater, going to museums. We just saw the Charles James exhibit at the Met. I really appreciate being able to see things through their eyes.
KZ: What is the most challenging part of being a single mom?
AS: Single mom’s become the first call. For example, camp called me when my daughter got sick, not her dad. So I had to leave my client to go pick her up. Fortunately, my client was a mom too, so she understood. But I don’t have the same back up system anymore. I need to outsource for everything, even to go get an aspirin. I mean if it’s the middle of the night and one girl gets sick and I need to run downstairs to get meds, I can’t. I’m as independent as I can be, but I still have to be resourceful.
KZ: So do you believe that single moms can “have it all”?
AS: I would like to say yes. But I’m not sure. When you have more than one kid it’s very hard to have it all. It takes a village.
AS: What is having it all anyway? Everyone has a different interpretation of having it all. I have a great business and that is successful. “having it all”. But divorce doesn’t mean success. I would like to have a man in my life.
KZ: You are one very busy single mom with the Bravo TV show, your consulting business and a new jewelry line. What’s your secret to the single mom juggling act?
AS: A lot of it is writing everything down and being organized. I make lists and cross them off. I also believe that if things don’t work out the way they’re supposed to, you’ve got to have a plan b and not lose focus.
KZ: I am sure your village has helped a lot with the launch of your new jewelry line. How did that all come about?
AS: The line is a collaboration with Lane Jewelers, called Bling Jewelry. I’m an image consultant, so I take my clients through the process of updating their hair, make-up, and body language. I take them shopping and have always felt that accessories are the icing on cake. Jewelry pulls the whole outfit together. Creating this Jewelry line was a natural extension of everything I do. I’m excited about this collaboration with Lane Jewelers, because I always felt that beautifully crafted inexpensive pieces was missing in the marketplace. This new line makes it easy to add finishing touches. I know when I have a bad day, I don’t buy shoes or a bag, I buy jewels. They never make me feel fat!
KZ: What do you enjoy most about styling your clients?
AS: When they look at themselves in the mirror and feel differently. They see themselves through a different lens; like ten pounds thinner, or that they can get the date, or the job. It’s the gift that they’ll always remember.
KZ: What is it like being under the microscope of reality TV?
AS: The housewives producers had been asking me to be on the show for long time, even when I was married. I didn’t do it then, but as a divorcee, there are different rules, financially and emotionally. I took a big risk. But it’s a less comfortable project than my styling or jewelry. There’s a 50/50 chance of looking good or bad, and I don’t like the lack of control in that. I have two girls who may see something that’s not exactly as it was intended.
KZ: How do you feel about the way the producers have portrayed you in the show? Is there anything you'd like to change or anything you'd like to clarify for the readers?
AS: No, I was not happy with my portrayal. I do, however, understand what makes good TV. I wish the public would be more interested in the upside of people rather than the drama. I take my career and my love of what I do seriously. My intention was to do the housewives show as a jumping off point to have my own reality show about how I transform people.
KZ: How do you hope being a single working mom will inspire your children?
AS: I hope it will encourage them to follow their dreams and do what they want. When they enjoy their job, then it’s never a day of work.
KZ: Single moms always struggle to strike the balance between dating and parenting. What’s your secret?
AS: I’ve probably been on 300 dates. A lot of them were a function of making myself put on my clothes to go out to have a martini. It’s important for a woman’s self-esteem to feel sexual or alive and get noticed.
KZ: Is there a special family ritual you share with your kids?
AS: We read a very special book called the "kissing hand"... Whenever they are sad to know I am with them in spirit!
KZ: Do you have a ritual or something you say that helps keep you motivated and inspired every day? Something you could share with other single moms that they could incorporate into their daily lives.
AS: Coco Chanel would say, “There are no ugly women just lazy ones.” So, I say put on the mascara or the spanks. Wear the heels that pinch you. Dress no matter what, because when you do this you project a different feeling, otherwise you go into the abyss of living in nothing and that makes you feel like Jello.