Here at AllAboutTRH we love getting the scoop on all things Housewives. From the latest dirt to behind the scenes gossip – we love to ‘mention it all!’ So when we had the chance to get an exclusive chat with David Yontef from the popular podcast, Behind the Velvet Rope, we jumped at the chance to hear how he went from Bravo fan to Housewives friend and how you can too!
AllAboutTRH: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to host the podcast ‘Behind the Velvet Rope?’
David: Going from a fan to a friend is really my story. I went to law school and practiced corporate tax law, and if that doesn’t sound fun there’s a reason why. I quit law and fell into recruiting and ran my own staffing Agency for a couple of years. After I sold my company I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next in my life. I was always a fan of reality TV, even back to the early days of ‘The Hills’, ‘The Simple Life’, ‘Survivor,’ ‘Big Brother’ – pre Housewives shows. I discovered the Bravo channel early on and got really into shows like ‘Queer Eye,’ ‘Blowout’ and ‘Project Runway.’ When they started RHOC it was the perfect hybrid of ‘Desperate Housewives’, ‘The OC’ and reality TV – I got into it right away and it was love at first sight.
How and when did you make the jump from a fan that watched the show to a friend of all these Housewives?
We’re not talking about Julia Roberts or Brad Pitt – these are real and accessible people. Early on, when I was watching I knew there was a way to insert myself into the story. I wrote a book about going from a fan to a friend, how to do it and how anyone can make that jump. It really was a conscious decision to make a career out of it and started putting myself in places and situations to meet the right people and eventually turned it into a business.
Who was the first Bravoleb that you met?
I’m a New Yorker and was a Bachelor on ‘Millionaire Matchmaker.’ After appearing on the show I had a lot of publicists reaching out to me telling me I should do something with this. I had a publicist invite me to lunch and was going back and forth until she mentioned her other client Kim G. (from RHONJ) would be there. She was the first Bravoleb that I met as it was way before social media was what it is today. I also became pretty good friends with Patti Stanger after appearing on ‘Matchmaker’ (for a glimpse at David’s time on Millionaire Matchmaker click here.)
You were recently on Vicki’s show and she’s notorious for not liking anyone. Tell me about how you two met?
With what I do and my work ethic, I don’t like to say no to any opportunity. I was booked for a small radio show in Wisconsin for a morning segment. It was a smaller market, but I went on this show and we were talking about my guests and their reality segment. They mentioned they just had Vicki Gunvalson on their program and I was able to get in touch with Vicki that way and we just hit it off. The thing I love about Vicki is that she’s a business woman. If you have a 9 AM call, she’s calling at 9 AM. With some of these reality stars it can be 9:30 or 10. We just hit it off and what I love about Vicki is what you see is what you get.
Do you find it difficult to maintain a friendship with a lot of these ‘wives and still stay neutral when interviewing them?
That’s such a good question because, yes, it’s hard. Here’s the thing, there are days when you know people on a personal level but you have to ask questions that your audience wants to hear so you have to ask yourself, ‘where do I draw the line?’ When you’re friends you also get those texts and calls at 3 AM asking to edit something out, but you also have a duty to your audience. It’s a fine line between being friends and keeping the integrity of the interview. There has been some casualties along the way as you’re dealing with real people. It also works both ways, as you may want to be friends at first and you may not end up liking them – be careful what you wish for! In the industry you are going to end up pissing people off – some people get over it and some people stay mad at you.
Any favorite guests or memorable moments from your podcast?
I love having Tamra on – she just brings it and always has a lot to say. One of the more memorable interviews, and just because I wasn’t sure what to expect with this guest, was Charli Burnett (of ‘Vanderpump Rules.) Charli had a small role on the show and I didn’t know what to expect with her. She started talking about this ‘mean girl’ treatment from the OG girls that she received on the show and I was shocked. I thought this was going to be a nice, cute chat and all of a sudden it turned into something completely different. This was before the Bravo firings and it was really shocking how she was treated. I also loved having Randall Emmett on as he doesn’t really talk to the media. We just hit it off – he’s a great guy and it ended being a great interview.
When I started the podcast it really was to tell these stories that I thought people would find interesting. From drinking all night with certain housewives to interviewing all these Bravolebs, it’s titled the way it is to really get a behind the scenes look.
Special thanks to David for speaking with us at AllAboutTRH and be sure to checkout the ‘Behind the Velvet Rope’ podcast.