«I’m not the richest in Los Angeles but I surely intend to be».
We all remember the opening credits of the first season of NT1’s (a French TV channel) reality TV show The Real Housewives. We were expecting luxury, glamour, money and arguments but what we noticed above all was a humane person who had moral values, ambition and a kindness that stood out in the show.
Toukan & Palmyre : Hello Christina !
Christina Amarani : Hello !
T&P : How are you ?
CA : I’m great !
T&P : Make us dream : how is the weather in Los Angeles ?
CA : It’s great !
T&P : We discovered you in 2013 in the French version a famous reality TV show, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. But for those who don’t know you, who are you ?
CA : My name is Christina Amrani. I was born in Roubaix, in the north of France. I am a businesswoman and I live in Los Angeles with my daughter. I grew up in the north of France and there was a time in my life when I decided to go into photography and to join my parents who lived in Paris. From that moment on, I began working with a photographer who then asked me to go to Los Angeles. I said yes right away ! Once I was there (I shared an apartment with a friend) I continued working in the photography industry before deciding to start my own business.
T&P : When you decided to leave for Los Angeles, did you have any fears ?
CA : I was so happy to go there that I just went for it ! I like big beautiful things. But it is true that at the beginning, living in Los Angeles was a little hard. I didn’t speak a word of English, I was a little lost and the mentality is completely different from the one I have known in France. Over there, there is a social protection system that doesn’t exist in the USA. Here, it is « sink or swim ». And above all, a lot of things are fake. It is the town of eccentric behaviours. It took me two years to adapt.
T&P : Did you think about backing out ?
CA : Sometimes, I did. Especially when I got here. But I am a fighter, I held out. And then, things came one after another. I met my ex-boyfriend who was a famous actor from Hollywood. We split our time between Los Angeles and New York. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out and then, I met the father of my daughter Emmanuelle.
T&P : We know you mostly as a business woman and owner of the beauty salon Cocktail Wax. How did the idea of opening hair removal salons come to you ?
CA : After my divorce with the father of my daughter, I travelled a lot between France and the USA, and I used to have my wax done in France. I noticed that it was hard to find such salons in the USA. So, I opened the Cocktail Wax ten years ago, with original flavors like red berries, chocolate etc.
T&P : Is it complicated for a French woman to open a business in the USA ?
CA : Yes and no. Actually, things were somewhat easy thanks to my status here. Indeed, I am both a French and American citizen, which is already huge. Thus, I was able to avoid additional worries when it came to official documents. But indeed, it means presenting a lot of documents and you have to know how to handle things and how to manage your staff. And sometimes, members of your staff steal from you…Whether it is money or clients. But I get back on my feet and I carry on.
T&P : Since you mention it, how is Christina at work ?
CA : Christina is joyful, really nice with everyone. I’m not strict but I make sure that things are done properly.
T&P : And in private ?
CA : Well, I’m no longer in businesswoman mode. I would say that I’m a « youngster » all over again. I’m good friend with my daughter’s girlfriends. We go out and have fun !
T&P : And what about this craze over French culture in the USA, is it a legend ?
CA : They love what’s « made in France » ! Actually, my daughter works every weekend in a bakery that has just opened. It’s 100% French and it does extremely well. It’s funny because the French dream about the USA and there, it’s the other way around. All they can talk about is France.
T&P : We cannot talk about you without mentioning your participation in the French version of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. You claimed that you had taken part in it mostly to make your business known. Did it work ?
CA : No… It didn’t bring me anything at all. However, had I done the American version of the show, the impact would have been huge. I was really disappointed to see the behaviour of the women who shared this experience with me. It was horrible. I’ve talked about it to the producer. Everything was gathered to make it successful. It was well shot, the NT1 team was professional, we were taken of but there was too much exaggeration, vulgarity and lying. I found myself in a world which was not mine. It’s true that when you take part in a TV show, you have to make it entertaining. But you have to keep control.
T&P : Do you think that the other candidates’ behaviours had to do with the decision not to produce a second season.
CA : Yes… But I don’t regret anything. I had an important message to convey through my participation. I wanted to show women that whether you have kids or not, everything is possible. Keep on hoping, even if you don’t have the help you need.
T&P : Had there been a second season, would you have said yes ?
CA : I don’t think so. Or maybe with another cast. Because when you see the show, some scenes hurt.
T&P : I suppose you’re not in touch with the other « housewives » ?
CA : No, I’m not. I kept in touch with Nathalie a while after the end of the show but nor for long.
T&P : Any projects for 2018 ?
CA : I’m glad you asked. I’ve just closed the premises I’ve rented for ten years (in Cienega). I opened one on Beverly Boulevard in partnership with the French hairdressing salons Mod’s hair. They are beginning to set up in some places and we decided to do business together in Los Angeles. I’m also going into the nail and mak-eup business with big brands. But right now, I don’t want to work alone anymore. I’ve worked hard for ten years, as I raised my daughter alone. I don’t want to live what I’ve been through again. I prefer setting up some Cocktail Wax everywhere in salons with which I can create a partnership. Each of us has a brand image and it suits us fine. And above all, I want to travel and meet people.
T&P : Any advice for our readers who would like to start a business ?
CA : Just look ahead! Fear leads nowhere. Go for it ! Today, women have more power and impact than before. This is your time !
T&P : Thank you Christina !
CA : Thank you !
Toukan & Palmyre