Meet Bravo’s Jersey Belle Jaime Primak Sullivan!

Even in the lobby of an iconic Beverly Hills hotel in the midst of a weeks-long press event rife with celebrities, Jersey Belle star Jaime Primak Sullivan stands out. Though she’s statuesque, tanned and mahogany-haired, with a penchant for stilettos and micro-mini skirts that showcase her impossibly long legs, it’s Sullivan’s gregarious confidence that turns heads and keeps them turned her way.

Now the proud Jersey native and founder of Bridge and Tunnel Entertainment will share her fish-out-of-water tale — how a fabulous bicoastal publicist became a fabulous, if slightly perplexed, working mom in Mountain Brook, Alabama — in Bravo’s lively new docuseries Jersey Belle, which premieres Monday at 10/9CT.

Let’s start with the basics.

“I was a publicist in Los Angeles and met this great guy [molasses-voiced lobbyist Michael Sullivan] and when he asked me to marry him, one of the conditions was that I would move to Birmingham,” Sullivan explains. “I said, ‘In exchange for that, you have to allow me to continue to do what I love to do,’ and he said, ‘If you can figure out a way to do it from Birmingham, absolutely.’ So I did and we had three children and I kept my business going. I would fly out to LA, come back and be with my kids, fly to New York, come back and be with my kids.”

So what kind of guy could lure a beautiful 20-something accustomed to wrangling high-profile events for Jamie Foxx and Diddy and the Hollywood careers of clients like Chris Klein and Wayne Brady to leave big-city glamor for an admittedly sweet home in Alabama?

A very patient Southern gentleman.

Jersey Belle Jaime Sullivan“I met him when I was in Birmingham for work,” Sullivan recalls. “I was in a café and I said, ‘I’m not paying $16 for a martini!’ I was young! I was 26 and from New Jersey and he was 40 and Southern. So I stood up from my bar stool and sort of [gives a flirty shimmy] straightened my pants out and made eye contact with him —and being the Southern gentleman that he is, he sent over a drink. I was like, ‘There you have it! Putty in my hands!’

The pair made companionable small talk, but when her prospective suitor asked for her phone number, Sullivan demurred, thinking her time in Birmingham had come to a permanent end.

Fate had other ideas.

“A year later, I went back to Birmingham and went to the same café and he walked in!” Sullivan exclaims. “He said, ‘Do you remember me?’ I said, ‘I do.’ He said, ‘Can I buy you another drink?’ I said, ‘You can.’ He ended up asking me out to dinner and I went and I called my mom right after and said, ‘I have good news and bad news. The good news is I think I just had dinner with the man I’m going to marry. The bad news is he lives in Birmingham, Alabama.’And she was like [adopts an exaggerated Jersey accent], ‘Oh naow! No no! That doesn’t work for me!’”

But it worked for Sullivan. She married Michael, moved her firm to Birmingham and set about the business of acclimating to a culture and pace of life that couldn’t be further from her Jersey roots, abetted by a growing group of local girlfriends all hell-bent on turning her into one of them. Girlfriends who play a big role in Sullivan’s life and, thus, in Jersey Belle — including businesswoman Arden who prides herself on being traditional, but is about to wed for the third time; local celebrity Danielle; newly divorced Luci; countrified Scarlett; fitness buff Haley;  and homegrown Leigh Anne.

Jersey Belle Bravo cast

“My friends are wonderful,” Sullivan smiles. “I have friends who are trying so hard to get me to see all of what they love about their community. They were raised Southern, with a certain culture and a certain etiquette, and they want that for me. And I love that they want that for me. I don’t need it! But I love that they just believe in it so much that they believe that if they can only show me the light, somehow I’ll be saved.”

Asked to name which Southern niceties she found easiest — and hardest — to master, Sullivan looks bemused, then shouts, “I will never master not cursing when I speak. I curse all the time; it’s my cross to bear in life. And it’s so subconscious that I don’t even know I’m doing it until someone says, ‘You just said @#$% ten times.’ See? Right there! I could have said f-bomb and I just said @#$%!’

But she also says a lot of graces, too. Pressed for the Southern tradition that warmed her heart the quickest, Sullivan chooses prayer.

“Saying prayers with my kids; teaching my children to pray,” she smiles. “Prayer is huge in the South, in case you didn’t know. They will pray for you, about you, behind your back, over you, under you. And it’s not that northern people don’t pray. But Southern people, it’s their way of dealing with stuff. You have a headache — I’ll pray for you. You’re having a baby — I’ll pray for you. You’re kinda ugly — I’ll pray for you. But I have learned that in the right circumstances, I’ve gotten very good at praying with my children. It didn’t come naturally to me, necessarily, but my children really enjoy it.

“But as far as etiquette goes, yeah, I haven’t mastered anything. Tried, yes. Mastered, no.”

And, on that subject, it’s not just Sullivan’s buddies who are trying soften the Jersey girl into a Southern magnolia. She’s got those three little teachers under her very own roof — 6-year-old Olivia, 5-year-old Max and 3-year-old (girl) Charlie — who viewers will also get to know in Jersey Belle

“You’ll see a lot of the kids,” Sullivan says. “My kids are awesome — so much fun. And look, at the end of the day, I’m raising Southern children, which in and of itself is a challenge for me. I have the typical parenting issues that every mom has, but I’m also raising my children in a community that expects them to behave and speak a certain way — and I wasn’t raised that way. My kids tell me how to be Southern. Plus — ironically — I had the first girls in my husband’s family in 72 years. God has a very good sense of humor, because I’m raising Southern belles. Most days, I’m like a duck. Smooth on the surface and paddling like hell underneath.”

A situation exacerbated by Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan’s differing opinions on adding a fourth little Sullivan to the family — which plays out before the Bravo cameras. Though Michael proclaims himself too old for a quartet of kids under the age of 7, Jaime is resolute. “I was made to be the mother of four children, there’s no question,” she says. “Let’s just say my desire to have a fourth child will not be not be trumped by anyone else’s decision-making.”

In the meantime, she’s also excited to give her Jersey Belle audience a peek at her very first baby — her carefully-crafted, lovingly-tended career.

“This show is a story about a woman who happens to be a publicist,” Sullivan explains. “I think people will really appreciate seeing what goes into the back-end of Hollywood and I’m in this little office in Birmingham, talking to Oprah’s people, talking to People Magazine, talking to Kelly & Michael. They don’t know where I am — well, they will now — but my clients are fantastic and they’re all so supportive and everyone makes little cameos, so it’s a lot of fun.”

As has trying her hand at being in front of the television cameras for a change — in a way and a show that stays true to her Jersey heart, her companionable nature and her adopted home in the deep Deep South.

“The cultural divide in this country is a very real thing,” Sullivan says. “The Mason-Dixon is a real line. You might not see it. But it’s there. And for better or for worse, I’m just doing the best I can!”

Jersey Belle premieres Monday, August 4 at 10/9CT on Bravo.

Photos by: Skip Bolen/Bravo


  1. Love Jaime Sullivan! She’s out there sometimes but loves her family and friends and is down to earth. New Jersey and Southern-a great and potent combo

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About Lori Acken 1195 Articles
Lori just hasn't been the same since "thirtysomething" and "Northern Exposure" went off the air.