Gina Neely knew she had taken a leap of faith joining the cast of Bravo’s “To Rome for Love,” but taking a major adventure solo did a number on her nerves.
“The anticipation was crazy,” the 52-year-old chef recently told Page Six. “I was a little jittery, I was still kind of emotional because the day I traveled on was the day my daughter was actually graduating from college, and I’ve never missed an event. I was just all over the place, so I said, ‘let me just have a glass of prosecco and calm my nerves down,’ and I did just that.”
Upon touching down in Italy, Neely was joined by four African American women, all varying in age, and eager to dip into the international dating pond, with the help of matchmaker Diann Valentine, and her two assistants.
“Every day we had something planned. We went to the beach, it almost felt like a vacation, but meeting different people. As the days went on, we got close,” Neely said of the bond with her cast mates. “Everyone started talking, sharing their stories, speaking about the journeys of why they were there, finding our common thread.”
After wedding restaurateur Pat Neely in 1994, the pair became Food Network staples with their shows “Down Home with the Neelys” and “Road Tasted with the Neelys.” The mother of two announced she and Pat were divorcing in September 2014.
“We had each kind of gone through our own separate journeys,” she said. “[The show] had two layers to it, the dating layer and also learning to love yourself. Or re-learning self-love, if you will.”
Though the language barrier proved to be something of an obstacle, Neely found Italian men have a different dating style than their American counterparts.
“They just kind of take charge, maybe that’s a sign of wanting to be strong,” she said.
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SOURCE: New York Post – Jaclyn Hendricks