Jackie Siegel, the subject of last year's brilliant and harrowing Queen of Versailles documentary, appeared on last night's episode of Watch What Happens Live after Bravo premiered the doc. The film, which chronicles Jackie and her husband David's abandoned attempt to build the largest single-family house in the country as well as their timeshare company's financial ruin, ran with a disclaimer tagged to its end that read:
The Siegels have provided the following statement to Bravo: "Westgate Resorts is currently financially sound and very profitable. The loan on Versailles has been paid off and construction has resumed."
Siegel spent much of her WWHL time reiterating this and, in the process, refuting the documentary. Westgate, she says, just had its most profitable year in 33 years. She also claims that they're going to resume building that disgustingly massive house, that she doesn't live amongst piles of dog feces (deliberate feces editing will get you every time), that she knew all along that she and her husband were financially "solid." Part of what makes Jackie an ultimately likable figure in the film is that she is mostly down to earth and gracious when her family's financial bubble pops. Now it would seem that her head is back in the clouds, and an abundance of cash is her rocket fuel.
The Siegels have expressed disdain for this film since before it was released when David sued both its director Lauren Greenfield and the Sundance Film Festival for defamation over promotional language stating that his empire had collapsed. When that was changed, he took issue with it being labeled a "rags to riches to rags" story, even though he says essentially the same thing in the film. ("This is the reverse of a rags-to-riches story. This is a kind of riches-to-rags story.") The lawsuit raged on as one big shit show — he eventually threw his son under the bus to claim that parts of the documentary's filming were unauthorized. A federal judge ruled in favor of Greenfield, calling Siegel's position "quite bizarre."
(You may remember David Siegel, by the way, as the CEO who built himself America's largest house [that] just threatened to fire his employees if Obama's elected. Great guy, that Siegel.)
And yet, despite all this litigation, there was Jackie was last night, on TV promoting this thing that she claims is inaccurate and yet is the cause of her pop cultural relevance. It's the kind of hypocrisy that makes sense in the world of reality TV, which would be the next logical step for the Siegels. Toward the bottom of a Reuters article from last year that corroborates the claims of a Westgate upswing, Jackie is quoted as saying, "I like the camera and doing projects. I don't know if it's my five minutes of fame, or it's going to develop into a mini-career."