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iRealHousewives Exclusive Interview With RHOJersey’s Tessa Hartmann!

Jean-Claude, our NYC correspondent, recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. Tessa Hartmann from The Real Housewives of Jersey. The successful businesswoman and mother-of-four talked to us EXCLUSIVELY about joining the ITVBe hit reality series and teases what viewers can expect from the remainder of the season and much more. Read our exclusive interview with Dr. Tessa Hartmann below!

"Hello everyone and welcome once again to Claude's Corner on I’m Jean-Claude Langerholc I recently got to sit down with Real Housewives of Jersey star Dr. Tessa Hartmann, where we chatted all things Jersey, the difference between Cheshire and Jersey, who she’s remained in touch since filming wrapped, navigating COVID-19 while filming opening up about her battle and surviving breast cancer and whether she'll return next season." - Jean-Claude

How were you approached to join RHOJersey?!
TH: I was originally approached by one of the producers about two years ago and literally it was in a capacity of I do the Jersey style awards here which very glamorous red carpet big event and they actually wanted to talk to me about the show which was in it very early stages they were putting together a teaser and they asked if they can have all my footage from the style awards because my footage we are sponsored by a plane company and Bentley was my partner so they wanted all the glam footage to showcase jersey I guess and at that point I was very much into it but from a perspective of it would help all the brands I look after and the clients I have here and it’d be great I didn’t actually think about being on the show because at that point I was working full-time and I didn’t think I’d have the time and I knew that these things take a long time to progress and we jump forward to January last year and they came back to me, "we got a broadcaster the shows gonna go ahead we’re gonna start filming in the summer we’d really love for you to do it, do you wanna do it? I actually I would like to do it but I can’t because I travel so much back and forth to London for work that I just don’t think I can devote the time as much as I’d love to do it cause I work full time" they said "please think about it," I was like I really don’t think I’ll change my mind then COVID happened in March, the planes stop flying I work in fashion retail, I'm a consultant so that business - that all stopped overnight. I said to my husband, "you know this is an opportunity cause suddenly now I had the time." I had introduced the producers to loads different of people on the island and I called up one of the guys and asked how is it all coming along and he had said "yeah, we’d still like you to do it" and I had said "guess what? I got more time now so I can do it" they asked if the whole family would do it yes! We are all here we can’t go anywhere we’re all a bit stuck, so why not in for a penny in for a pound! 

How long did filming take?
TH: It was about three months of principal filming all over the island and I think the masters went on a month and a half after that so we kinda started around the end of July and we finished at the end of October. I think the confessionals were done in early December. 

JCL: Did the locals have many issues with production bringing the cameras to Jersey?
TH: They were very good, you know, being part of a big network there were lots of things they had to fulfill. Jersey is quite different here, in terms of other places you have to get a business license, they were working with a local production company as well but from an economical perspective they were bringing in crew members over here for the best part of 4 or 5 months and they employed a lot of freelancers locally as well which was amazing and so that was my pitch. Anybody that spoke to me that complained about it I was like "look, think of it from a business perspective it’s a major franchise showcasing our amazing island, and what about all the opportunities and economic benefits we’re gonna have and one of the exciting things." For me, I’ve spent most of my life supporting upcoming talent, when they came to do the title sequence at the end of filming they were gonna bring their team to do hair and makeup, I said "look we some really good guys local creatives they've never in their life worked a job like this. How about you give them the chance to use a local photographer, local hair, local make-up local stylist. I’ll introduce you to them all but what a wonderful gift that would be for all those creatives working on this tiny island." And let me tell you, it was probably half the price of cos’ let's be honest - the shots were fabulous and the team was absolutely brilliant I was thrilled for that and I really feel that’s the benefit and legacy of these productions if you can think outside the box and actually think about the business benefits to the world creativity and entertainment, it’d be great.

