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If you’ve been on the internet even once in the past decade, there is no way that you would have missed knowing about the Real Housewives series. It has resulted in numerous reaction gifs and mentions in pop culture. It’s a franchise of reality shows that document the lives of rich housewives residing in different regions of the United States, like The Real Housewives of Atlanta, or The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and The Real Housewives of New York City. You get the drift, right? There are messy fights, big personalities, drinks thrown in people’s faces, and so much more—it’s a whole different world.
Streaming on Netflix
Despite the flamboyant AF Hollywood lifestyle that it shows, with all the vices and scandals, I cannot say one bad thing about Entourage. Everything from its opening credits set to ‘Superhero’ (Jane’s Addiction) to Ari Gold screaming “LLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOYD!” and Johnny Drama’s antics and the bevy of women walking in and out of these boys’ lives, Entourage is both the glamorous life you’d want to live and avoid at all costs, unless you’ve got an entourage of ride-or-does like Vinny Chase does.
Yes, the show isn’t always politically correct, but it is more real about the fabulous lives of Hollywood boys than Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives is about our film industry. So of course!
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If you love home makeover reality shows as much as you love getting to know the insides of a celebrity’s house, then this is the perfect match for you. Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, founders of The Home Edit, a company that is the Mecca of people who love anything related to organising, take on a host of celebrity clients and help them organise their homes. Watch celebrities like Reese Witherspoon, Khloe Kardashian, Neil Patrick Harris, Retta, and more, declutter their households with the help of the duo.
Streaming on Netflix
All I am saying is, I will only recover if I can have a bathtub full of cash to soak in, every night, and enough money to make me feel like I could be one of the investors on Shark Tank. That’s all.
The cult teen show followed privileged high-school students in Manhattan’s Upper East side, centred around “it girl” Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively), who hides a scandalous past, and her on/off best friend Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester).
Tutors figure heavily in the show’s early episodes, with students and their parents prepared to offer anything for good grades. Mark Maclaine, tutor to the children of Hollywood stars, royalty and world leaders, says this happens frequently in the real world. “I was offered a Harley-Davidson motorcycle as a signing-on gift,” he says. “I turned it down. Another family offered to pay off my mortgage. It’s not unusual for a tutor to get a Rolex when they finish work with a family. One woman was offered a £5,000 clothing allowance to update her wardrobe because she was staying with the family for six months and they wanted to make sure she was really sharp.”
Gossip Girl is also characterised by largely absent parents and children who are old before their time. Maclaine says he has seen many kids being brought up by their nannies, estranged from their families. “There are definitely cases where I’ve been asked to behave as a replacement parent. One kid hadn’t seen his mum for several days, because the staff put dinner on for him and his brothers and sisters at a different time to their parents.”
Described by its creator Lee Daniels as a “black Dynasty”, Empire charts the feuds of the Lyon family, sparked when record company mogul Lucious (Terrence Howard) announces he will name one of his three sons as his successor. Meanwhile, their mother and Lucious’s ex-wife Cookie is released from prison after 17 years and demands her share of the business, started with the drug money she was jailed for earning. When he refuses, it starts an all-out war for control of the company.
Sara Vestin Rahmani, founder of Bespoke Bureau, a high-end recruitment agency, calls Cookie “a great example of the independent 21st-century self-made woman”. But Dr Luna Glucksberg, of Goldsmiths University, says Cookie’s entrepreneurial spirit is at odds with her research into gender roles among the super-rich. “The ultra-high-net-worth women I’ve interviewed didn’t build the businesses,” she says. “It’s not their money: they marry into it, they inherit it.” Cookie’s feisty fearlessness did remind her of one interviewee, though – a very senior career woman who defied conservative conventions. “She wore no makeup, she had grey hair but she was very powerful. She didn’t play the dolly-bird game.”
Jonathan Lidster, who advises rich families on inheritance issues, says that without preparation, family dynamics can “blow up in your face” just as they do in Empire. “The eldest son, Andre, is entrepreneurial and a natural leader,” says Lidster. “But he doesn’t want to do it as his father did, which results in a massive dispute.” At first, Lucious favours his youngest son, rising bad-boy rapper Hakeem, rejecting his middle son, musical genius Jamal, because he is gay.
Lidster says sexual orientation can be an issue when it comes to succession planning, though the problem tends to arise more among the non-western super-rich. He points to the case of Hong Kong property magnate Cecil Chao, who offered HK$1billion (£80m) to any eligible bachelor who could convince his lesbian daughter Gigi to get married. This was despite the fact that she was already married to her long-term partner.
Johnston also contrasts Empire’s black cast with the almost exclusively white depictions of wealth in most TV shows. “About two thirds of the super-rich we see are non-dom, and although that includes white Europeans and Americans, a large number are non-white,” he says. “TV is not good at representing the ethnic diversity of ultra-high-net-worth individuals.”