Angela ‘Big Ang’ Raiola is the breakout star of VH1’s hit reality show Mob Wives.
The busty and husky-voiced 52-year old captured the hearts of viewers across America with her raspy laugh and blunt opinions. But she’s usually the peacemaker of sorts. Big Ang joined the show for its second season and the premiere racked in 3.5 million viewers. It is one of the highest-rated reality shows on cable.
Now, VH1 is banking on Big Ang being successful with her own show. Mob Wives creator Jennifer Graziano confirmed the news to HollywoodLife.
“When I first brought Big Ang in, I wanted her for season one, but I felt like she was a little bit older than the other women,” Graziano told HollywoodLife. “She’s a friend of my older sister and my aunt. … We’ve known her since we were kids. We had that one major connection, and I thought, ‘Let me build my brand first, then save her as my secret weapon for season two,’ which I think worked out great.”
Graziano believes Big Ang’s spinoff will be an instant hit. Fans immediately fell in love with her when she appeared on the first episode of Mob Wives.
“Everybody loves Big Ang,” Graziano added. “She’s just so hysterically funny, so genuine, so real — it’s almost like you can’t believe what you’re seeing! This woman is so special and so crazy, and I knew that when I brought her on for season two.”
Big Ang has taken her new-found fame all in stride. The Drunken Money bar, which she co-owns with a friend, has become a tourist attraction in Staten Island.
“The bar is blowing up,” said Big Ang to the DailyBeast. “We have people coming from California, Mississippi, all over. People came from Saudi Arabia last night with their bodyguards to come and see me! They said everyone in Saudi Arabia loves me. Sometimes I just sit there and I think, ‘What the hell happened?’ It’s crazy, and I’m very flattered! Every day’s another surprise lately! Whatever comes, I’m just going with the flow. That’s how I live, day by day.”
Filming will begin in a few weeks and the spinoff show is expected to air in July.
Check out old photos of Big Ang below.
Watch excerpts of Big Ang on Mob Wives.
Get More: Mob Wives (Season 2)