Tessa and her family at her investiture at Buckingham Palace 

If you could redo your tagline what would it be?
TH: Gosh, that’s a good one. I think my tagline would be “Always The Moral Compass" because at the end of the day I am a businesswoman but I have very high values in the world of business integrity, honesty I am a mother so I always try to direct my kids down a good morality root and I think that’s just my character. You know, I'm not going to deny, you know, I've seen loads of things or social media, which is fine. I have absolutely no problem being called a boss bitch and I think that is just society that you know refers to that name for any women that dare to stand above the parapet and people see and be confident and run their own business. So that doesn't intimidate me at all. But I think that yeah, I think moral compass would be.

Every franchisee has a nucleus, as the main lady, do you consider yourself that? 
TH: Do you know what I don't know? I don't know the answer to that question yet because this, we're only on, although I would like to think, I think the downloads have been incredibly and well-received, I don't have that two figures yet. I know that most of the people in my channels, my social media has gone through the roof and scene and everybody seems to have been watching it but for those on terrestrial with all me on week 3, so I think that's probably a question to ask at the end of the show I know that certain people are loving the family. I love that they love the family because we're all quietly all quite mad and slightly dysfunctional and but we're all very creative. We all worked really hard and I think once you get to know us, you know, we're all a bit mad and fun you know? I think the biggest ingredient as I said to the kids about this is to have fun. You know what I say each to their own life, even that wouldn't have necessarily work for me because my world is my family, you know, my business is even like a little extension of the family and everybody's a little bit involved. My kids are grown up with having a mom that always worked. So it's not strange, but I don't think I could have done it a without my family's support getting them all grouping them all into it and actually getting them all involved a bit so that we could actually experience it all together and have fun with it.

Do you see yourself doing another series?
TH: I think if they did another series it would be great. I mean, you know again it's too early doors. I mean certainly, if I were going by the comments on my socials, you know, the world is crying out for a second series. I'd be very surprised if it didn't because it's been so well-received. I mean having worked in social media branding for many many years, you know there's going to be a certain amount of treatment. I'll be honest with you. I was expecting a lot worse. I thought that you know they will be a portion of people that won’t like this but actually, 99.9% of all my comments have been incredibly positive and wanting more of the Hartmans and what more of the kids and just loving the dysfunctional dynamic that we seem to have.

The Hartmann Family (Credit: Tessa Hartmann)

What separates you girls from the cast in Cheshire? 
TH: I think it's a completely different culture here. I think the thing about the UK as I think that the islands feel much more cosmopolitan and I think Cheshire feels, you know, it's like incredibly successful. So what 11 Seasons or something, but you know, it's quintessentially Manchester as a city in the UK and its culture is very orientated around that area. I think that the lovely thing about this particular franchise is that you know, we've got Australians of English would put the Scots you've got Jersey means it feels more eclectic mix. It feels much more international because we're an island that the temperature is certainly more Mediterranean because you know Manchester is like Glasgow if the weather is not great. Whereas you get to experience that wonderful outdoor lifestyle, which I think feels more of an international product than Cheshire.

Do you get on or have you met any of the girls from Cheshire? 
TH: No, I haven’t no. 

Do you see yourself becoming Kate's big sister since filming wrapped? 
TH: The thing about Kate is, she's very funny and she does have a big heart. I think my my biggest problem is as a mum. I can't help but trying mother people and so if I see someone's got a problem. I instantly want to try and fix it and help and I think that you discover that as you go along and I'm not 100% gushing. You know, I'm Glaswegian through and through and what you see is what you get. So, you know, I can't pretend to be nice. I might be slightly cold, but you know people will discover that when and if I give you my loyalty or have for life, but I'm not going to pretend I'm not going to be desperate to be someone's friend that needs to happen organically and I think with Kate, you know, I love her son to bits, my daughter Tessi is very friendly with him and he's a lovely Charming young man. He was estranged from his mum and you know, it was lovely for me to try and help them get back together so if that was my only job then I'm absolutely over the moon over that.

