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Ali Shops Blog

Dishing DC Housewives

September 14th, 2010
by Allison Kaplan

Jason Backe wears a lot of hats (if he didn’t, his bald head might get cold): hair colorist to the stars, including Anne Hathaway and Renee Zellweger, co-owner of the Ted Gibson Salon in NY and DC, L’oreal spokesman, social networker and lately, honorary housewife on “Real Housewives of D.C.” He’s at the side of those self-absorbed, but well-tressed ladies every time I flip to Bravo lately, so I called my fellow Minnesota native for the scoop. Listen in on our entire conversation, which aired on Shop Girls, myTalk 107.1 on Saturday, Sept. 11.

He was part of the show before some of the housewives: Backe was working on Mary Schmidt Amons’ hair when she got a call from Bravo asking her to participate. The show has been a huge boon to the Ted Gibson Salon, which opened in D.C. just a couple of years ago. Let’s just say no other advertising is needed right now to fill the chairs. “The response has been great. We are raising the bar for beauty in D.C.”

And about reality TV, Backe offers these insights:

  • Editing doesn’t change the story, but it does make it entertaining: “What they show is not necessarily in sequential order. They might insert an eye roll or a smirk from a completely different conversation to emphasize a point.
  • Even a mother can be fooled: “My mom called and said I was so rude to that store owner when I said (in an episode) “nice barware” when she used plastic cups. In reality, I was teasing a friend. I never would have said that to someone I just met.
  • The housewives lives really are that dramatic: “Oh, it really is like that.”
  • What you meet is not what you get with White House crashers Michaele and Tereq Salahi: “They make a really great first impression. When we first met, we had a blast. Michaele is charismatic, really easy to chat with. Her husband is…odd, difficult to have a conversation with…What guests do outside of the salon is not up to me, but she had a certain sense of entitlement and didn’t want to pay bills. That’s what we’re in business for. She doesn’t come to the salon anymore.”

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