RedEye

Northbrook native ruffles British feathers on Bravo's 'Ladies of London'

Get ready for the Juliet show.

During the series premiere of Bravo’s “Ladies of London” — which airs Monday and revolves around American expats penetrating London’s high society — Laguna Beach, Calif., native Marissa Hermer implies that cast mate and Northbrook native Juliet Angus likes to be the center of attention. “When you go out with Juliet,” Hermer says, “you buy tickets to the Juliet show.”

Angus had not seen the episode before we spoke Thursday by phone. When told about Hermer’s comment, the fashion consultant argued that she isn’t the only member of the cast with a strong personality. She did, however, admit she is a bit louder and more outspoken than what our friends across the pond are used to, and can see why producers chose her for the show.

“When I first moved (to London) and got sorted out with my life, I was like, ‘Where are the cameras? This needs to be a TV show,’ ” said Angus, who competed on ESPN’s reality show “Beg, Borrow & Deal” in 2002 (coincidentally, she was on the winning team along with Chicagoan and CelebTV host Kelli Zink). “I think I’m pretty comparable to most Americans, but here I’m out of line all the time and need to be quieted.”

Angus was living in Montreal with her husband when they decided to move to London in 2010 for his job. We’re told in the premiere Angus used to run in Hollywood circles and is now part of London’s ultra-exclusive social scene, which she was introduced to via Hermer. This scene, we’re led to believe, isn’t very accepting of outsiders — a point that is made over and over (and over) on the show — let alone Americans.

Cast member and British model Annabelle Neilson calls Angus “an over excited terrier” in the first episode. Caprice Bourret — a Hacienda Heights, Calif., native and fellow model who is viewed seen as an honorary Brit, after having lived in London 17 years — describes Angus as “very American.” And she didn’t mean that in a good way.

“You don’t want to be called ‘very American’ here,” Angus said. “Julie Montagu — who I become very good friends with when she comes up in the later episodes — is from (Sugar Grove). She married into an aristocratic family and she’s more American than me. When we get together, Annabelle said, ‘You both need to slow down and quiet down.’ You’re supposed to turn down your American-ness.”

The show might as well be called “The Real Housewives of London” because of its similarity to Bravo’s successful franchise. There’s a glamorous, all-female cast and some of the friction you’ve come to expect from “Real Housewives,” in this case between the American and British socialites.

Entrepreneur Caroline Stanbury falls in the latter category and is so over-the-top snooty she feels more like a movie antagonist than a reality show protagonist.

While some cast members seem determined to lose their “American-ness” because of the stigma attached to it, Angus appears to embrace it. She wishes the British would “lighten up” and said there are times when she’s more interested in changing London than having it change her.

“When you go to an American city, and I’ve lived in a couple, it’s quite easy to adapt. London is not so easy,” she said.

“It’s the best place in the world to live, but there’s a certain way they do things here. It takes a while to acclimate to them. At first you want to change everybody. Today I went to the bank and they’re like, ‘We have amazing new machines where you can deposit checks.’ ‘Oh, the ones they had at Bank of America five years ago?’ They’re so behind technology-wise.

“And Americans are so used to things being bigger and better, like Target and Cheesecake Factory. We want things done fast and precise. When you go to a restaurant here, you have to ask the waiter, ‘Would you mind checking on the food? We are in a rush.’ Everything is so small and old and traditional. It has its own charm,” said Angus, before having a sudden change of heart: “Now that I think about it, I don’t want it to change.”

lgomez@tribune.com | Twitter @TribLuis | Facebook @TribLuis | Instagram @TribLuis

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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