Jacqueline Laurita, one of the Real Housewives of New Jersey, is gorgeous, hardworking and humble. As a dedicated wife and mother, her life is also dedicated to being an Autism Advocate after her son was born with autism.
To be entirely honest, as an Aussie girl, I would feel so much safer in a bar full of drunk Crocodile Dundee characters than in a room filled with the Housewives of New Jersey. I don’t mean that in a mean way, they’re just really intimidating. But I have to say, Jacqueline was so super sweet and easy to work with, I just adore her! She has become one of my favorite guests.
It is my pleasure to welcome Jacqueline Laurita to The Global Townhall to share her great ideas and experience with us.
Gabrielle Reilly: We are dedicated to helping people excel around the world by getting tips from people who are successful. What has helped you excel in life?
Jacqueline Laurita: Definitely the support of others and having them believing in me. I also don't accept setbacks as failures, instead I think of them as opportunities to grow and learn. I try to look for the positive and the humor in everything. It keeps me going.
Gabrielle Reilly: How did you get on the Real Housewives?
Jacqueline Laurita: A talent recruiter from Siren's Media Production company went to our local hair salon looking for a group of interesting, affluent housewives/mothers/friends to join a cast for a reality show. The salon owners suggested me as one of the women. I called production back out of curiosity. I talked with them for 2 hours while they asked me a lot of questions about my life. I was very open and honest with them. The next step was an interview on camera. I was then offered a contract. I helped to recruit the rest of the cast as well. I had never really watched a reality show entirely before, so I did not know what to expect. They told us it was called Jersey Mom's. It wasn't until later, when contract negotiations began, that they told us we would be part of a Housewives franchise and that the O.C. housewives had already aired their first season. I watched it, and it was relatively calm, so I was ok with it. I really didn't think our show would go anywhere or anybody would really watch it except for our family and friends. LOL! I did it mostly out of curiosity to see what goes on behind the scenes of reality shows and for the experience. I was surprised and amazed at how successful it became.
Gabrielle Reilly: What has the experience been like for you?
Jacqueline Laurita: It was an interesting experience all the way around. I got to see myself as others saw me. I learned a lot about myself and others. It helped me to grow as a person. I love all of the new and interesting people that I had the opportunity to meet through it all. It was cool to experience our press tour in the beginning. It was so interesting being on all the talk shows and meeting the hosts of shows that I had seen on TV, or listened to on the radio, or being in magazines that I used to read, prior to our show, and now knowing what the behind the scenes are all about. I always felt so undeserving of all the attention. I didn't have a skill, or talent that I was sharing. I was just being me.
It also has some great perks, such as people sending my family all kinds of free stuff hoping we will share it with others. I always do. I am so grateful and appreciative for what we are given. I am proud of myself for always staying true to myself and keeping myself grounded through it all. It was never about fame for me like it was for some of the others. That was never one of my goals. I just like exploring new experiences. I'm very curious about the inner workings of things.
The best experiences I've had through it all, was all the people that reached out to me thanking me for sharing my life with them because it helped them in some way. When my husband and I came out with our youngest son's Autism diagnosis, literally thousands of people reached out to us, to share their journey and resources with us, which helped us, and our son, tremendously. The support has been so overwhelming and beautiful. In turn, it felt amazing for us to be able to help so many people just by opening up and sharing our story. So many people did the same thing for us! I am forever grateful for the people that have reached out to help us, and for the platform I was given that enabled us to do the same for others. My husband and I will never stop paying it forward. We want to help as many others in the Autism community as we can and give people hope.
Gabrielle Reilly: Everyone in the public eye gets criticized. How do you personally handle that side of fame?
Jacqueline Laurita: I have a very good grasp of who I am. I know my strengths and I am aware of my weaknesses, so someone cannot convince me I'm someone that I am not. Nobody can make me doubt myself. I have a very strong support system so it makes any negativity seem like nonsense and so unimportant. I honestly only focus on the opinions of those in my closest inner circle, because those are the people that I care most about and who I deal with on a regular basis. These are the people that will remain in my life, long after my time on "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" is over.
I am great with constructive criticism. I actually appreciate it. However, once you start insulting me, you've lost my respect and I block you out. There can be a lot of rumors out there when you are in the public eye, a lot of accusations, a lot of half-truths and even lies. As long as I know the truth and the people close to me know the truth, I just look at it as entertainment for others. I learned that if you don't respond to a rumor, it passes quicker than if you try to explain yourself. People get bored and move on to the next gossip. People are always going to believe what they want to believe. I don't owe anyone an explanation. The theories people come up with about our lives are comical sometimes. Sometimes my family and I will laugh at things people will say because it is so far from the truth. If believing nonsense about me is entertaining to them, I say let them think it and enjoy it. I know my truth so whatever people are thinking and saying, it is not going to change my reality. I always keep that in mind. I know what my faults are and I'm not afraid of admitting them. If people point out my faults that I know I have, I can only agree with them and know that it's something that I need to work on. I also know that everyone has faults, so I am okay with not being perfect. I change things about myself for me and nobody else.
