She’s the star of Mob Wives, Author of New York Times Bestseller “MobDaughter,” and daughter of Sammy “The Bull” Gravano, underboss of the Gambino Crime Family a.k.a the man who helped bring down John Gotti. Though her demeanor is laid back and she’s always smiling, giving you that home girl from around the way vibe, you can tell that Karen Gravano will pop off on you for disrespecting her and she doesn’t need the cameras nearby to capture it. Her story, her struggle and ultimate triumph is one for the books. I had the honor of sitting down with the ultimate Mob Daughter and star of VH1’s Mob Wives, as she shared with me intimate details of her past, present, future, her love and respect for her father and her views on him “cooperating.” Ladies and gentleman, Karen Gravano.
Ayana: Karen, my girl how are you darling?
Karen: I’m wonderful Ayana thank you for having me.
Ayana: Absolutely it’s our pleasure and thank you for allowing me to ask you such intimate questions and being so honest and candid with myself and our readers.
Karen: Not a problem.
Ayana: Good! Okay so first things first, your father, Sammy The Bull, has the reputation of being “a rat.” He is notoriously known for cooperating with the government and bringing John Gotti down. Tell us about that moment when you learned of this and how it made you feel?
Karen: When I was 19 I was very embarrassed that my father cooperated with the government because I was weak and cared about what other people thought. Today, I am proud of my father no matter what his decisions were because they are his decisions and not for me to judge. I also feel like this, how can I forgive him for killing 19 people and be mad at him for cooperating? I do not agree with cooperating but I understand why my father did. He felt he was betrayed by John Gotti after the government played the Gotti tapes and he heard John bad mouthing him behind his back. In that lifestyle when you are taking the way John was, it means one thing. My father was smart enough to know that John was plotting to kill him. At that point my father was still not thinking of cooperating, it wasn’t until the lawyers had come to my father and told him that John was controlling the defense and that basically John was going to use his own government recorded tapes, the ones that were recorded in the apartment above the “Ravenite Social Club,” for his own defense because on the tapes John was running his mouth about murders my father was involved in. John felt that he can use the tapes to basically point the finger at my father as being the crazy killer that John had no control of and worst case for John he gets hit with racketeering charges and my father gets the life sentence for murder. At that point my father felt like fuck it and at first was going to kill John in jail but he changed his mind and called the government. He later told me John was playing checkers and he was playing chess, the rest is history I guess.
Ayana: Wow, you said a mouthful and there was so much detail that a lot of people did not know. Once you’re labeled a snitch, rat, whatever, nobody wants to hear the rest of the story, they kind of turn a blind eye so thank you for clearing that up for many of us who probably judged your father without knowing what really went on behind closed doors. Do you regret being in the lifestyle?
Karen: I Have no Regrets. I feel that when you live your life with regrets you are never able to move forward. Everything that I have ever been through in my life and everything I ever done whether good or bad made me who I am today, and I am good with that.
Ayana: Indeed, do you think your lifestyle may have affected your daughter, who is absolutely beautiful by the way.
Karen: Thank you, I do think that my lifestyle affected my daughter as did my Father’s lifestyle affect me and as any other parents lifestyle affects their children. I think the key is to teach your child from your mistakes. I never claim to be perfect but I love my daughter more than life itself, so all I can hope for is that I can teach her to be better than me. I tell my daughter that when you are bad there is a price to pay. I think she gets that by growing up with loved ones in prison. I don’t try to cover up anything from her I try to teach her and love her the best I can. If you ask her she has the best family in the world, all she knows is a family that has each other’s back and loves each other no matter what.
Ayana: Great jewels to teach the youngn’s that is indeed what family is about. Have you ever feared for your life because of “The Life?”
Karen: I would be a fool to say I never thought of it but there was and still are a lot of people my father never hurt or cooperated against and they always looked out for us. I think a lot of people in that world understood what happen between my father and John although they may never say it out loud. Most people heard the Gotti tapes and they knew how loyal my father was to John.
Ayana: What made your write a book?
Karen: I just feel that there were so many stories out there and my family had been silent for so long. I just was ready to tell my version. Also I feel that there is a message in my book and the message is that no matter what you go through in life if you have a good support team and believe in yourself and stop caring what others think about you, you can make it through anything. Forgive and be proud of yourself. I am now at the point in my life where I don’t care what people think of me because of who may father is. That’s his life if they don’t like me hopefully it’s because they tune into MobWives on Sundays and I get on their nerves or something
(Lots of laughter)
Ayana: Because you damn sure got on my nerves for a while in the beginning! But your an awesome woman, this I know for sure. (Laughs) So how did your father feel about your book?