Credit: Tessa Hartmann

Have any friendships changed from when you guys started filming to wrapping?
TH: I wouldn't say change, I think evolved because I think the truth of the matter for these things is you don't really, I don't really know these women. I knew Margaret [Thomson] a little because you know, she's on property. When I first moved to the island, we bought our house from her company it wasn’t actually her who handled the sale but everyone knows Margaret. She's very well-known on the Island. I didn't know Hedi [Green], who's fabulous. I'm very fond of Hedi and I'm really fond of women that have a focus and a passion, you know what I mean? And Hedi is passionate about her work and her research and her Reiki. She's very, very spiritual and very giving and kind of reminds me of Joanna Lumley a wee bit. And so she's great and I think everybody, I think it's kind of the early days, you know, we had a lot of laughs and there was a lot of you know, interesting debate shall we see but then that's what happens when you put seven women together and ask them to spend all this time, you know? I think that is why I think they actually cast very well because we are so different. There is not one character that is the same. You know this is, this is why […] I was saying it somewhere, I did not join the show to make friends and that is not a bad thing and I am not embarrassed about saying that. If I come out of the show with no friends. That is not an issue for me either. I am being authentic to myself. I am real, raw, and honest. And have I made a few friends? Yes! I have made a couple of friends. And that is what is important.

What separates you girls from the American and Australian installments?
 TH: Well, I would say, automatically, I think it is our Scottish banter - banter as in humour. I think the Scotts are a canny bunch. I think we are extremely hard working. And my favourite word is hustle, because that is all I have done my whole life is work and hustle. But I think the most important thing is that we are very much self-deprecating. And as I said initial […] and actually there were loads more family stuff that they filmed that did not […] make it. Gotta get as good as you get. 

Yeah, and I would have loved for that to be seen because that is our world. You know, our world is sass, you know, pizzazz, banter, and fun. You need to be able to hold your own ground and I think that, that is what I think […] like for instance: Sometimes in the American shows they are quite cruel to each other. And where as I would rather […] Let's say I am sitting with like six of my best Scottish girlfriends, we could say the same things but it would be banter, because we will say it laughingly. So, I think that is what I, as a Scotts person could bring to the American dynamic. Girls loosen up and have that banter, but just strip away the venom a little bit and still have that, have that banter. Have fun with it. You can still be a cheeky bugger.

Do you see it expanding to more cities in the UK?
TH: I mean that is a really interesting question. I think the thing about Jersey is that it ticks all the boxes. Doesn't it? I think because, you know, you got that British culture. So it is quintessentially British, as part of the British Isles.

It is part of the British Isles that people have not actually seen because it is an Island in-between England and France. And so it feels kind of […] it feels very cosmopolitan, but also the streets are British but interestingly than you also got a very big French influence here because the street names and the roads and everything is all in French. So, I think that it ticks a lot of boxes that set well internationally. So, I am not sure about another UK one. I think that they probably got enough between Cheshire and this. 

Tessa getting a CBE  from Prince William (Credit: Tessa Hartmann)

They took twelve or eleven series to get to Jersey. Do you think […] you know, here they released them like hot cakes.
TH: I think it was probably a difficult sell because you know America is just so diverse and there is just so much happening with so much going on. I think we are more colloquial and parochial - at the same time! I think that is maybe a slightly negative side about the Brits. We are quite stubborn and on our little island. And I think for people to understand that they need to kind of grow with us. And I think that the Cheshire one is very much a reaching, you know, it is British. It is Mancunian which is Manchester that is completely different from saying Yorkshire, Glasgow, or even Edinburgh, Belfast or Cardiff. I think that that's why probably the to be sufficient for the UK. Who knows, who am I.

Have you gotten to meet any of the international ladies yet?
TH: No, but I did get some fabulous Lisa Rinna lipsticks and I actually I am lipstick aficionado addicted to lip sticks and I don't know if you've seen the whole series yet. But I'm one of my daughter's for my birthday. Got me A lipstick fridge which is fabulous who doesn't want a lipstick fridge frankly. And because I keep all the lipsticks used to keep them all in the fridge in the summer because they get all and I have a gazillion colours so we got this and then I got sent these Lisa Rinna lipsticks and I thought I'm going to give her a really serious review here. And if I don't like them just going to be honest. I have to say she nailed it and I did say that. I did Tessa talking thing on my Instagram and I got like 34 thousand views or something because I did sit down and analyzed all the colours, the gloss and the liners, she did a really good job. 

