Ten years ago, Cynthia Silver agreed to participate in a documentary about weddings, an experience that she hoped would lead to fame and an interview on Oprah. Instead, Cynthia found herself starring in Fox-TV’s Bridezilla, a reality show where women turn into monsters while planning their weddings. Horrified that she was being depicted as a spoiled Manhattanite, Cynthia has spent nearly a decade trying to undue the damage with her one-woman show, Bridezilla Strikes Back, most recently at the Laurie Beechman Theater. She has been performing and reworking this play for the last five years.
Cynthia is an actress and perhaps couldn’t resist healing her wounds on stage. For the most part, Bridezilla Strikes Back, while humorous in parts, only serves to reinforce the shallow image she is fighting. While it may be true that the amount she spent on her wedding dress was a drop in the bucket compared to what most women in Manhattan spend, this group is hardly representative nationwide. When meeting a woman for the first time, she admires her designer outfit, saying: “She was well bred. I liked her immediately.”
After appearing in Bridezilla, Cynthia’s life seemed to be consumed with trying to undo her humiliation. At one point, she stayed up until 3 a.m. defending herself on bridal message boards until her husband ordered her to bed. She talks about her dream of being on stage with Oprah, and becoming best friends with Jennifer Aniston. While Bridezilla was still in production, somebody from The Oprah Show actually did call Cynthia, expressing interest for an upcoming bridal show. After the shows aired, she received a call that Oprah was not interested.
Cynthia pitched a few anti-reality show ideas, and suffered further rejection. She described her fantasy where she was on stage with Oprah and the talk show host grabs her hand and proceeds to tell her that they will never be friends or talk on the phone. The stage went dark, as if this revelation was truly a tragedy.
Cynthia’s complaints no doubt are valid and reflect the sordid side of reality TV. The producer, identified in the show as Juliet, originally told Cynthia that she would be partaking in a documentary about weddings and that it would only be shown in the U.K. Post-taping, Cynthia learned the show’s title had been changed to Bridezilla, apparently the plan all along, and that it would be shown on Fox-TV. Cynthia said that Juliet betrayed her trust and preyed on her hunger as an actress. Lesson learned: don’t trust someone who is paid to hang out with you. (One disgruntled bride sued the producers, claiming she had been mislead, and lost).
Cynthia’s segment in Bridezilla aired on Fox-TV in January 2004. Unlike many who get married in the spotlight, Cynthia and her husband, Matt Silver, have a solid relationship and are now the proud parents of a three year-old daughter. Matt told her, as she said in the show, that he “will always be there,” and stayed true to his words. In fact, he was in the audience that night.
Cynthia told Woman Around Town that the whole experience has made her a stronger person. Performing Bridezilla Strikes Back gave her the opportunity to heal, and grow as a person. Initially when I wrote it [Bridezilla Strikes Back], I was still trying to set the record straight and now I can do the show with a lot more distance.”
And thankfully, by now most people understand how manipulative reality television is. Cynthia should take comfort in that, and say screw the rest! As Dr. Seuss said, “Those that matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.” When reminded of that quoted, she laughed. “Some people learn that lesson quicker than others. I’m definitely a late bloomer.” Now that her wounds have healed, instead of spending an eternity trying to defend an unfortunate experience, she can now hopefully create something that could quite possibly be Oprah worthy.