Karen: When my father read the book he told me he was proud of me for standing up for myself going back to NY and not letting anything stop me from writing this book. He said he admires my strength. He also apologized and said he tried to keep his world so separate from family, he said he is sorry it affected me. His apology was the last thing I expected or wanted I just wanted him to know that I love him and I don’t care about Sammy the Bull I care about my Father, a man that has always tried to teach me right from wrong even if he was doing wrong, a man throughout it all even with all my mistakes has always loved me. For that I am grateful.
Ayana: Were men intimidated by you because of who your father was? Was it difficult to date?
Karen: I don’t think men are or were intimidated by me. I have to blame that all on my father. It was a little hard for me to date and when a guy did take me out he always had me home on time (laughs)
Ayana: Right or he sleeps with the fishes, fugeddaboutit! (laughs). How do you think your life may have been different if your father wasn’t Sammy the Bull?
Karen: It’s hard to imagine having a different life or a different father cause then I would be someone different all together. I wouldn’t change my life for anything.
Ayana: What advice would you give your daughter if she wound up dating a “gangsta”
Karen: I always tell my daughter that when she starts to date she better find a man that is a law abiding citizen he treats her with respect and before he can take her out he has to have a “sit down” with the whole family and if he does anything wrong he is gonna have to deal with papa Bull . My daughter is my father’s baby, her dating life is gonna be worse than mine.
Ayana: Do you think realityTV devalues women?
Karen: A little, I think that the network focuses a lot on the drama because that’s what society wants to see. When we are nice our rating go down. At the end of the day for me I learned to use the show as a spring board to help achieve some of my goals. I don’t feed into the negativity I just keep pushing forward and hopefully in season 3 of Mob Wives the show will focus on what we are doing when we are not kicking the shit out of each other because I have accomplished a lot in my personal life.
Ayana: Ok so let’s talk about the project you are working on, “A Pre Nup Party” tell the readers a bit about that.
Karen: A pre-nup party is a place where women can come together and have cocktails, talk, share life experiences and get advice from a professional on how to plan for your future, protect your assets and how to make the right financial decisions. I guess you can say it’s the opposite of a sex toy party cause it’s teaching you how not to get fucked (laughs)
Ayana: Yes and with all the bitchassness running rampant through these streets it’s so hard not to get fucked! But do you think that today’s woman has become more lazy and dependent on men?
Karen: I think today’s woman is split in half you have the gold diggers that will do anything to latch on to a man so they can be taken care of, then you have the strong Independent women that is very career minded and successful. I like to think I am strong and independent but I don’t mind a man showering me with gifts. I just am not going to have anyone control me with money or control my money.
Ayana: Should one be offended if their mate asked them to sign a pre-nup? Why or why not?
Karen: I don’t think that you should be offended because if you truly love someone then what he or she had before you should not matter and what you guys make together after is a partnership and that’s why if you are smart a pre-nup can benefit both parties. I think couples should be a team to help each other grow.
Ayana: What kind of morals do you think today’s woman is lacking?
Karen: I think some of today’s women are lacking respect and I say some cause a lot of women I know today are strong and demand respect. But some women will do anything just to get noticed or put up with a man’s shit just to have a man to feel secure with. My advice is don’t be a doormat just to have a man to call yours. And some of these bitches need to put some clothes on leave a little for the imagination, trust me a man don’t want something everyone had, he may try you out but he is not gonna keep you if everyone had a piece.
Ayana: *cues Meek Mills* And I say church! Preach…. What are some qualities that every woman should want their man to have?
Karen: All women should want a man that has your back through thick & thin a loyal man that’s not gonna disrespect you. Someone that loves you spends time with you, basically a man that treats you with the same love and respect you show him.
Ayana: What does the future hold for Karen Gravano?
Karen: The future is looking very bright for me right now. I am developing my own line of skin care products, I am in the process of developing my book into a motion picture, I am in talks for a second book deal, I have a couple of projects that I am working on producing for TV and stay tune to season 3 of Mob Wives I might add a little music to my world.
Ayana: What legacy would you like to leave behind when it’s all said and done?
Karen: When it’s all said and done I want people to say she was unstoppable. When she put her mind to something she achieved it no matter how much the odds was stacked against her. And that thought it all I always stood up for who I love and what I believe in.
Ayana: Thank you for your time Karen, peace and blessings to you always hon.
Karen: Thank you, likewise.
You can find Karen Gravano’s New York Times best seller “MobDaughter” everywhere fine books are sold.