Former The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Dina Manzo made a surprise exit this season, right before the hair extensions hit the floor. In tonight’s episode, the designer-turned-event planner returns for goddaughter Audriana Giudice’s baptism. EW caught up with the most mild-mannered of the Manzo clan to see how it felt to say goodbye to the camera, and what it was like to return.Again, I wish Dina would reconsider and return to the show. It just doesn't make sense for Teresa, Jacqueline and Caroline to be hanging out and Dina not be there (it's like George, Elaine and Kramer hanging out with no Jerry). Maybe she could work out something with Bravo where she doesn't have to be filmed with Danielle, better yet she could get a restraining order against the bitch, whatever you have to do Dina needs to be back on RHONJ.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So tonight you’re back for Teresa’s daughter Audriana’s christening. Did you have any concerns with appearing on the show after you had left?
DINA MANZO: Well, obviously I knew it was going to be filmed. I did it because I am her godmother, and what am I supposed to do? Not show up? But I was against the church being filmed and I lost that battle big time. I just felt that something so sacred as a baptism shouldn’t be in the same episode as some crazy stuff that goes down in the show. If you can see in the previews, there’s a fight between Kim G. and Danielle that’s [pretty crazy], and then we’re baptizing beautiful Audriana. So for me, I’m super sensitive to that sort of thing because I take it super seriously. So maybe the world may not see a problem with that but I was kind of against the church being filmed. It was a beautiful ceremony, and the party was outrageous, and my company [Designer Affair] did design it, so I’m pretty excited to debut.
What else have you been up to since you left the show?
[Designer Affair is] working out great. I oversee the planning of these parties and the girls that I trained run the events. I was doing interior design for years — 20-some-odd years — and I flipped it over to event planning, so that’s primarily what I do now: plan events weddings, corporate events, anything and everything. [You're] designing a day instead of a home. It’s the same concept, it’s just about four hours instead of people’s lifetimes [laughs]. I love it. It really keeps my creative juices flowing. Project Ladybug of course is a huge part of my life and we’re in the process right now of opening up another chapter in another hospital. There’s two different hospitals, one in New York and one in Chicago that I’m talking with, and I’m super excited about extending it. That was my goal to bring the fun to hospitals around the country. So we’re working on that. Really exciting things are happening, and I’m super proud to have founded four years ago something that started around my dinning room table with some girlfriends that has really become national.
Would you say your idea of what Real Housewives of New Jersey was changed from when you began filming the series to when you left the show?
Absolutely. I don’t blame Bravo, because people love drama. They love to see that sort of thing. Especially because my family was involved, and we’re certainly not the normal family. We do a bunch of crazy things. But we’re good crazy — there’s a difference between good crazy and bad crazy. We’re fun crazy. But I felt it was going to be a really fun, family-type show, and especially with season 2, it went in a totally different direction and I felt it wasn’t what I signed on for.