Don’t be fooled by drama, reality TV star Maria Valaskatzis claims she’s just a ‘simple Durban girl’

Maria Valaskatzis. Picture: Supplied

Maria Valaskatzis. Picture: Supplied

Published Apr 18, 2024


Over the last two seasons of “The Real Housewives of Durban”, Maria Isabella Valaskatzis has trended for everything from catfights to plastic surgery.

But don’t be fooled by the drama, she claims to be “a simple Durban-born, family-orientated girl”.

The TV producer and presenter, who grew up in Chatsworth, Durban, entered “The Real Housewives of Durban” franchise in season three and has returned to the spotlight in the latest season, which is currently streaming on Showmax.

In the previous season, she got into catfights, made new enemies and lost old friends. This season, she is working on settling old beefs.

In a recent chat with Valaskatzis, she said: “When we concluded season three there were too many things that were not settled for me, a lot happened and I needed to understand.

“I needed closure. I lost real friendships and we weren’t given the opportunity to speak about it.

“Season four gave me the opportunity to have those conversations, which I needed for closure.”

The Glow TV “Medi talk” host revealed that while she enjoys producing and presenting shows of her own, being on a reality TV show was something she had always wanted to do.

“I’ve always been in TV, I’ve just never done reality TV and I think we all have a bucket list, so it was/is a great opportunity to be associated with the franchise.

“Putting my life out there for everyone to see was the greatest adjustment. Reality TV is very different, you’re putting your life out there so people can judge you and they do.”

She said one of the hardest things she has had to endure coming into the franchise was the body-shaming.

Maria Isabella Valaskatzis. Picture: Supplied

“The biggest thing for me in season three was the body-shaming, not just by the cast, but by the public in general. It was really crazy.”

In the show, Maria’s lips were made fun of by Nonku Williams who called them “huge” and Jojo Robinson, who said she needed to “deflate” them.

“Since I was young I’ve always had body issues, and I worked through that, so coming on to the show and having those wounds open up again was really hard for me, but I worked with a psychologist and that’s why I think in season four, I came from a place of healing.

“I don’t want to hide or be ashamed of it because I’m not the only one who has been through this experience.

“There are so many women out there who have been through the same or similar experience who hide in shame or are to afraid to talk about it, and go through depression.

“It was very important for me to say, ‘Listen, it’s one of those things, we can work through it’.

“After we started speaking about it, I was inundated with messages on social media from women and young girls who are being body-shamed in their daily lives sharing their stories, so at least one good thing came out of that.”

Other important lessons she took away from the show was that loyalty and true friendships matter.

“I think when you’re in a group like this, people are looking for alliances and not true friendships and when you find that friend who is with you, you guard that friendship,” she said.

Looking back at how far she has come, she said: “In season three, I was finding my feet. I didn’t realise that there was this ‘game’ that was being played, I didn’t realise there was a division in the group and I went in trying to be everyone’s friend and in the process I was hurt.

“This season I went in understanding and knowing everyone. I’ve seen the game, I’ve seen them play it and I’ve chosen my side.”

The cast of season four of “The Real Housewives of Durban”. Picture: Supplied

While the TV star serves up plenty of entertainment on the show, her main priority remains her family.

She shared: “My son is 16 and he is my biggest fan. When the episode drops on a Wednesday, he is like ‘Are we going to watch it?’, which is the most adorable thing.”

She said on weekends she priorities spending quality time with her son, be it swimming, going bowling or a quick getaway to the Midlands.

“We have the most incredible bond and I also know that I only have so much time with him before he decides to have a girlfriend, so I spend as much time as I can with him, and we do simple things.

“Family is everything to me. There is nothing more important to me.

“My parents will always be parents. They will let you know that you can fly as high as you want, but I am very grounded when I’m around them. They will put me in my place very quickly.”

She said at the end of the day the most important thing is to be humble, kind and to never change who you are.