Hollywood, the networks, cable TV — they just think they know neighborhoods and their women.
“The Real Housewives of (pick one: Orange County, New York City, Atlanta, New Jersey, Beverly Hills, Vancouver, Miami)” — those are “reality,” which, as everyone knows, is only “TV ‘real,'” more or less.
Before that: “Desperate Housewives” — pure fiction.
“Housewife” and “housewives” had almost fallen out of use as insulting throwbacks until TV came along and rescued them, granting them a certain risque cachet. “Homemaker” had long replaced “housewife” — and even “homemaker” had become worn.
But “homeowner,” that's another thing, a real one — a real real one — and P.B. Odom III can spot one at a suburban mile.
Make it five. Five women homeowners, walking right down the middle of the street. Hollywood writers didn't write it — but Odom, longtime developer and amateur photographer, realized immediately that it was a picture worth the proverbial 1,000 words.
Driving around his Talavera neighborhood at SW 164 and Santa Fe one afternoon last winter, Odom happened upon the scene made for TV — or at least for marketing: a quintet of women striding purposefully down a street, each pushing a stroller.
“And it struck me. I thought, ‘Man this is phenomenal. This is great, because these are real homeowners,'” he said.
Odom pulled out his trusty camera, a constant companion he keeps handy partly for just such occasions. He introduced himself and asked if he could shoot a few pictures.
“It was definitely interesting,” laughed Melissa Miller, who was among the five. “But you couldn't miss us because we were taking up the whole street.”
Ashley Blackburn said she recognized Odom right away, “because I'm the nosy neighbor.”
The five — Miller, Blackburn, Arrin Hill, Sarah Zantout and Marissa Stuckey — are all friends and frequently walk the neighborhood together.
“People are always outside, be it children or adults,” Blackburn said. “It's the best way to meet the neighbors.”
Odom told them he'd taken lots of pictures in his neighborhoods over the years. “Sometimes they come out, and sometimes they don't,” he said.
So he took several shots of the group in Talavera that afternoon. “And lo and behold, they came out good,” he said, laughing.
Odom decided to work the shot into a new billboard campaign for Talavera, inspired, more or less, by Bravo TV's “Real Housewives” series.
“These are moms, these are homeowners, and there's babies, too,” he said. “These aren't housewives. These are homeowners.”