Jaime Primak Sullivan has worn many hats — reality television star, celebrity publicist, Jersey girl, wife, mom — and now she can add author to the list. The Alabama transplant recently released her memoir, The Southern Education of a Jersey Girl, with Eve Adamson, which is about her lessons in life and love in the heart of Dixie. It’s her adventures, the trouble that she found, and the lessons she’s learned, while living below the Mason Dixon Line as a fish out of water. I had a hilarious chat with the Freehold Township native about the inspiration for the book, her exciting upcoming projects, and of course I had to find out what she misses most about Jersey (and it won’t surprise you).
The 39-year-old is the founder and president of Bridge and Tunnel Entertainment, a full-service public relations agency, which took her all around the country as she launched some of the hottest bars and night clubs, as well as worked with a long list of celebrity clientele. She eventually found herself a transplant in Mountain Brook, Alabama, an upscale suburb of Birmingham, after falling in love with her now husband Michael Sullivan. She met the state lobbyist while in a Birmingham cafe for a client’s magazine job. He bought her a drink, and when he asked for her phone number, she said no. Then one year later, they found each other at that same cafe, and the rest is now history
Something she reveals in the book is that during their two year long-distance courtship, Michael waited 9 months to kiss her! That’s right, 9 months. And she tells me it wasn’t a chivalry thing, “He was not sure. He didn’t want to make that move until he was 100 percent sure that this is a relationship he could really commit himself to. He knew he liked me. He didn’t want the relationship to become something it shouldn’t be before it was time. I didn’t get it at the time, and I don’t 100 percent get it all now, but I certainly understand it a lot better. That was his way of just protecting himself.”
Jaime and Michael are now happily married with three adorable children — Charlie, Max, and Olivia.
Jaime first gave fans a glimpse of her transplanted Southern lifestyle on her Bravo docu-series Jersey Belle. That then parlayed into her successful daily Facebook video series, #cawfeetawk, where she doles out, no-nonsense, down-to-earth advice. A big part of the reason she decided to write her memoir, was that she wanted to tell fans her fascinating (and often times humorous) life story before they met her on television.
She tells me, “There was just such a big gap between who I was when I first moved to the South, who I was on Jersey Belle, and even who I am on #cawfeetawk. I just felt like there was so many missed parts, and so I thought there’s a story here, and people who have invested in me, who love me, and watch me everyday, deserve to have all of those questions answered.”
Jaime, who’s been living in Alabama for a decade now, tells me the greatest lesson she’s learned from Southerners is to not engage in every battle that comes to her door (which us Jerseyans definitely tend to do). She says, “I used to see fighting as a sign of strength, and anybody who didn’t stay and fight in my mind was weak. But I now understand that there is a lot of strength in walking away, and I’m so glad that I learned that lesson because it is exhausting fighting every one that comes to your door.”
Jaime also tells me, as to be expected, that Alabama and New Jersey are about as different as two places can be. She says you’ll find the typical contrasts like, “In New Jersey everybody is go. go, go, go. Work, work, work. Hustle, hustle hustle. In Alabama people mosey. They’re not in a hurry to get anywhere. They stop and talk. They value long winded conversations. It’s a different energy.”
And there’s also some funny ones. She says, “In New Jersey, Bruce (Springsteen) is the only name you need. You don’t need the last name, because when you say Bruce everybody knows. In the South if you say Bruce people go ‘Bruce who?'”
Jaime makes it home to Jersey about every three months or so, but still misses the Garden State tremendously.
She tells me, “I miss my family, and the familiarity of the landscape. Even though Freehold hasn’t changed so much since I moved, there’s still a familiarity there. There’s still memories there. There’s nothing in the world like home, and New Jersey is home for me.”
Jaime recently got a little taste of Jersey when she came back home for a few days earlier this month for a couple book signings. Like a true Jersey girl, the first thing she did was grab a slice of pizza. She says, “I went Federici’s immediately after. I never come to Freehold and not eat Federici’s. It’s my favorite pizza in the world, and I’ve been to Italy, so thats saying a lot.”
Jaime may be a Northern at heart, but she has a lot of love for the South now, and will go out into full mama bear mode if anyone tries to diss her adopted land. She finds that the biggest misconception the rest of the country has about the South is that everyone is slow or uneducated. She tells me, “I think Hollywood has done a disservice to the South. We’re exposed to things like Deliverance and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. That is not the South. That is a part of the south, but we allow Hollywood a lot of times to really dictate our vision for what is. The truth is not all New Jersey women are like the Real Housewives of New Jersey or Jersey Shore, and not all Southerners are like Honey Boo Boo or certainly Deliverance.”
With a successful book now under her belt, you would think Jaime would take some time to relax, but this Jersey girl doesn’t seem to slow down. She is producing two movies in 2017 with Universal Pictures. One is a horror, and the other a thriller. She also has a digital series in the works called The Southern Education of a Jersey Girl (yes, the same name at her memoir). It will be an entertaining and educational look at the who’s who, and what’s what of Southern culture, from etiquette, food, and tradition, seen through the eyes of somebody who doesn’t get it. Jaime will take viewers on a journey of all the Southern nuances, like Nascar and The Waffle House.
She says, “There will be things that even Southern people learn. For Northerners there is a certain appeal to the South. Just like New Jersey is a fascination for so many. I’m going to combine those two things, and make it funny. People love the fish out of water.”
Jaime also keeps busy with #cawfeetawk, which just turned two years old. She tells me, “I keep up with it because it is my moral compass. It is what keeps me going honestly. It keeps me centered. It keeps me balanced. I get up, and it’s part of my routine, just like brushing your teeth, or going to the gym.”