Gabrielle Reilly: What tips can you give on being filmed?
Jacqueline Laurita: 1. Stay true to yourself! Keep it honest and real! Someone somewhere will be able to relate to you and/or your situation and you will be helping someone else, just by being you.
2. As much as you love them as people, NEVER trust your producers! They have a job to do and they are really not there to be your friends, even if they grow to like you.
3. Don't get affected by the fame because it never lasts. Enjoy it, appreciate it, but always remember who you are and where you came from because one day you may have to go back there.
4. Try to use your platform for something good to help others. Raise awareness for a great cause, educate others, send a positive message.
Gabrielle Reilly: What do you do to stay in such great shape?
Jacqueline Laurita: I try to walk at least 30 min. a day. I have a private trainer, Jolene Matthews, that will come to my house 2 to 3 days a week and do a variety of different workouts with me. I love yoga, pilates, kickboxing, strength training, all kinds of workouts. After I was done having babies, I did Medifast and dropped a lot of my baby weight. I had gained 55 pounds with my last child. I also had a tummy tuck to get rid of my extra skin that wouldn't go away after I tried diet and exercise. I'll do walking lunges around the house, calf raisers on my stairs, push-ups, planks, crunches, and a lot of stretching when I can.
Gabrielle Reilly: What does your diet look like?
Jacqueline Laurita: I usually start the day off with a cup of hot water and lemon and then I switch over to coffee or an organic green tea. I usually make myself eggs for breakfast. I make them over easy or I'll make an omelet with vegetables. Sometimes I juice my vegetables or make a fruit smoothie. Greek Yogurt with fresh mixed berries drizzled with honey is another favorite of mine. I usually will eat a salad for Lunch or make a protein shake. I'll graze on healthy snacks during the day. For dinner I like a lean protein of fish or chicken with steamed vegetables and a salad. Then I ruin my entire day of healthy eating at night when I get the munchies and reach for pretzels, chips, or something else bad that I should not be eating. I stay up late after the kids go to bed and I start making bad snacking choices. I'm working on that. The weekends are all about pasta dishes, steak and lots of vegetable dishes. In the summer, we bar-b-que a lot. In the winter, I make a lot of hearty soups. Escarole, sausage and white bean soup, Turkey soup, wedding soup, Pasta Padahn', Pasta Piselli, things like that.
Gabrielle Reilly: What are your aspirations for the future?
Jacqueline Laurita: I've been trying to get my Beauty Website launched for a while now. It's almost there. It's called AltruisticBeauty.com. I am so excited about it. The Beauty Industry has always been my passion. I have been a licensed cosmetologist for 20 years now and I've always stayed involved on some level. I also have other amazing professionals in the industry blogging with me. I am also so busy with my family, trying to recover my son and raising autism awareness whenever and where ever I can. It has become my mission. I want to be the best Autism Advocate I can be. Sometimes I am pulled in so many different directions that it's hard for me to complete a task. I'm all over the place. My husband and I recently decided to write a book together about our journey with autism so far. I want it to be relatable, comforting, informative and encouraging. We chose Sterling Lord as our literary agent. I also have some other book ideas in mind, so stay tuned. I love writing!
Gabrielle Reilly: I saw you lived at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas for a while. Small world, I proudly serve on the Command and General Staff College Foundation Board as a Trustee alongside some of the Generals that have been in Command of Fort Leavenworth. Actually, I have many Generals and military officers that follow my work, so I’m sure some of them will be reading this. Tell me when you lived there and what it was like for you.
Jacqueline Laurita: WOW! That is very impressive! What an honor. They must have loved you! Beautiful blondie and smart!
I lived there when I was very young so unfortunately I don't remember very much about living there. I do remember going into a basement of a building because a tornado was coming. My father is a retired Army Colonel. We lived in several places. Kansas was the 3rd place I ever lived out of the 10 places I've lived.
Gabrielle Reilly: Actually, here is a picture taken recently at Fort Leavenworth. I bet some of these Generals were in charge when your Dad was there. He may appreciate this picture. You know your stuff! It is the intellectual center of the Army. They've trained such great leaders like President Eisenhower. The current President of Indonesia and Singapore were also trained there. I just LOVE that they bring international military officers from around the world to train there. They have built so many special relationships there among the foreign officers that go on to be leaders in their country, that a lot of global conflict has been avoided over the decades as a result. People would be so impressed if they knew the full extent. You will have to come visit Kansas again!
Gabrielle Reilly: Thanks so much for your time Jacqueline, I've really enjoyed it!