published Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

'Real Housewives' star Caroline Manzo tells it like it is

Caroline Manzo is one of the stars of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" reality show.
Caroline Manzo is one of the stars of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" reality show.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

IF YOU GO

What: “She: An Expo for Women”

When: Saturday-Sunday

Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; noon-6 p.m. Sunday

Where: Chattanooga Convention Center, 1150 Carter St.

Two-day admission: $12 online, $15 adult at the door; $7, children 5-12; free under 5.

Information: timesfreepress.com/she or 757-6498

COMING UP

Check out what these celebrities, who will be in Chattanooga next weekend for “She: An Expo for Women” have to say:

• Wednesday: Deidre Hall, former star on the soap opera “Days of Our Lives”

• Thursday: Dr. Travis Stork, host of the daytime talk show “The Doctors”

Love her or hate her, Caroline Manzo has an opinion, and you’re welcome to it.

“The Real Housewives of New Jersey” star says she may have a little more restraint than some of her co-stars on the show, but she vows she’s always going to tell it like it is.

“For me,” Manzo says in a phone interview, “that has worked. I’ve been this way as long as I can remember.”

The Bravo TV star, wife, mother, businesswoman, author and charity supporter will be in Chattanooga on Sunday for an appearance at She: An Expo for Women, a two-day event set Saturday and Sunday and sponsored by the Times Free Press.

Manzo is expected to talk about family, success and life at the annual event at the Chattanooga Convention Center. Her message will revolve around what she says is her attitude toward everything — stay positive.

“If something bad happens,” Manzo says, “look for the good rather than dwell on the bad.

“And,” she says, “life is something you have to take chances with. Look at me. My life changed at [age] 46. By taking on the show, I’m doing something I would have never in 1,000 years expected to be doing. You have to grab the brass ring.”

She manages all the disparate aspects of her life in the same way she did when she was a young mother, she says.

“I had my kids in three years,” says the mother of two sons and a daughter. “I brought my youngest one home on my oldest’s third birthday. I was on automatic pilot, and I feel like that now. I just put myself on automatic pilot and I do what needs to be done. I have to prioritize. If it’s not a priority, it gets pushed aside and done later. That works for me.”

Manzo says she and her four co-stars “put a lot of issues out there” as their lives play out on the show.

They offer “a wonderful example of how to deal with things and how not to deal with things” and “how to exercise good and bad behavior,” she says.

“Viewers see something of themselves in at least one of us — in our behavior patterns, in our personalities, in the issues we’re facing.”

The differences between she and her co-stars — currently Teresa Gludice, Jacqueline Laurita, Melissa Gorga and Kathy Wakile — is how much of their personalities they present to the public. Among the five, she has been seen as less a diva than the others.

“Every one of us is out there in our own way,” she says. “[Maybe] the issues we’re facing on the show don’t affect me as much as the other ladies.”

Manzo says it is a privilege when people take time to come see her and hear about her journey. And if she can give them advice, it is to express their opinion “if they have something on their mind that’s jarring” because it otherwise “kind of eats you up inside.”

And if they “take a page from my book,” if they make a simple decision that changes their life, “you just do it and roll.”

Contact staff writer Clint Cooper at ccooper@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6497. Subscribe to his posts online at Facebook.com/ClintCooperCTFP.

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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