Tessa's husband Sascha Hartmann (Credit: Tessa Hartmann)

You mentioned that your husband Sascha is European - what part of Germany is he from?
TH: Well, it's a very strange one. So his father was German, but he grew up in Italy. So his schooling was in Italian so and his mother's actually got Russian heritage. So he feels more Italian because his schooling and he grew up in Italy and his first language was Italian albeit still speaks to his dad in German. So he's got this kind of like nondescript Euro file accent. 

What's the difference between Jersey and New Jersey? 
TH: I think that again it gets back to that cultural thing. Doesn't it? What I find really interesting about New Jersey, I would say they are the closest to the Scotts because you know, I mean their culture and their manner and their humour, They got that dark humour. So I think they probably very tend to me in terms of once you get to know them and the facial expressions. That's very Glasgow. so I think there are from me as a Scott's person in Jersey. That's a similar to I think we're probably a little tame here yet, but we're only getting warmed up but I think there's lots more to come.

Did you watch any of the shows prior to joining?
TH: Well, this is a really funny story. I think I follow a lot of wives but I didn't actually watch a lot of the shows literally because I'm always working and that full time but I do I feel as if I’ve watched them because I follow lots of their social medias. So I'm watching all the clips and stuff like that. But just before I think it was the week we're about to start filming. I said to my husband "let's watch one of these, you know, the American ones," we watched Beverly Hills, New Jersey, and Atlanta and I tell you I bloody love the women from Atlanta. There are quite clearly bonkers but brilliantly bonkers and I love that and I love Beverly Hills and ladies. I do think they could have a bit of Scottish sass injected into that. Sometimes I want to say, "come on girls, you know, relax a bit take that stick out your..... and just have a bit of fun instead." I think they take it too seriously, sometimes where they get so aggressive and angry sometimes whereas actually I just feel as if I want to make it more we call it in Scotland taking the piss it’s a very British expression more and be able to laugh a bit more. But you know, hey if they want me over there, that's fine. I'll go for a while.

If there’s a reunion what you be wearing? 
TH: Oh, I love full-on glamour. I've worked in the fashion business all my life and there are some amazing British and Scottish designers. Look, we've got Christopher King who's a friend of mine who's phenomenal. There's another guy who used to be a creative director for Diane von Fürstenberg called Jonathan Saunders who’s Scottish phenomenal. So there's a lot of young designers. There's a guy that I actually helped who used to work for me as an intern you would love him, Charles Jeffrey. Have you heard of Charles Jeffrey? So you need to look him up. So I actually - he was like the young darling of British fashion now he's very eccentric, very eclectic, works a lot with incredible Scottish Fabrics tartans’ and tweeds and things and he was you know, he was like the King of London Fashion Week last year before all went a bit mad and was an intern for me and I gave him a job and then I helped finance his first collection and now he's in Vogue, he’s traveling all over the world. He's real, he's a Trailblazer. But for me, I am I'm all about fashion for my mood. I feel like pitching up in a ball gown and a pair of trainers then I will follow my mood if I feel that wearing a sweatshirt and a pair of jeans then I follow my mood. I would like to think that it was a reunion again. I would see what my mood was like, but you know in our house you go big or you go home. 

