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From Foster Care to Bravo

Have complaints about Real Housewives’ connection to DC? Meet Stacie Scott Turner.

The cast of The Real Housewives of Washington, DC may be new to many reality TV fans, but they've graced the pages of Washingtonian repeatedly over the past few years. Check out their appearances here.

Bravo may be marketing its newest reality show as The Real Housewives of Washington, DC, but the last part of that title has been raising questions. “Are they prominent Washington players?” Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger asked in the Washington Post this morning. “A few have social pull in limited circles, but none are A-listers.” And Twitter user jigolden asked Bravo senior vice president of original programming and development Andy Cohen: “As a Washingtonian we are worried that we hear most of the women actually live in VA—do any of the women live in DC proper?” The wives may live suburban lives now, but at least one of them has a tie to the District that isn’t mentioned in her official Bravo bio.

Stacie Scott Turner was born in DC. Specifically, she was born into the city’s foster-care system and was adopted while she was a child. In her biography on the website of the charity she founded, Extra-Ordinary Life, she praises her adoptive family, saying they give her the values that helped her to succee., Extra-Ordinary Life, serves teenage girls in the District who are in the foster care system—the organization took 15 girls to the World Cup, where they’re staying as guests of South Africa’s First Family. And that’s not the only organization Turner’s involved with that targets DC’s teenagers. She has served on the board of Metro TeenAIDS, the Southeast DC-based education, outreach, and testing group that tries to stop the spread of HIV among young people in the District. And she’s currently a mayoral appointee, representing DC (though her Bravo bio lists her as being from Alexandria) to the National Capital Planning Commission, which works with urban planners and architects to protect the area’s cultural and historic monuments and to coordinate federal building projects.

All in all, Turner’s life and résumé are far more oriented to not just Washington political issues but to DC itself than I would’ve expected. Cohen, in a Huffington Post blog entry about the show, said he hoped the cast members might fight about politics. Somehow I doubt that. But given Turner’s life experience and the fact that she’s actually anchoring the show in DC, maybe we’ll see some actual, honest tension between the District and the suburbs—even some real engagement with the city that stays after the parties are over and as state dinners come and go. 

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