I had the pleasure of interviewing the newest addition to the cast of the Real Housewives of New York City, Dorinda Medley. Dorinda is excited to introduce herself to viewers and answered my questions about her experience of joining the show. She dishes on her cast mates, her life and what we can expect from the season premiere on April 7th.
How were you approached to join RHONY?
Droned Medley: “Well, I’ve known Luann, Ramona, Heather and Jill Zarin for many years. I’ve definitely known Ramona the longest, and when she was on in the very beginning, my name was floated around, but my life really couldn’t handle it at the time. She’d still invite me to various parties and functions and you could see me every now and then in some episodes; but after Richard died, I laid low for a while. Ramona encouraged me to consider it and I think she even pitched me to Bravo, but I wasn’t ready. I always hung out with them anyway, but now instead of being a guest of theirs, I’m a cast member. Funny how that works, huh? To be honest, it was a very easy transition for me. Ive known the lifestyle for years. Their lives are like my life. Instead of the Hamptons, it’s the Berkshires. Everything else is has it’s similarities. I figured, at this point of my life, I had nothing to lose and it would be fun to throw my hat in the ring, and just have fun.”
Did you have any hesitations about being on a reality television show?
DM: “Oh, 100%! I think you gotta be out of your mind not to be. You’re exposing all parts of your life and opening yourself up to good and bad criticism. But, if you go in there worried and scared and frightened, you’re not going to portray your reality. And that’s what the audience wants: they want real, not fake. If you’re fake, they’re gonna see it. I have no problem being myself and being true to myself. I think you’ll see that from the very beginning.”
Did you watch the Real Housewives before joining the cast?
DM: “I watched every single episode of every single series. [laughs] I’m a “Housewives” fiend! I’ve met a few cast members from other cities, which is cool, but I’m only good and close friends with my New York girls. I hope to befriend the others, though. They’re a fun crowd.”
You have such an interesting story… you’ve lived in London, you created your Cashmere line, have a long list of philanthropy work and the loss of your second husband Richard. Many fans have already asked me how your husband passed away, do you mind sharing that with us?
DM: “It’s not really anything I want to get into. I’ve sort of moved past it. It was a very sad time in my life and it’ll just make me too sad. Early on, I decided I wanted to start with my life from here, moving forward. I decided I didn’t want to overexpose my daughter or make my story anything related to Richard’s passing. Right now, I’m living one of the brighter chapters of my life and I’m excited to have another exciting one. Each one has been incredibly fun and different and this one is kind of a culmination of all my previous experiences put together. I’m very proud of it and I’m really excited about it, too.”
Will we see your daughter Hannah on the show?
DM: “You will! From the get-go, you’ll get a sense of our dynamic. She’s my everything, of course. I didn’t go on to feature Hannah and I certainly don’t want her to be the focus, but she definitely makes an impression. [laughs] That’s one of the things I was reluctant about and, I gotta say, I admire how Kristen’s kept her kids out of that spotlight. But yes, Hannah comes in a few times to “complete my story,” so to speak; but I don’t think she wants it to be the focus of her life either right now.”
There have already been reports that you were feuding with your longtime friend Ramona Singer while filming. Are these rumors true?
DM: “There was no feud at all, actually. May have been a couple disagreements, but definitely no feud. [laughs] I’ve known Ramona for nearly 20 years and she was very supportive and a great friend to me when Richard died. Avery and Hannah were in school together, so I’ve always known her; and she really came through for me when Richard and I were married, as well as during his illness and after his death. Now, in terms of “feud” … I think this show makes you realize certain things and have certain conversations and confrontations that you normally wouldn’t have, so there were a few twists and turns with Heather. I guess that was a surprise, but in the end, that’s what friends do…I guess? But it’s definitely surprising that the conflicts you have with someone often ends up being with the ones you didn’t expect to have any conflict. Funny, huh?”
“Again, whenever you put eight women in a room, there will always be disagreements. But I think the interesting part is not the disagreement, but the resolution. Let’s put it this way – it’s not going to be boring. At. All.”
Which of your cast mates did you get along with the best?
DM: “Probably Luann and Ramona. You know, we’ve all had “first acts,” so to speak. We’ve been through ups and downs, heartbreaks, successes, setbacks, triumphs, tragedies, we’re almost war heroes at this point. [laughs] But, honestly, I got along with most of them. I guess the better question might be which one I was surprised to get along with and I have to say that’s Bethenny. I was excited to meet her and I think it’s fair to say that we’ve developed a friendship. Bethenny and I are more similar than I expected, and although our live’s paths have been different, there are some interesting similarities with her too. We gel together pretty well. Carole and I hit if off pretty well, too, surprisingly. I didn’t entirely expect that. I had some familiar touch points with her. ”
“Interesting… Carole’s much more like my husband: quieter, academic, doesn’t say a lot, but when she does, it’s clever and quick. So in a weird way, my friendship with her reminded me of my relationship with my husband. I always knew of Sonja and always thought I’d like her, but I ended up liking her a lot more than I expected. We talk practically every day. She’s a complete riot and you always leave with a smile on your face when you’re hanging out with Sonja Morgan!”
“It was interesting to see how my relationship with Heather evolved, as a “city mouse” instead of a “country mouse.” We only really saw each other in the Berkshires, where we both have homes. It was interesting to see how that relationship developed.”
DM: “Well… [laughs] Let’s just say that at this point in my life, I’m not in a position to be… umm… overly advised. I don’t really like to beat a dead horse and I’m a very black-and-white person, so whenever I’m in a situation with any of the girls, it tends to gets more and more heated when someone won’t drop it and move on.”
“I don’t get hung up on small things anymore, I really don’t. I get frustrated when someone over-belabors points. You like it, cool; you don’t, that’s fine. Or uncool, I guess. [laughs] It’s like choosing ice cream: you like chocolate, have chocolate. I like vanilla, I get vanilla. I don’t care if they like chocolate and I really hope they don’t care I like vanilla. Like Luann says, “What’s the big deal?””
“I don’t like when women don’t act like team players. As much fun as a reality show is, there’s gonna be conflict, of course; but I feel we have to be supportive of each other at the end of the day. And we have to understand we’re all coming from different places. Not only is that fair, I think it’s also pretty smart.”
How did you feel about joining the cast with the highly publicized return of Bethenny Frankel?
DM: “Oh, I think it’s fantastic! I think it’s been a great experience, actually. I’ve learned a lot from her. It was very exciting and a little bit scary. I think it turned out very well. We all developed a relationship with her – all different, but all very cool. It brought the show back to the “good ol’ times,” and she’s a “real broad.” And I like that. It kinda felt like being on the set of “Sex & The City.” You know, Bethanny is really open, she’s a great business person, she’s funny, she’s a great mom, she can sometimes be a little bit strong or aggressive, but what you see is what you get. And girl, I love that.”
What do you want viewers to know about you before watching RHONY?
DM: “That I’m just like you. I’ve gone thru some things: a lot of good, a lot of bad, and I just get up every day, start every day new and I try my best to do a good job. I don’t always do a good job, but I try to. And this is the next chapter of my life – and I’m trying to have fun and enjoy it. That’s what we’re all looking for: peace, joy, love, right? This is a great time for me. We all need to reinvent ourselves every few years, right? I wanna pull a Madonna and come out with my 5th album of life, and I hope it’s well-received. But I won’t know until I’m in it. So stay tuned. I hope you’re as excited as I am and keep up with me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and I promise we’ll all have some fun and laughs together. So let the games begin!”
The Real Housewives of New York City premieres Tuesday, April 7 at 9pm ET/PT only on Bravo.
Photo Credit: Bravo