What is something you’ve learned about yourself doing reality T.V?
TH: It's probably quite an emotional one because I am sure if you follow me on social media find out I had breast cancer about three years ago in 2017 and when I finished all my treatment and my hero come back, whatever I have this tendency, perhaps as a mum and it's a survival thing, but I parked it. Didn't talk about it and discuss it. I didn't bring it up don't get involved and all those things. You know, I'm like that’s [chapter is over], I want to close it. So on the show and in my friendship group, we don't talk about it. It was just something that I didn't talk about but suddenly I was doing the show which was kind of like a social experiment wasn't it? Because I was hanging out with all these women. Yeah, right. So I was with all these where we didn't know - naturally, things come up when your life - and it came up in conversation. One night and it was really hard for me because I felt f*ck. I'm not going to be able to talk about this without losing it and we actually did talk about it and they were naturally inquisitive and that's okay. So it came out in the show and it was a very spiritual, powerful movement. But what I have learned about myself is I would never in a million years have expected that resonate with so many women. I am absolutely gobsmacked by the amount of young women that are messaging me about I mean, it was a flipping sentence. I don't need - I don't know if you've seen this episode. I know, I shared something with my husband and it just had just came out. I didn't think about it. Just I said a few things and I've lost count of how many literally hundreds and hundreds of messages. I feel exactly the same way your words. What you said is exactly how I feel and what I said was at the back of your head It never really leaves you and as much as you want to try and park it and hide it, it always - never goes away, but being the feisty Glaswegian stock that I am - my mom was there or not ill get up, give yourself a paracetamol and crack on that is our mentality. So I have to say that it's depressing as it was to discover. How many women are affected by this. It was also weirdly comforting because I feel like actually I maybe could’ve shared this earlier and taken the support. So from this side it was lovely that they took the time to get in touch, that it resonated with them and that there’s a survivorship and 25 years ago woman didn’t survive. I always thought what did I do it wasn’t in my family and you over analyse it I was 47 when I got and what was surprising was the young woman with children who had it. I felt better talking more about it and that we can all help each other and crack on, I never predicted that and that a couple conversations would resonate so much and unless you been on that trip you wouldn’t know it. I didn’t have a single hair on my body I got my eyebrows tattooed on because my world is glamour and im not gonna bloody not be seen as glamorous going through this I put a full face and cracked on, you have to fight it and go for it. You know it’s very interesting I ran a piece that iTvbe news picked up here about the next I think is the next epidemic and that’ll be the number of cancer treatments that were postponed due to COVID and the thousands and thousands of people who couldn’t go to the hospital. If this was me in 2017 and they said sorry Tessa we couldn’t do your treatments for another two months then you’re suddenly dabbling with lives now aren’t you on top of everything else that’s something id like to make a big platform for and I would like to use my loud Scottish pushy boss bitch voice and actually say we need plans in place and to think about this for this next big crisis.

The Hartmann Family at the Jersey Style Awards in 2018 (Credit: Tessa Hartmann)

With COVID happening, how do you think you’ll move forward with the Jersey Style Awards?
TH: We've been debating this in the office for weeks now and I think we're actually going to do is, there so many incredible businesses here that had to reinvent themselves and position themselves to deal with it so what I'd like to do is before Maybe around summer mid autumn, it's impossible to actually judge because everything's been closed for nearly a year but what we can do is use the style awards platform to shine a light and a spotlight on those businesses that are getting back and that style and the style for your community style for investing how we're gonna get through this how some of them have made in some of them haven't and to be able to fight off the community spirit needs to be applauded for this year so if I can get people together to actually do it digitally - that's style and the style for your community style for investing how we're gonna get through this how this is -  some of them have made it - some of them haven't and to be able to fight off the community spirit needs to be applauded for this year so if I can get people together to actually do it digitally then by the time we get to summer. I can pull a red carpet event together in 24 hours that's not a problem I'll fly and all the celebs but that would be my plan to give back, shine a spotlight on those businesses and leaders in the community in business that has done great things. 

JCL: Tallia’s music has taken off what’s your favourite song she’s released?
TH: I love her teenage tears album that was her debut album I love everything on it and every song tells a journey to tell us a story where she was at that point in her life and as a marker for her songwriting and for her journey that’s a great place to start on top of that she’s in the studio now and she’s never recorded so much for her life since she’s on lockdown all she’s doing is recording music. I need stuff that has got more raw and mature, it’s slightly more my roots, are R&B, Jazz and her new stuff is a bit more pop-esque but every day she’s evolving more as an artist. I'm actually really proud of her it’s a really tough gig and I tell my kids it doesn’t matter what you wanna do or be cause it can take 5 mins or 20 years where you wanna go. 

Follow Tessa on social media via Twitter and Instagram!

Follow Tallia Storm on social media via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube! Also, you can stream and purchase her music on iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon Music.

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Photo Credit: Dr. Tessa Hartmann