“I absolutely love Adriana [de Moura] for being raw and real and honest in anything she does,” Omari, 32, exclusively told Us Weekly. “For some people it might feel ‘cringeworthy’ to face truth and take accountability, but for me it was so inspiring and uplifting to know we don’t have to be perfect and we can say how we feel.”
Omari got her start on the short-lived Bravo show Princesses: Long Island in 2013, which followed the lives of six Long Island women. Since the show, Omari has focused on transitioning from reality TV stardom to a successful stand-up comedy career and hosting her podcast.
Keep scrolling to read Omari’s exclusive interview with Us – during which she dished on her own potential Housewife dreams, her Princesses: Long Island experience and more – below:
Us: Fans remember you from your time on reality TV. You starred on Bravo’s Princesses: Long Island in 2013. What was that experience like?
Chanel Omari: What people don’t know is that I’ve been in show business my whole life. I worked my way up from production assistant to producer on major national talk shows like Maury Povich, Anderson Cooper, Bill Cunningham and Katie Couric.
Going from behind the camera and then finally transitioning to being in front of the camera was a beautiful thing. I realized that reality TV was the chance of a lifetime to really have my big break at the time.
As performers — no matter what kind of performer you are — you want to make an impact on your audience in a real, raw way whether it’s through reality TV, acting, music or comedy. I was a struggling comedian and radio DJ at the time and needed to find an outlet and platform where my voice was actually heard. Reality TV gives you that platform, especially on Bravo targeting millions of viewers.
I had an amazing experience on Princesses: Long Island. Bravo has been so good to me during the process and afterwards as well. We still have a great relationship. A lot of the Housewives from different franchises like RHOBH, RHONY, RHOC and more have been on my podcast “Chanel in the City” so we still have that Bravo bond! We have had Caroline Stanbury, Luann de Lesseps, Dorinda Medley, Eboni K. Williams and more! We have also had celebrities like Kevin Bacon, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Melissa Rivers and others.
Us: Princesses only lasted one season. Why do you think it came to an end so quickly? Would the show work today?
CO: I think the show was short-lived because it was ahead of its time. It was an edgy show that documented six Jewish women from Long Island who didn’t have it together quite yet, despite their educational and financial backgrounds. I think that the world wasn’t prepared to watch us bare it all. I think if the show was on today, it would be a different story and would have longevity.
It was originally planned as a franchise and unfortunately, it ended after one season. I think if it were to come back it would go viral and be a fan favorite! I believe the cast and I had more to offer and open up about if we continued.
I just think it was a different time then, and now, almost 10 years later, since the world is progressing and more open to diversity. The show would have been a hit if it came back today. Never say never because with all the reboots, you never know if they might bring us back. I know that everyone loved the show. The fans still have a chance to get us back on TV if they tweet at Andy Cohen asking for the show to make a comeback! It’s always about what the public really wants, not necessarily what the networks want.
I think people don’t realize that this is a tough business. Projects get greenlit and canceled all the time. It’s not personal. The hardest part is making yourself consistently relevant without relying on reality TV or your last show.
Us: Do you have any regrets doing it?
CO: No, I don’t have any regrets doing reality TV. I think it was necessary for me to do it and face my fears. The thing with reality TV is that it makes you face your truth. You can’t run away from it.
In fact, I think everyone should do reality TV in order to get to know who they really are — their true wants, desires and needs. Reality TV made me face my insecurities and really made me dig into the person I wanted to be. I think it made me a stronger person, a person who knew what they wanted more out of life after that experience. I was able to confront situations and people in relationships and communicate better so that my relationships got better. It was very therapeutic and eye opening. I was able to be vulnerable and open up my heart and mind to so many great possibilities and relationships.
I was also able to showcase my comedy and acting skills which lead to more doors opening in my life. I was able to figure out who I was and want to be from making mistakes and great decisions in front of the world and people judging me.
Us: You’ve actually moved on from reality TV and are a successful stand-up comedian touring NYC. How did you transition into comedy?
