Posts Tagged ‘Jon Seda’

This Jersey Girl Will Take ‘Jersey Couture’ Over Juicy Couture Any Day

June 1, 2010

The Homeshoppingista was a busy bee Memorial Day weekend, filing stories on actor Jon Seda and the new New Jersey reality show that debuts tonight on Oxygen, “Jersey Couture.” posted the story today on the new show.

Last month we got lost, of course (we still haven’t set up our ShopNBC GPS), trying to Diane & Co., the shop on Route 9 in Freehold, N.J., that’s owned by the Scali family. The shop is unassuming, just a small storefront, and we drove by it. But the Scalis run a huge women’s formalwear business, and that’s the subject of “Jersey Couture.”

The Homeshoppingista flanked by Kimberly Gambale on the left, and Diane and Christina Scali on the right, at the Freehold store, with son Anthony and father Sal standing behind

The store may look small from the front, but it’s deep, wirh 5,000 square feet of space. The place has several thousand dresses, in plastic garment bags, hung on its walls. We can’t figure out how the Scalis knew how to find exactly what dress they are looking for among all those frocks.

Family matriarch Diane Scali, deeply tanned and with a sparkly necklace on, was very outspoken and funny. She comes across a bit harsh, a bit abrasive, on the first episode of the show, but she’s not like that in person. She’s very warm and fun.

Diane & Co. in Freehold does its magic

Her daughters Kimberly Gambale and Christina Scali, both pretty long-haired brunettes, were down to earth and just couldn’t hide their passion for their work. It may sound hokey, but they really believe it’s their important mission to find the dress that will make a woman or girl feel her best during a key event, like her daughter’s wedding, the prom or a Sweet 16 party.

When we were there, the Scali ladies transformed a young girl in jeans into a gorgeous princess with a yellow dress with a skirt like a ballerina’s tutu. The teen was just beaming when she saw how pretty she looked.

We also got nosey and asked “Chrissy,” Christina, if she was still going out with the Spanish guy she mentions in Episode One. She said no. We know that feeling, girlfriend.

Some people are complaining that enough is enough with the glut of Jersey reality shows, but tune in to “Jersey Couture” tonight at 10 p.m. to make up your own mind.

Actor Jon Seda, A Jersey Guy, Tells Us Why He Had To Play World War II Hero John Basilone In ‘The Pacific’

May 31, 2010

Clifton native Jon Seda as World War II hero John Basilone in The Pacific

It’s fitting that the profile we’ve been working to do since March, on actor Jon Seda, was posted today, Memorial Day, on

It was in March that we first made our request to HBO to talk to Seda, who portrayed World War II hero John Basilone in HBO’s miniseries “The Pacific.” In fact, we made the request before the episodes starting running. But Seda was busy working on a pilot, and then one scheduled interview got cancelled when one of Seda’s family members got sick. We finally spoke to him May 13.

Anyone who reads this blog knows that it’s not just about home shopping. It’s about our passions, which include TV programming and, God help us, New Jersey. And both Basilone, who won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroics on Guadalcanal, and Seda are from New Jersey. Basilone hailed from Raritan, while Seda is from Clifton. Seda is also of Puerto Rican descent, like us. So we just had to write that story.

When we asked HBO’s public relations exec to tell Seda to expect questions about Jersey, she said that wouldn’t be a problem, that he loves talking about his home state. And she was dead right.

Seda, whose work we’ve enjoyed in shows like “Homicide: Life On The Street,” called from LA. He was down to earth, warm, and was in fact an enthusiastic fan of NJ. He even married a Jersey girl, someone from Passaic.

Seda riding in last year's Basilone memorial parade in Raritan

We were especially interested in Seda because of his Clifton connection. Right out of Medill at Northwestern, our first job was at The Herald-News in Passaic. As it turns out, Seda told us he grew up right by The Herald-News building, a place we spent many hours in — and that his first job was as a delivery boy for the paper.

The Cloud 9 bar right next to The Herald was the paper’s hangout, and we spent many an evening there doing shots of tequila and closing the place down.

Seda’s favorite spot to eat in Clifton was The Hot Grille, a greasy spoon on Lexington Avenue that we’ve been to.

We also learned that up until a few years ago, Seda lived in the town we reside in now, Montclair. He said he loved it there, but that he had to move his family to LA for his career.

Seda said he felt a special affinity with Basilone. They were both from Jersey, and they were both boxers. Seda was good, training in the gym of comedian Lou Costello in Paterson, N.J., and of veteran boxing trainer Dominick Bufano in Jersey City. But his mom convinced to take acting lessons, and Seda’s teacher told him he had real talent.

The rest is history.

Basilone is a legendary figure for his part in repelling — with just a handful of men and several heavy machine guns — a wave of literally hundreds, if not 1,000, Japanese soldiers on Guadalcanal in 1942. He won the Congressional Medal for that, and was then called stateside to tour and sell war bonds.

Seda with actress Annie Parisse, who played Basilone's wife Lena in The Pacific

But Basilone wasn’t content to stay safe at home. Congressional Medal of Honor winners don’t go back to combat. But Basilone wanted to be back with his fellow Marines in the Pacific arena. He was killed during the Marine invasion of Iwo Jima.

Some might call Basilone crazy for tempting fate and going back to the war, but Seda said he understood that. The actor still misses boxing, and could see how Basilone (who boxed while in the military) would want to go back.

“I look at it like a boxer, who just can’t leave the fight when they feel they still have that fight in them,” Seda told me.

Raritan hasn’t forgotten Basilone. Each September, it holds a Basilone memorial weekend, which includes a parade in his honor through town. Seda came to Raritan last September to attend the event, and met many of the town folk. They loved him.

So here’s to Basilone, and to all those who gave their lives for our country.

The Homeshoppingista’s Excellent Adventure To Interview ‘Jersey Couture’ Folk, And Wondering Why We Never Knew Actor Jon Seda Was A Neighbor In Montclair

May 15, 2010

We were in Freehold, N.J., to interview the Jersey Couture cast

It’s 1:35 a.m., so why are birds chirping outside?

Sorry no blog yesterday folks, but we were busy working.

Thursay we interviewed actor Jon Seda, who played hero John Basilone in HBO’s “The Pacific,” for a story we’re writing for Seda, of Puerto Rican descent like us, grew up in Clifton, N.J. And he lived in Montclair, our town, until a few years ago.

Friday, we drove down to Freehold to Diane & Co., the formalwear shop this is the setting for Oxygen’s new reality show, “Jersey Couture.” Loved the family that runs the shop and stars in the show, the latest in a flood of Jersey reality shows.

Did interview and then met BFF Ann McGettigan at Freehold Mall, where we had lunch at my fav, PF Changs. We had an apple martini, Ann was good.

We checked out Territory Ahead, where we bought a freshwater brooch that was on sale. Checked out the stuff we can’t afford at Nordstroms, then went to Borders where Ann installed The Homeshoppingista’s new blog logo.

We and Ann parted, and The Homeshoppinsta stopped at TJ Maxx. We bought an Our Lady of Guadalupe medal. She’s our special saint.

Stopped for chocolate milkshake at McDonalds.

Went to New York Sports Club on Route 9, to work off milkshake.

Drove home, opened mail, checked e-mails, wrote this blog.

Listened to and watched “Beautiful” music video by 10 years about 2 dozen times. That song is so haunting. We saw that video while on the elliptical at Freehold NYSC.

The Jon Seda profile and “Jersey Couture” story will be coming soon to