Skip to Content

Queen of Versailles Jackie Siegel wants a reality show: bad idea

The star of The Queen of Versailles wants to star in her own reality series, and although the film is incredible, that’s an incredibly bad idea

Jackie Siegel discusses this in an interview with The Orlando Sentinel that’s just as sad as parts of the film. She’s defensive about everything from her husband’s disposition to his business, even insisting that “he was joking” when, in the film, David Siegel says their story is a “rags-to-riches-to-rags story.”

Last year, David Siegel sued Greenfield and Sundance for defamation over the suggestion that his business was in trouble, and the last anyone has reported on that lawsuit was in January when a judge sided with Greenfield over the issue of the legality of their contracts with her. The Orlando Sentinel’s story adds only that “The Siegels are in a legal dispute with ‘Versailles’ director Lauren Greenfield over rights to the couple’s life story, an issue that needs to be resolved before any other entertainment ventures can be launched.”

I loved the film and called it “must-see reality TV,” because it was an example of the best kind of reality TV. But I think a reality series is a terrible idea, and the reason is in Jackie’s answer to a question from the paper:

“I would like to do a reality show. I think it would be a lot of fun, where I would have more control over the situation. When I shot the movie Queen of Versailles, I didn’t know I was shooting a movie. None of us knew. We were told it was probably going to be an episode on HBO. It sounds, like, crazy to not know you’re being a star of a movie. But I think that’s how they got some of the behind-the-scenes stuff. Had I known I was being shot, I would have put more makeup on or hired a hairstylist if I knew millions and millions of people were going to see me.”

Ignoring the incomprehensible nonsense (“episode on HBO”), that explains exactly why the film was so great, because it captured reality over two years, allowing Greenfield to observe moments that would never take place on a Housewives show because the cameras are scheduled into their lives like manicures.

It also illustrates why a series would be a bad idea: because Jackie wants editorial control. She admits she would have changed her behavior had she known how successful the film would have been, and of course, directing how she’s presented to the world makes it significantly less likely that it’ll show a complete picture. The reason the film was a hit–and that she actually came off sympathetically, to some degree–was because it captured her without her makeup, literally and metaphorically.

All reality blurred content is independently selected, including links to products or services. However, if you buy something after clicking an affiliate link, I may earn a commission, which helps support reality blurred. Learn more.

More great stories

About the author

  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.

Discussion

I value our community at reality blurred, which connects people through open and thoughtful conversations about the TV we’re watching and the stories about it.

Comment rules: My goal is for us to be able to share our perspectives and exchange ideas in a welcoming, supportive space. That’s why I’ve created these rules for commenting here, and by commenting, you agree that you’ve read and agree to them. Happy discussing!