CO: I have been doing stand-up comedy for 10 years now. I love stand-up. That’s how I started in show business. While I was performing on late-night shows, I would go to the radio station and spin and then hit the late-night open mics and performed at the hottest clubs in [New York City], like The Cellar, The Stand, New York Comedy Club and Broadway.
When I was doing comedy, I was approached by a casting producer who came to one of my shows and she was looking for “a mover and shaker” from Long Island who had a comedic and improv background. I think reality TV and comedy can be similar because they are both very raw forms of art. You have to be yourself on stage and authentic to your jokes — just like you have to be on that screen when you’re on reality TV. So, it was an easy transition to go back to stand-up comedy after Princesses because it was second nature for me.
It felt good hitting the stages again and building that muscle memory of being quick on your feet as a performer. I love making people laugh, especially for a good cause, which is why I host a monthly show called “Chanel in the City Presents: The All-Star Comedy Show at The Stand.” Proceeds go to City Harvest to end hunger in New York City. It’s important for me to give back to those in need.
Us: You also host your own podcast, “Chanel in the City,” and you interview a lot of Real Housewives. Tell us how you started the series.
CO: After Princesses: Long Island ended, I was going through a lot of challenges and mental health stuff and one thing that helped me through was going to the hot restaurants, eating good food and really immersing myself in the culture and talking about it with my guests. Since I couldn’t be on Bravo I thought of a platform where my fellow Bravolebrities could join me to chat about their experiences in the big city, what’s made them feel safe when they have had bad moments in their lives and so much more.
“Chanel in the City” is a comedy, mental health podcast covering pop culture, celebrity news and lifestyle topics. It airs twice a week and I chat, laugh and cry with my celebrity pals about the obstacles they’ve had to overcome to get to where they are now.
We have had major Housewives and Bravo talent on the podcast, as well as other celebrities, comedians and influencers such as Cedric the Entertainer and Ashley Hesseltine from the “Girls Gotta Eat” podcast.
Us: What’s been your most outrageous interview? Cringeworthy? Favorite guest?
CO: My most outrageous interview — in a good way — I would say was with Miami Housewife Adriana de Moura. I chatted with her about her divorce. She was really open and raw about it. It was one of the first times she opened up and was vulnerable about pre and post-divorce [from ex-husband Frederic Marq]. She also got candid about her relationship with Larsa Pippen and why she wasn’t for her joining the reboot. I absolutely love Adriana for being raw and real and honest in anything she does. For some people it might feel “cringeworthy” to face [the] truth and take accountability, but for me it was so inspiring and uplifting to know we don’t have to be perfect and we can say how we feel.
My guests also chat about their crazy dating stories, how to find love in the big city, red flags on what makes a bad partner and green flags on what makes a good partner.
My favorite guest would have to be Melissa Gorga from The Real Housewives of New Jersey. I absolutely love her. She makes you feel comfortable during the interview and has fun and really opened up about her marriage and how she coped with being a full-time wife, mother and reality TV star. It’s not easy even though we all think it looks easy! She’s taught us how to have it all and I love that about her. Taking it one moment at a time is the best advice she’s ever given me.
Us: Would you ever want to be a Housewife?
CO: Of course, I would want to be a Housewife! I think being a Housewife encompasses being a queen of many skill sets. I’d definitely be a Housewife for the right man and franchise. I think I’d be a perfect fit on the new reboot of Housewives of New York City with the new young hot cast because I live in the city, I am friends with a lot of them and actually grew up with new cast member Lizzy Savetsky’s husband [and] went to high school together. And I think I can be a great representation of what an independent boss woman in New York City looks like!
Us: Do you ever see yourself returning to reality TV?
CO: Yes, I do see myself returning. If I had a chance, I would do it over and over again. There’s nothing like being raw on television and opening up your life genuinely to the audience. I am also an actress. I love being on television, whether it’s authentically living my life out loud, doing stand-up comedy or acting in a series and telling a story that can impact others in a positive way.
Us: You’ve done it all. What’s your ultimate career goal?
CO: My ultimate career goal would be to have a stand-up special on Netflix and to be a full-time comedian and film actress. I love hosting too! Ideally, if I could do it all, I would. I think being a successful entertainer all around is knowing and wanting to do it all in order to create new opportunities.
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