RHOSLC Jen Shah argues Bravo faked her wealthy lifestyle as part of a sham for entertainment

Before Jen Shah got cast on Real Housewives of Salt Lake City she and her husband, University of Utah football coach Sharrieff Shah, lived in a relatively modest $302,069 home. In 2020, they sold the house for a loss for $213,000 so they could move into a $4 million rental home in order to appear richer than they actually were for the Bravo reality show. Now, in legal filings, Jen is claiming that it is Bravo who was faking Jen’s level of wealth in order to sell an illusion of “glamour, wealth, and luxury.” This argument is being used to ask that footage of the show not be used in her upcoming trial because it does not represent reality.

Jen’s trial was supposed to take place at the end of March 2022 but has been moved to July 2022.

“‘Ms. Shah’s “luxurious lifestyle” is a deliberately curated sham created by a master TV network which specializes in selling illusions of glamour, wealth, and luxury,'” reads a line in a document filed on behalf of Jen shah on March 1, 2022, shared by attorney RonaldRichards.

“Before the government introduces a single luxury item of Ms. Shah’s, it should be required to proffer any evidence that (1) the luxury item is real (and not a fake), (2) that the item actually belongs to Ms. Shah (and was not loaned to Ms. Shah by designers eager to use Ms. Shah for their marketing), and (3) that the item was actually paid for by Ms. Shah (and not either a prop or perk from Ms. Shah’s involvement in the show). Without these necessary proofs, there is a real risk that the government will peddle a television show’s face as ‘reality’ in front of Ms. Shah’s jury,” the document goes on.

This is an interesting point to bring up, not only for Jen Shah’s legal case but also for watchers of reality TV. We all know that situations we see on these shows are often orchestrated or exaggerated by producers in order to produce compelling storylines for watchers. Often, participants in reality shows are given gifts and trips while participating in the show as well as payment.

However, once someone receives a gift from either production itself or as a perk from a company for being at an influential level of fame, suddenly it is a part of your lifestyle now even if it wasn’t before. A lot of real housewives have lived beyond their means before using their newfound fame to build brands and income streams that could actually support the kind of luxurious lifestyle they were aspiring to. In that sense, the illusion becomes reality.

The wrinkle in Jen Shah’s plot, however, is that she was allegedly engaging in fraudulent activity years before she was even involved with the show. Her lawyer’s point is that because she started getting new perks once she joined the show and amassed fame she was able to aquire luxury items in a way that has nothing to do with the fraud she’s being accused of being involved with.

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