I confess, I’ve got a soft spot for British reality TV, so when the Bravo people got in touch to tell us about the local angle on their new series, Ladies of London, we were, you know, vaguely interested.
It’s a fiendish premise; several wealthy American expats try to crack English high society at the mercy of a couple of blue-blooded Brits. Seattle native Noelle Reno, a former model-turned-fashion-entrepreneur who hopped the pond eleven years ago, is one of the chosen.
I caught Reno en route (by chauffeur, mind you) to a night of galas and gallery openings to chat about her fashion ventures, high society drama, and how to make it in London.
At an early age, Reno knew the suburban pace of Mercer Island wouldn’t do. She modeled her way out of the PNW and by the age of 20, was living in London with her then-fiancé, American banking heir, Matthew Mellon (as in ex-husband of Tamara Mellon, as in Jimmy Choo). Mellon helped finance her first foray into fashion: a luxury loungewear line, Degrees of Freedom.
Though the venture (along with the relationship) died out, Reno calls it her proudest business achievement, counting Nordstrom and Saks among her contracts.
"Absolutely nothing about the show is scripted,” she assures me, “drama just ensues when you put driven, opinionated women together." Tips for surviving that drama? “Not playing by anyone else's rules."
London or Seattle? “London, definitely. I fell for its old-school leisure and modern business ethic,” she gushes. Not to mention brushing shoulders with royals and landing a starring role in the TV show.
The show premiers Monday, June 2 at 10 on Bravo.