They’ve come to blows, some swear like navvies and one housewife has even accused another of throwing a sex toy “during a girls’ lunch”.
Welcome to the wild, uncensored and – at times, unedifying – world of the Real Housewives of Sydney, which looks set to become (for some) the latest in guilty-pleasure, must-see, watercooler TV.
A genteel, CWA meet of a show, this is not.
So who are the Real Housewives?
Beautician Matty Samaei, 43, is Iranian-born and known as “the queen of Double Bay”. She’s engaged to partner Michael, mum to daughters Sahara, nine, and Paris, seven.
“If you’ve had Botox in Sydney, you’ve probably been treated by me at least once.”
Lisa Oldfield, 41, has been cast as the provocateur (left). The wife of former One Nation politician, David Oldfield, Lisa is a businesswoman and mum of two sons, Harry, six, and Burt, four.
“I’m bringing the comic relief – but I don’t sugar-coat anything.”
On the right is jewellery designer and artist, AthenaX Levendi, 41. Australian-born and Athens-raised, AthenaX is married to husband Panos and mother of three, sons Alexander, 16, Pavlos, 12,and daughter Myrella, nine.
“I’m no cookie-cutter housewife. I’m eccentric and I’ve got a temper.”
Then there’s Melissa Tkautz, 42, whose impressive resume includes actress, model, singer and mum to daughter Ayla, six, and Cuba, three. She’s married to a husband she prefers not to name.
“I’m actually quiet and introverted, so becoming a Housewife is daunting. I cried when I signed the contract. I was so scared.”
On the left, we have entrepreneur Victoria Rees, 52. The divorcee mum of one to son Austin, 12 , this former interior designer has just launched an anti-ageing beauty product.
“I’ll be friends with some of the girls for life after this.”
On the right is party planner is Nicole O’Neil, 38. A former Miss Australia (2002), this softly spoken events guru is married to husband Adam and has two daughters Nawal, 12, and Neve, nine.
“I’m very confident in who I am as a person and I live to be the example I want my girls to follow.”
Krissy Marsh, 46, is the model mum.The Brisbane born ex-model speaks fluent Cantonese and recently sold her real estate business. Married to husband Billy, she has three children; sons Billy, 13, and Nicco,11, and a daughter, “my princess”, Milana, eight.
“I’ve already had a drink thrown over me during filming.”
With old-name families, lucrative businesses and, most importantly, reputations to uphold, why have the well-connected Sydney housewives opted to lay their undeniably glamorous lives bare?
Melissa’s taken a practical approach. “I’ve been in the industry for a very long time, but I’ve never done reality TV,” she says. “The way things are now, if you want to work and be current, you have to do reality TV.”
The “spiritual and eccentric” AthenaX admits she’s keen on the limelight.
“I’ve always loved the arts and creativity and, as a personal challenge, this intrigued me. I’ve always wanted to be something in entertainment.”
Victoria, though, took some convincing. “Krissy is an old friend and she asked me to do it,” she says.
“At first, I said, ‘No, you’re out of your mind.’ But then she said, ‘Why not? You’ve just got divorced and you’re sitting at home doing nothing!’ I wasn’t quite doing nothing, I had just launched my beauty business Wrinkles Schminkles, but then I thought, ‘Why not?’”
The 10 one-hour episodes of the first season will begin on February 26 as a companion to the Real Housewives of Melbourne, which has completed three successful seasons.
“Please. Sydney is the Emerald City; it’s international, so it makes sense to base a version of Real Housewives here,” says Lisa. “I’ve made some jokey gibes about Melbourne being an also-ran, but their housewives don’t like it.
“Gamble (Breaux) took offence and said she had mops with a better head than mine and that she’d never heard of me. I replied (via social media) that I don’t do my own mopping, so I wouldn’t know what one looked like – and that she wouldn’t have heard of me, because I made my name in the boardroom and she made hers in the bedroom.
“Clearly, those girls are rattled! Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight!”
Not all the housewives are quite as confrontational. The statuesque Krissy, whom Matty describes as being the “mother hen” of the group, says she’s been horrified by some of the behaviour on set.
“I’ve had a sex toy thrown at me,” she says. “Athena threw a drink – meant for Victoria – over me. Thank God I was wearing my beautiful black Stella McCartney outfit, so no stains. Frankly, I’ve been gobsmacked.”
Her old family friend Nicole O’Neil agrees. “My daughters are at a very impressionable age (they’re 12 and nine), so I don’t think I’ll let them watch every episode,” she says.
The women have bonded outside of the show, with Athena using her meditative powers to help Lisa locate some lost jewellery.
“It was a brand new, $70,000 black and white diamond bracelet and I’d torn the place apart looking for it,” says Lisa.
“David [her husband] was going mad at me, yelling ‘why don’t you ever put your jewellery in the safe!’ I was at my wits’ end, so I asked Athena to meditate on where it could be.
“A few hours later, she calls me and says, ‘It’s in your house in a white container’. Sure enough, when I looked again in my white laundry hamper, there it was, caught up in a pair of stockings. It was insane!
Athena is eclectic, esoteric and just amazing. We’ve become very good friends.”
Krissy regales The Weekly with a story about her, as she describes them, less-than-attractive pet poodles, who are fluent in Cantonese. “They’re redheads with overbites and I stupidly called them Bondi and Bronte when we were living in Shanghai,” she says.
“It was cute in China, not so much when I’m yelling out to them on Bondi Beach. I have to yell at them to hurry up in Cantonese, though, because that’s what they understand. Chinese tourists think I’m yelling at them!”
Should you be interested, it’s possible to follow Krissy’s dogs on Instagram, where they have their own account, @bondiandbronte.
Their bio reads: “We’re two dogs from China now living it up in Double Bay around fast cars, awesome people and our great owners.”
Such is the world of a Real Housewife.