- Celebrity News -Former 'Princesses: Long Island' Star Chanel Omari On Why Bravo Canceled This Iconic Series
It was the summer of 2013. We'd just finished watching Season 1 of Vanderpump Rules, which premiered in January, and we were ready to be wowed by real friends doing real things with real drama once again. And Bravo delivered: in June of 2013, Princesses: Long Island premiered.
Princesses: Long Island was a phenomenon, an ahead-of-its-time classic that followed six 28 to 30-year-olds in the depths of Long Island, New York's social scene... all from the comfort of their parent's mansions. The six college-educated cast members had moved back home and were navigating the pressures of finding themselves while also finding husbands. Their parents, who for the most part were traditional and religious, were very invested in their daughters' romantic prospects. Very invested.
It was Bravo’s 2013 one season wonder and at the forefront was the beautiful Chanel Omari, a modern Orthodox New Yorker who was at the center of the friend group. The show begins with Chanel saying, "When you are Jewish, live on Long Island, are 27, and are still living at home, it's time to panic."
Chanel is now 37 years old, not living at home, and doesn't seem to have a whole lot of reason to panic.
She's currently a successful comedian, performing at clubs all over New York City, and she's host of the podcast Chanel in the City, where she interviews Bravolebs and guests within the pop culture universe. Her audience is a "single girl in the city, who's on a budget, navigating dating, lifestyle, restaurants, et cetera," she tells me.
But Chanel will always be a Princess to the many of us who loved watching the show and will always wonder why it was canceled, especially since it seemed primed for franchising with its Princesses "colon" format. But I digress.
Below, Chanel tells me about her background, how she got her start on reality TV, the history behind Princesses: Long Island, and she talks about her Bravo family, too, of course.
Melissa Lacks For The Dipp: How did you got your start in entertainment?
Chanel Omari: Well, all princesses have to start somewhere. I was very blessed to grow up in an upper class family, but I had been working since I was 14 years old... waitressing, hosting, bartending, you name it. After college [Chanel got her degree in Broadcast Journalism & Communications from Northeastern University in 2006] I was really interested in TV and entertainment and got into production and producing, eventually securing production assistant roles with Donny Deutsch, Maury Povich, and eventually, I worked my way up to producer for names such as Bill Cunningham, Barbara Walters, Katie Couric, and Anderson Cooper.
Since Princesses ended, I've focused on my podcasting and comedy career. Now, I'm a stand-up comedian pushing one to three shows a night, five to seven nights a week and I host the podcast Chanel in the City. They're both very entrepreneurial, self-motivating crafts and jobs, but it is all about how much you put in and what you get back.
Melissa: How did the concept of Princesses: Long Island come to be and what was the timeline and history of development?
Chanel: So, in 2012, I was producing for Anderson Cooper’s new talk show at the time on CNN and was very close with a girl who worked for Truly Original [the production company that ended up producing Princesses: Long Island].
As we continued to hang out, she brought up the idea of a show around the Long Island scene focusing on a group of friends and their lives and families. Truly Original then did casting around Long Island and I gave them suggestions of people, etc., and they were really looking for the organic group because, as we see now with other shows like Vanderpump Rules and Summer House, the organic group works best, and that’s where the show was born: between myself and my close friends.
What’s funny is that it wasn't supposed to be about me and my friends. Originally, it was supposed to hone in on the Boomer generation, with a focus on their kids moving back home from college and the dynamics there, but it really transformed into focusing on the kids.
Bravo absolutely loved it and instead of just ordering the pilot, they ordered the series from the start, which is extremely rare.
Melissa: Looking at 2013 vs. 2022, how do you think this category of reality TV has changed? What have you seen that has evolved in terms of producing, promotion, and more?
Chanel: I think people weren't ready for it back then. Now, you see salacious TV drama all over the network, Vanderpump, Summer House, etc., but back then, we received a ton of criticism for showcasing our lifestyle and religious views on this specific platform, which I feel was the downfall. At the end of the day, was it really worth it for Bravo to continue the series? They are a business, so they had to weigh the pros and cons.
Melissa: How would you rate your time on the show, and do you still keep in touch with anyone?
Chanel: I think everyone should do reality TV at some point in their life. I loved my time on the show and found it therapeutic in a way. But no, I don't keep in touch with anyone. While being on reality TV and receiving this platform is great, it does come with a price, where certain individuals get jealous of others' success thus there's a fall out.
Melissa: I loved you on the Real Housewives of New York episode in Season 12, titled "Just the Sip," where you co-hosted a charity event with Luann De Lesseps. What is your history/friendship with the housewife universe?
I love Luann…we have been good friends for years; we have the same publicist who introduced us. She is really the chilliest, most down to earth housewife. She was also just recently on my podcast where she talked about her Cabaret, RHONY, what happened with the past reunion being cancelled… she is definitely a good time. When she approached me to help her co-host her event, I was absolutely all for it. Loved helping out for a good cause and it was so much fun.
I also have great friendships with Eboni K. Williams, Barbara [Kavovit], Braunwyn [Windham-Burke] and Vicki [Gunvalson] from the OC, Kyle [Richards] and Gizelle [Bryant] were also all on my podcast. Love them all. And what's nice is that Bravo always instilled the idea of having your fellow Bravolebrity's back and always supporting them.
Eboni and Braunwyn will actually be at my upcoming comedy show trying their hands at comedy on Thursday, April 14th at Broadway Comedy Club.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. You can find Chanel here: @chanelomari; @chanelinthecitypodcast; @theallstarcomedyshow