The A List: The Jersey Belle


A List Jersey BelleJaime Primak Sullivan on her hit TV show and the Cawfeetawk phenomenon.

Written by Lindsey Lowe Osborne

Photography By Beau Gustafson

Hair and make-up by Jonathan Fowler of Beauty Shock Salon

 

Have you ever joked that your life would make a good reality TV show? At first, that’s all it was for Jaime Sullivan, too. Born and raised in New Jersey, she was in Los Angeles when she fell in love with her husband, Michael, and in 2007, she decided to move with him to Birmingham. Once here, she commuted back to LA and New York City doing public relations and publicist work with her company, Bridge and Tunnel Entertainment. It was her old LA coworkers who first joked that her life would make a good TV show; Sullivan took a good look at it and decided they were right. “They joked that I should make a reality show about being a Hollywood entertainment publicist and doing it all from my small office in Mountain Brook, Alabama,” she says. “Although that was interesting, I knew that in order for a show to work, it needed to be much more commercial. Given the bad rap that both New Jersey and the South had in reality television, I thought out ways I could effectively show an outspoken, hardworking New Jersey native raising children in one of the most affluent areas of the Deep South, combined with friendships and real life struggles. Once I looked at it on paper, I knew we had a show.”

The first season of Jersey Belle aired on Bravo in the spring of 2014. The show follows Sullivan, her family, and her girlfriends as she unapologetically navigates life as a Jersey girl in Alabama, like when her friends take her out to learn how to shoot a gun. Despite the Southern tradition, Sullivan made it clear it wasn’t for her. She says that’s what Jersey Belle has taught her: Own who you are. “It really is easiest to just be yourself,” she explains. “At the end of the day, people will form their own judgments, so it’s best to offer them your most authentic self. I am very honest with my flaws. I decided a long time ago that the only way that I could love people for who they were if I was able to love myself for who I am. So I am an open book.”

Jersey Belle opened new doors for Sullivan; suddenly, she began to receive emails asking her questions about her life. “They wanted to know things like how I made friends moving to a new city, how I deal with feeling like a fish out of water, and what was it like to have babies so close together,” she says. “Every day there were numerous questions about life and the show, and there was no way to answer them all, so one day I decided to make a video.” That video turned into the phenomenon now known as Cawfeetawk (a name Sullivan came up with because “I’m a coffee addict and that’s how people from New Jersey pronounce it.”) Each morning, Sullivan films a new video, which she posts to her Facebook page (Jaime Primak Sullivan). The videos, usually around five or six minutes long, are simply a way of her chatting with the world. “The topics are never preplanned; I wake up each morning and talk about whatever it is weighing on my heart. It could be an email I received from a fan, something going on in the world, or an experience I had personally the day before,” she explains.

Sullivan has partnered with Keurig (which also hosts Cawfeetawk events for fans) to produce the Caweetawks, which now reach more than a million Facebook timelines, according to Sullivan.  “I think the reason Cawfeetawk resonates so passionately with people is because I’m a real person talking from real experience,” she says. “There’s no sugar coating, no fluff. Cawfeetawk is my favorite project because it brings so much to so many, and it allows me to grow every day. It keeps me focused on the human connection, kindness, and social responsibility.”

Sullivan admits that juggling a reality TV show, a successful business, and a family (She and Michael have three children: Olivia, Max, and Charlie) can get dicey. “Most days I’m like a duck. I look smooth on the surface, but underneath I am paddling like hell,” she says. “So often I have days where I excel at work, but go to bed wishing I had done things differently with the kids, and other days I am super mom, but have 300 emails unopened…I just do the best I can.”

Though it’s unknown whether or not Jersey Belle will be renewed, Sullivan has a plethora of other opportunities on her horizon: “Short term I am working on the public relations efforts for the BET Honors show that Wayne Brady is hosting and editing a female lead comedy script that I will be taking to Los Angeles in February. Long term, I am working on Content For Change, which will be a series of digital pieces that showcase the human connection, social responsibility, and kindness.”

Human connection, social responsibility, kindness—These are the things she believes in. “You never know what the next person is struggling with,” she says. “Always lead with kindness, and if you can’t make someone’s day better, for the love of God, don’t make it worse.”

One Response to “The A List: The Jersey Belle”

  1. Staci says:

    Love your show and love you!!!! Hope your show comes back….

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