Invite Only Cabo kicked off on Bravo just a few short weeks ago and the drama is already kicking up. We had the chance to speak with creator SallyAnn Salsano about season 1, her fascination with reality TV, and what it’s been like to finally partner with Bravo, home of the Real Housewives.
Hi SallyAnn! It’s great to speak with you about this season of Bravo’s Invite Only Cabo. You have quite the resume when it comes to reality TV, mainly working with MTV. Your production company, 495 Productions, has been behind some of pop culture’s biggest hits, including Jersey Shore. How did you first get into reality TV?
SallyAnn: I had internships at Howard Stern and Sally Jesse Raphael, and after that there was no turning back.
What intrigues you the most about capturing the lives of everyday people? We’re sure that you’ve captured some truly unforgettable moments, whether they made it on air or not.
SallyAnn: Human behaviour fascinates me regardless of the situation but when it gets spun up due to the environment or the personalities involved (or both), that’s when people let their guards down and are one hundred percent themselves.
Invite Only Cabo is your first show with Bravo, which is the home of The Real Housewives. We hear that you’re a big Bravo fan. What has it been like partnering with the network for this new show?
SallyAnn: It’s true, I love Bravo and I’m crazy about Housewives! I watch RHONJ, RHONY, Beverly Hills, Dallas… [I also like] Below Deck, Flipping Out, Southern Charm… you name it. Working with Bravo has been great and I genuinely feel like I’m one step closer to my goal of having Andy Cohen and Erika Girardi host my next birthday party.
Like Jersey Shore, The Real Housewives franchise has become a pop culture phenomenon. Do you think the shows share any similarities? Why do you think Housewives has become such a massive hit?
SallyAnn: Both shows have great characters, great storytelling, and a compelling world. Just cause you are grown doesn’t mean you don’t have drama. As a matter of fact, you’re better at it, you have more experience. It’s relatable. We all deal with it at home, or the office, or wherever.
Let’s dive right in to Invite Only Cabo. How did 495 Productions come to put this new show together?
SallyAnn: I love to entertain and I have a very diverse group of friends from growing up in New York, going to college in the midwest, and making TV in Los Angeles but a lot of them have never met before. I started making a list of my dream dinner party and my nightmare dinner party and I then thought ‘What if I took them all on vacation together?’
We were working with Bravo and brainstorming about stuff to get something going together, so I’m just very grateful.
The show follows celebrity hair stylist Larry Sims as he gathers a few of his close friends for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. After checking out the premiere, this is one dynamic group of characters. Why do you think they’ll resonate with viewers?
SallyAnn: Precisely because they are dynamic and so different from each other. There is someone in there for everyone to identify with and someone for everyone to take an instant dislike to, and that makes for great reality TV.
It’s kind of like when you plan a bachelorette party and a show with a bunch of people you don’t know.
There is no shortage of drama this season. Not only did you use a film crew, but cameras documented the cast’s every move, similar to what you did on Jersey Shore. What do you love most about that style of filming? Does it deliver a more dramatic show, in your opinion?
SallyAnn: I think the best shows are observational about human behaviour and to capture the interesting moments, you have to be there, rolling camera, 24/7. So by definition, it will be a more dramatic show because you will never miss a moment of conflict, bonding, or sexual tension.
We know you can’t tell us everything, but explain to us a little bit about what we’re in store for this season. Do you have a favourite moment from the show or premiere?
SallyAnn: OMG, I just love them — and I love Bianca’s birthday! I love all the drop ins… It’s like just when they get settled, it gets crazy.
Is Invite Only Cabo the type of show you could see returning for a second season? We think it would be interesting to feature different destinations.
SallyAnn: I would love to take this concept on the road with different casts because it is so universal. Everyone has friends from different stages of their lives and wonders, ‘What if I introduced her to her/him?’ Also, to be honest, Larry and the crew are just heating up. I wouldn’t mind another trip with them.
Thank you for your time, SallyAnn — and congrats on the new show! Before we let you go, we have one last question: Other than your cast, do you have a favourite Bravolebrity?
SallyAnn: Andy Cohen, Richard Wakile, Jeff Lewis, Thomas Ravenel, The Giudices, The Gorgas… OMG, the red head from Texas! I can go on and on. Erika Jayne… I mean all of New York, the Countess, Bethenny…
Sally sure did have some interesting choices, didn’t she? Invite Only Cabo is only just starting to kick up the drama and like Sally said, there’s someone in the cast for everyone to either like or dislike. She clearly has the reality format down and it’s great to see her partnering with Bravo. Hopefully, both parties continue to work together to bring us that must-see drama.