After allegedly being called “scary” on a recent episode of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” Jen Shah says she wants her co-stars to understand how dangerous that label is for women of color.
Shah, who is of Tongan and Hawaiian heritage, yelled and threw a glass during her husband Sharrieff’s birthday party when she heard that Meredith Marks and Lisa Barlow had allegedly made the claim — and in a sneak peek of this week’s episode, the women deny having said it.
“It means something different to us,” Shah, 47, told Page Six in a recent interview.
Shah also noted that none of the ladies called co-star Heather Gay “scary” after a recent blow-up.
“Heather came on there and was like, ‘I’m going to cut a bitch.’ Everyone laughed,” Shah said. “If I said that I’d be in handcuffs, they’d be dragging me over to the jail if I said that.”
She added, “There’s this double standard and I hope that we can get some education from it and people can make some changes… I don’t think it’s coming from a place of being malicious. I think it’s coming from a place of ignorance.”
Shah explained that she touched upon how her life is different from some of her co-stars’ during the recently filmed reunion, and told us that she worries for her sons’ safety growing up in an affluent, gated neighborhood. She said that she will sometimes follow her 16-year-old in her car when he goes on a run at night as part of his football training.
“I’m afraid they’re going to see a black boy,” she said. “And they’re going to think, ‘Oh, my gosh, he’s robbing someone’s house and running away.’ You hear those stories all the time. And as a mom, it scares the crap out of me.”
She also stopped her older son from driving Las Vegas with friends for spring break because he would have been driving an expensive car and she worried police would think he had stolen it.
“These are the things I have to deal with that my [white] castmates don’t,” she explained. “That’s why it’s for me it’s so hard, it’s so dangerous to label a person of color or to accuse them of something when they’re just freely throwing around terms.”L-R: Whitney Rose, Meredith Marks, Jen Shah and Lisa Barlow on “RHOSLC”Fred Hayes/Bravo
And while some viewers may think that Shah can have over-the-top reactions and lavish parties, she explained, “My family and I, we’ve had to work very hard for what we have and things mean a little bit more to us than probably other people … Yeah, I am big and over-the-top because hell yeah I’m gonna celebrate every single thing and milestone we accomplish.
“I want to celebrate — I want people to see that people of color are doing great things.”