Joanna Hunkin is the Head of Entertainment and Lifestyle for NZME.

'Backstabbing and fisticuffs': Inside the Real Housewives of Auckland

Here in the Herald entertainment office, we were pretty excited about the idea of Real Housewives of Auckland, until we saw the first episode. Now, we're completely besides ourselves.

Strap yourself in New Zealand because you're about to witness some of the most explosive - and intensely awkward - entertainment this country has ever produced.

Episode one sees the women trade verbal blows at the very first meeting, with one housewife reduced to tears within minutes. And insiders assure us it only gets worse (or better, if you're the viewing public) from here.

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The Herald sat down this week with three of the ladies - Angela Stone, Julia Sloane and Louise Wallace - to ask if they were happy with their onscreen portrayal.

All confirmed they were. In fact, they were surprised the episodes weren't more explosive.

"I thought we would be quite tame compared to the overseas shows," says Wallace, "But I don't think we're any more tame, at all. In fact, we may be even more feisty."

For some, it was a baptism by fire.

"I think when I first went into this project, I was probably a little naive," says Stone, who finds herself at the centre of a fight in episode one.

"I just didn't realise that the knives would come out like they have. I do feel that I've been personally attacked. It's just been nasty really. I guess this does make for good TV. It's only going to get more intense as it goes on."

With a background in television and acting, Wallace actively encouraged her co-stars to dial up the drama and make "good television".

"I was saying, if somebody pisses you off, tell them and tell them why. Argue back. Say what you really think. In a normal social situation, obviously you wouldn't. But in this, we're allowed to."

Sloane adds: "It's very emotionally draining, to be honest. You do show a side of yourself that is almost your alter-ego. You're saying things that normally you would hold back. You end up in situations that are just a lot more drama than you would have in real life."

Wallace says the six women were "sick of each other" by the time filming ending and needed "a bit of a break".

"We've had an experience and we've got a camaraderie that no one else has in New Zealand.

"Okay, there may have been a bit of backstabbing and would-be fisticuffs but really we have this bond."

That bond will no doubt be strengthened as the group faces an inevitable backlash on social media.

It's something all are aware of and braced for, particularly as people take aim at their extravagant lifestyles.

"We'll be slammed for conspicuous consumption when people are struggling. There will be a lot of haters for that reason," says Wallace.

"What I always go back to is the fact that we're contributors to society because we employ people, we pay taxes and we've had successful careers. But also, we are purely entertainment. And people who are not as lucky and as fortunate as us will hopefully get pleasure out of watching us."

Housewife Bingo

After a sneak peek at the first episode of RHOA, we've created our very own bingo grid. Play along at home and on social media, using the #RHOABingo hashtag. Enjoy!

Low down

What: Real Housewives of Auckland
When: Monday and Tuesday, 8.30pm
Where: Debut episode simulcast on TV3 and Bravo, with remaining episodes exclusive to Bravo

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