Interview: Renee Graziano from ‘Mob Wives’ Didn’t Always Know Her Father Was a Gangster

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I was so excited for Mob Wives to air, and am already anxiously anticipating next season. It just makes sense: with the portrayal of mob wives in The Sopranos, as well as mafia rumors in Real Housewives of New Jersey and Growing Up Gotti, the show just made sense. One of my favorites from the show is mob daughter Renee Graziano, whose sister Jenn Graziano produces the show. This season, we watched Renee struggle between leaving the mob world behind and being sucked back in by her ex-husband, Junior. On the show, Renee seems to have a tough exterior, but also a very vulnerable side as well, that many find endearing. I had the pleasure of interviewing Renee recently. Check out what she had to say.

What are your impressions of mob wives during your parents’ generation as compared to now?

Oh, there would have been no Mob Wives if it was my parents’ generation as far as a television show.  As far as the women go, it was when they wanted equal rights, we got equal rights.  This is what we asked for; we got it.  Women are very strong nowadays.

I hope the message that we’re sending, not the mob wives, but for women in general is you don’t need a man to support you.  You can go out, and do it on your own and never fold no matter what.  Your children are involved in your life.  You stay strong.

What are some common misconceptions do you think people who aren’t familiar with the mob would think about the Mob Wives?

Well, I don’t think they expected us to be as harsh and as toxic at times as we are with each other.  But I do believe that they are under this impression that we’re a part of a world that we’re not.  Listen, when my son’s father would have to work, or my father went to work, they went to work. I’m sure when they got home, my mother and father they didn’t want to say, “Oh, so how was your day at work?” or “What’d you do in the house today?”  It was not; those conversations did not exist.  It was more about “Are the kids okay?  Do you need anything?”  So, I think the misconception is that we’re very much a part of a world that we’re not included in.  We’re not.  We’re women taking care of our children and our home.  Sometimes, you just don’t ask questions.

Finally, how did you first find out as a child that you were a part of this mob world?  Or, did you always know?

I absolutely didn’t always know.  My first experience for finding out, according to the government, that my father was involved in illegal activity, was in fourth grade when these kids glued an article from the Staten Island Advance to my desk.  That’s actually the first time. I knew I was different from the other children.  I never questioned it; I just left it alone.  I went home and I said, “What’s this?”  They were like, “Oh, newspapers, you know, they don’t always write the truth.”  I said, “Okay.  I love you, Daddy.”  And, I walked out, like I was too young to comprehend.