Big Ang is simply larger than life. As one of the stars of the VH1 super hit Mob Wives, Angela “Big Ang” Raiola serves up truth, lots of laughs, and also some yummy drinks at her Staten Island bar, the Drunken Monkey. Celebrity Parents spoke exclusively with Big Ang about being part of Mob Wives, a grandmother to two newborn granddaughters, and why her tattoo is so meaningful to her.
Ang, let’s start off with Mob Wives. Season 4 was something else.
Yes, it was. We’re going into our fifth season. I hope it’s a lot calmer than the 4th season. I think the new blood brought a lot to the show. I happen to like them a lot.
What are your hopes for the new season?
I hope that everyone gets along and we can have fun. I love vacations and I don’t want it to be like our last vacation in Vegas, because that was a disaster. That was not a vacation; that was mental torture! [laughs] I would like to do water sports and have fun, with no fighting. I’m over the fighting. I don’t get involved in things that have nothing to do with me.
What is it like to be a fan favorite?
It’s crazy but I like it. The fans are amazing; they’ll scream at me at red lights. I can’t go to the mall anymore because it gets to be too much. I don’t take pictures when I am with the grand kids because I have to make sure that they’re okay.
How have you seen yourself change over the seasons?
I’ve stayed the same. On TV or not, I’m the same. My life…totally bizarre! My bar, the Drunken Monkey, has done really well. I have fans come from all over the world. It’s amazing.
You put Staten Island on the map, Ang.
Thank God. It needed to be on the map! [laughs]
[laughs] You’re a true entrepreneur.
I’ve owned the bar for 7 years. I’ve been a bartender for 35 years, so I’m used to that life. It’s all I know. But now I’m launching my wine collection, Big Ang Wines. I figured since I had a bar, I needed wine. I always drink wine. Every Sunday, I drink red wine and cream soda and it’s great. I call it Ang’s Italian Cream Soda. Eventually I want to make banana vodka and a banana beer. I also want to expand a bar to Brooklyn. The Miami one didn’t work out. I’m from Brooklyn, I know Brooklyn, and so that’s where I want to be.
To launch a wine collection is not easy.
That’s true. The wine is from Venice. It’s a cabernet, a chardonnay and a prosecco. It’s affordable; some people don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on wine. It’s delicious and smooth.
Now, we just finished our cover shoot, and I have to say, being around your two new gorgeous granddaughters was so wonderful.
I have a grandson who is five, but now I have two new granddaughters. I never had a granddaughter before, and I am too in love with them. The babies are like day and night. I buy them Gucci and I buy them the Burberry.
I can’t imagine that Big Ang is a typical grandma.
You’d be surprised. I am very much a regular grandma, especially according to my grandson who constantly calls me, “Grandma!” [laughs] Even though I’m a grandma, I think now that all grandmas look young; it’s a different generation.
How would you describe your own parenting style?
Crazy, wild. We’ve had a pretty interesting life. All we did was move, go on vacations, and have parties in our house. And that’s what we’re doing now with the grandkids. I love everybody at my house. All the kids, their friends, everyone comes to my house, and always for Sunday dinner. My grandkids will have to be here every Sunday for dinner, like we had to do with my grandmother. I stick to that rule. Every Sunday is family day, no matter what.
How do you balance it all?
You can’t imagine what my days are like. The bar, the house, the family, the kids. I do it. It doesn’t bother me. The more that I do, the better I am. And I’m always on time. That’s big in my life. I hate waiting; it irritates me.
Hopefully the Brooklyn Monkey will be coming soon to DUMBO. My kids own a pizzeria down there, Ignazio’s Pizza, so it makes sense to have the bar close by. Listen, I don’t take things too seriously. I take it day by day. I make no plans. I don’t stress over nothing. Do you know what my tattoo says? “Not here for a long time. Just a good time.” And I live by that.
Photos: Gabbeli Photography
Hair: Jennifer Ziegelmeier
Makeup: Jaye Nelson