Jackie Siegel and her family entertained the world with their iconic Queen of Versailles documentary and now, she is making her return to reality TV with an appearance on Bravo’s Below Deck, joining the My Seanna crew for the next two episodes.
Ahead of the sure-to-be dramatic charter, Jackie opened up to TV Deets in an exclusive interview about what life during the pandemic has been like for her family, the intense experience of filming Below Deck immediately prior to the international lockdown, and she also reveals a surprising connection to The Real Housewives of New Jersey.
How has your life been impacted by the pandemic?
JACKIE: Our life in general was pretty crazy with travelling, private planes, yachts. My husband travels all over the country for work, we have seven kids, so we all have this amazing, crazy life and when we were on Below Deck, we had no idea we were going to come back to a different America. It was the strangest thing. The eerie feel of everything. It was like a different world then, and I think the world has changed.
And you were filming a reality show at the same time.
JACKIE: It’s like leaving home and you get back home and it doesn’t feel like home. My husband is compromised at his age, so we had to quarantine at our house with the kids, their girlfriends, for the two week quarantine period. We thought, “OK, we can get through these two weeks,” but it’s been almost a year and we’re still going through all of this.
It’s been kind of hard because the kids can’t hug their father like they want to, and a few of the children even got [COVID-19]. We get tested every single week. I don’t sleep in the same bed as my husband unless I’ve tested negatively. The nurse that tests us is making a killing! [Laughs]
What has it been like to have everyone back under the same roof?
JACKIE: I liked it. It made us feel closer. We started doing artwork with the girls, the boys love to swim with their dad, we go boatings, so we’ve been enjoying that. We have a big theatre and we’ve been watching lots of movies together, so it’s been nice.
Jackie Siegel, who is most well known for the iconic Queen of Versailles documentary, is appearing on the next two episodes of Bravo’s Below Deck.
It must have been quite an adjustment.
JACKIE: It’s grounded me a little bit because I was very much in the social scene. What was important to me was to be and be seen but now, it doesn’t matter to me as much anymore.
You’re on Below Deck for the next two episodes, February 1st and February 8th, and you have previously appeared on Below Deck Mediterranean. What was it like this time around?
JACKIE: It’s a true charter. They don’t tell you what to do, what to say, or how to act. They briefed us prior to boarding and they told us there was one thing that they ask of all of us, which was to not bring up the passing of Captain Lee’s son. That’s the only thing.
We get on the boat, they take us to our rooms, we meet the crew, and my husband was anxious to check out the boat. We were only on the boat for about five minutes and we see Captain Lee and my husband goes straight to him and says “I’m so sorry about your loss.” Can you believe it? Within the first five minutes! [Laughs]
I can appreciate from your end that when you’ve been through tragedy yourself, it’s hard not to go there when you see someone else who has as well. (Jackie and her husband tragically lost their daughter Victoria at age 18 to a drug overdose after the filming of Queen of Versailles and have since started the Victoria’s Voice Foundation in her honour.)
JACKIE: I was worried. I thought, “We’re going to get kicked off the show.” We can’t follow this one rule. But Captain Lee was great. All of a sudden, he opened up to us after my husband shared that we had lost our daughter to a drug overdose. They talked for quite a while and I believe that will be on the show. Throughout the whole dinner, the whole night, they talked and had their emotional time together. I think it was good for both of them because my husband is a successful man and Captain Lee is a successful man in his field, and it’s like they are peers. So I think it was beneficial for both of them to have that conversation.
Below Deck’s Captain Lee Rosbach (pictured) is expected to open up to Jackie Siegel, the Queen of Versailles, about their shared losses.
This will be one of the first time viewers will see Captain Lee open up about this part of his life, although he has been quite open about it on social media.
JACKIE: You constantly go through these thoughts like, “How did this happen?” So I think it was good for both of them to know that they’re not alone. It can happen to anyone.
It will be big for viewers who are going through a similar situation themselves or have had a family member or struggle with addiction. “If the Queen of Versailles and Captain Lee can get through it, so can I.”
JACKIE: Exactly. If you don’t talk about it, nothing gets solved. Even just bringing awareness about drug addition is huge. One of the things I can’t suggest enough is to have Narcan at your home. (Editor’s Note: Narcan is a medication used to block the effects of opioids and can be used in a life-saving situation.)
At least by talking about it, people can make different choices and can hopefully take a different path in life.
I wanted to talk to you about The Real Housewives. You mentioned a few months ago that you were open to being a part of The Real Housewives of New York City.
JACKIE: We have a hotel there. We are going to be remodelling our penthouse, but they went with someone else [this season].
Kathy Hilton is joining The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and fans have been asking for that for years. So I’m putting it out there that there should be a place for you on Housewives.
JACKIE: Bravo had The Queen of Versailles on their network at one point, it got huge ratings. I’m surprised that they aren’t as into it.
What about The Real Housewives of Miami? Bravo is reportedly trying to bring the show back via Peacock TV.
JACKIE: I would love to be a Friend or come in and see the women. I could do that! [Laughs]
Back to New York City. Who would be a friend, and who might be a foe?
JACKIE: I have more of a connection with the New Jersey Housewives, to be honest. I’m friendly with Margaret Josephs. I flew up to New York, we had lunch, it was great. She’s so cute.
Jackie Siegel revealed that she is friendly with RHONJ’s Margaret Josephs.
You could fit in on so many cities because you have such a big persona. The RHONJ are into table-flipping and wine tossing. Is that something that you could handle?
JACKIE: Oh my god. In real life, I have friends like that — full of drama. I could be like that if I needed to.
What kinds of things press your buttons?
JACKIE: I hate cattiness. I hate when people who talk behind your back. One thing that also annoys me is if I have a party, I don’t want to have to invite everyone. [Laughs] I want to be able to invite who I want. If it’s about business, I don’t want my party people there. If I’m throwing a party and there’s music and people are jumping in the pool, taking their clothes off, that’s different.
You must throw a good party if you have everyone so pressed!
JACKIE: I do, exactly. I’m a great entertainer. I hire the girls that jump on the table, but I don’t really do that myself. [Laughs]
Catch Jackie Siegel on Bravo’s Below Deck TONIGHT, February 1st at 9/8c as well as next Monday, February 8th at 9/8c. For more on the Victoria’s Voice Foundation, visit their official website and be sure to follow Jackie on Instagram.