• UPDATE: Golden Sisters moves to Wednesday nights at 10pm beginning June 12
Outspoken senior-citizen sisters Mary Bartnicki (age 82) and Josie Cavaluzzi and Teresa Dahlquist (74-year-old twins) became overnight Internet sensations when a web video of their comical reaction to Kim Kardashian’s sex tape went viral. Now sporting a large and loyal fan base via You Tube, Twitter and Facebook, these fun-loving, Bronx-born siblings are the stars of OWN’s new reality series, Golden Sisters, lighting up Wedneday nights with their ageless brand of joie de vivre.
I recently caught up with talent agent Teresa and hairdressers Mary and Josie for a rollicking conversation that made me laugh as hard as their series does.
CGM: Teresa, you’re the one responsible for bringing you and your sisters to the attention of the show’s producers. Do you officially take credit for everything?
Teresa: Yes. I made this happen and I really deserve it. They didn’t do anything to deserve this. I did the work for us to get here. Cause I’ve pitched a lot of shows. When I called them I was hoping they’d say yes, cause they both had husbands that I didn’t think would let them do it. But they said they didn’t care — they wanted to do it. So when we had a meeting with LMNO, they just fell in love with the three of us. And it just took off. And we’re so excited.
CGM: Are you amazed that you’ve become famous because of Kim Kardashian and You Tube?
Josie: To tell you the truth, I’m a little embarrassed about it, because I was the one who said the most embarrassing things and it was embarrassing to my kids. But what it did for us is so exciting, so I’ll take the embarrassing part.
Mary: When I saw that Kardashian thing, that was an education, I’ll tell you! I looked at that and I learned something. I’m not going to tell you what. But I learned!
Teresa: I don’t what Mary learned! She has nobody to practice with!
CGM: And now you’re part of the Oprah Winfrey family!
Teresa: The most exciting experience that we’ve had so far is meeting Oprah and actually having dinner with her — she sat at our table for the whole meal! And she talked to Mary!
Mary: She said to me, “Mary you’re 82 years old! You must have so much wisdom, because you’ve been here for decades and decades and decades!” And then she said, “Will you share your wisdom with us?” And I thought, oh my God — what wisdom can I give her?”
Josie: I gotta tell you when she said, “Welcome to the OWN family, welcome to the Oprah family,” oh my God, we got so excited. We were so complimented, we can’t even tell you! That was the biggest thrill. That so far is the biggest thrill of the whole happening.
CGM: Mary you seem like you sometimes have your hands full wrangling the other two …
Mary: These two, they’re 8 years younger than me and sometimes they don’t know what they’re talking about! But they’re beautiful and I love them. They’re always going to be my sweet little sisters. And that’s genuine! … Come on, one of you! Tell her how much you love me!
Teresa: I love my older sister and my twin sister.
Josie: I love my twin sister and my older sister.
Mary: And they love me because I give good advice.
Josie: Not always…
Teresa: Sometimes you give terrible advice.
Mary: Get outta here!
CGM: I think I’m just going to move in with you guys …
Mary: You can move in with me! $500! I just became a widow a year ago, so my house is empty and I have three rooms. You can come and live for $500. All you can eat! Are you kidding?!
Teresa: Mary is the best cook in the world!
Mary: The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, believe me.
Teresa: No it isn’t. It’s through his penis. It’s all about sex with men.
Josie: The way to a man’s heart is through his mother.
Mary: And good food. You have to eat before you can have sex.
CGM: Did you guys come up with the adventures you go on in the series or did the producers help?
Teresa: It’s all organic!
Mary: What’s “organic”?
Teresa: Natural. It’s all natural. We’re organic!
Mary: Organic?! That’s food!
Teresa: OK, we’re real.
Mary: We’re real. I’m not organic!
CGM: What’s been the best adventure thus far?
Mary: Oh my God, I got to kiss Englebert Humperdinck!
Josie: We got to go to Vegas!
Teresa: Vegas was magnificent, but New York was phenomenal!
Josie: Actually, all three of us would say meeting Oprah.
Mary: Englebert Humperdinck!
Teresa: Girls, we went home! New York is home!
Mary: We went to the Bronx. We got to see where I got my first kiss from my boyfriend who became my husband. And we went to the tree where I lost my virginity in Van Cortlandt Park.
CGM: Did you put up a commemorative plaque?
Teresa: She got a leaf and a twig for remembrance.
Mary: That’s true.
CGM: You’ve been in California for a long time. Do you still consider yourselves New Yorkers or are you Californians now?
Mary: NO! I’m a New Yorker! I still love the New York Giants and the New York Yankees. They’re not the San Francisco Giants. To me, they’re the New York Giants. And I don’t like the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Teresa: I love California. And I love New York. But California is my home.
Josie: All my life I’ve said I would love a penthouse in New York and a house in California. Six months and six months.
CGM: Since you’ve been around for so long, do you think today’s celebrities are wilder or do we just think that because modern technology and paparazzi make it possible for us to know what they’re up to 24/7?
Teresa: It’s much different. We never knew what was going on in the olden days. Their private lives was their private lives. Now there’s people with cameras from far away that can see what you’re doing. And on the cell phones. You can’t get away with anything. I think it invades some privacy. It’s much different.
Mary: I remember Jackie Onassis, she was on an island and from another island, they took her picture, so it’s not that different. You could see what was happening years ago. It’s the same thing.
Josie: The fact that you can take a picture with your cellphone when somebody doesn’t know that you’re taking their picture? I don’t know if I like that. It invades privacy. It scares me a little bit that we’re going to be celebrities because, Oh my God, our privacy is going to be taken away!
Mary: Oh, like we’re such icons! These two think that they’re going to be stars overnight.
CGM: Besides Englebert, what other celebrity guest would each of you like to have on the show?
Mary: I choose Englebert! Jack Nicholson. I love him.
Josie: Carl Reiner. I would love to have him as a guest.
Mary: Oh Terry!
Teresa: What? I want Obama! He’s a celebrity!
CGM: Did you ever think that something called Twitter would expand your “family” by so many people who love you and want your advice?
Teresa: I love all my fans and I’m very excited about Twitter. You meet people who love you and it’s just more love in your life!
Josie: We are having so much fun and I know the advice that I got from people really changed my life, so now I love how, with one sentence, we can change somebody’s life. And change their idea of life.
Mary: I don’t think that by one sentence, you’re going to change life, Josie!
Teresa: On Oprah there was one sentence that changed people’s life and that was: “I never thought of it that way before.” You learn to look at things with love instead and anger.
Josie: Oprah said, “Wake up in the morning and thank God for seven things as soon as you get out of bed.” When I do that, it makes me feel great the rest of the day!
CGM: Any final words of advice for our readers?
Josie: Never take anything personal. Because it’s not about you, it’s about them.
Teresa: Life is about loving. Surround yourself with people who love you.
Mary: Happiness is self-inflicted. You have to make yourself happy and then everyone around you will be happy, too.
Golden Sisters airs Wednesday nights at 10pm ET/PT on OWN.