I recently had the opportunity to interview Real Housewives of New York’s Heather Thomson. I think Heather was a great addition to the RHONY cast shake-up. She’s so smart, ambitious, and down to earth. In our interview she explains what led her to join the cast, she discusses inspiration she drew from working with celebrities like P-Diddy, Jennifer Lopez, and Beyonce, if she would return for another season, and more!
How did Bravo approach you to be on The Real Housewives of New York City?
HT: “I received a call from one of the casting directors. They said they had been kicking my name around and wondered if I had any interest in auditioning for RHONY. My first reaction was that it was likely not a good fit for me, but after talking through the â€œwhy notâ€™sâ€ on our call, the casting director explained that I was part of the shift the show was interested in making. In fact, I was the woman they were looking for to help achieve it. I realized this was an exceptionalÂ opportunity before me. I was being presented with a rare and one off chance to speak about my business, Yummie by Heather Thomson, my brand message of uplifting women, and a platform to bring awareness to the charity causes (pediatric liver disease and most pointedly organ donation) that are dear to me. Furthermore, I realized it is a very unique opportunity to shed light on and to represent a very different type of female New Yorker. Talking with the casting director gave me confidence that I could potentially achieve these goals and convinced me to throw my hat in the ring.”
Did you have any hesitations about joining the cast?
HT: “After my husband Jonathan and I decided I should in fact audition for the show, I quickly became enthusiastic about the prospect before me. Although I was of course hesitant about the editing and being thrown into a seasoned reality star cast of ladies, I forged ahead with the audition optimistic that the reward could outweigh the risk. I felt confident that I could make a difference for the show by representing real women who are working hard and succeeding in NYC outside of a reality TV show. It could be a platform to speak to women who have a dream and inspire them to go for it. I wanted to show that a day in the life of a female New Yorker is not just about alimony, champagne lunches and a robust circle of socialite friends. It was important to me to show the hardworking female entrepreneur who is a mother, wife and friend trying to balance it all.”
Did you know any of the other women prior to joining the cast?
HT: “No. Although I had met Sonja once and I had a brief lunch with Carole prior to filming after learning we shared a few mutual friends and acquaintances, I did not have personal relationships with any of the cast.Â Since there were three of us who were coming in as newbies, we spent a lot of time together and tried to get to know each other quickly. We made pacts with one another to always be honest with each other to be kind and not to hit below the belt. LOL.”
I greatly admire your business, Yummie Tummie, and what you do. Can you tell me how you started the brand and what inspired you?
HT: “Thank you!Â Yummie by Heather Thomson was born out of a selfish initiative and an A-ha moment.Â After giving birth, like so many others, I struggled with losing the baby weight. So I went to the shapewear department to help boost my confidence during the arduous process of weight loss, but I was horrified with what I found there.Â I felt as if the department was frozen in time, I was looking at my grandmotherâ€™s girdle!Â So I leaned back on years of design experience and my desire for something different and pulled out my sewing machine. From there, I developed my signature, patented 3-panel tank. I knew that if I needed a different kind of shapewear, that other women needed it too and Yummie Tummie was born.Â Today my brand is an innovative and modern solution for foundation pieces. It is about empowering women and it continues to grow!”
I know you’ve worked with many “A” list celebrities in your fashion career, which celebrity would you say inspired you the most?
HT: “I spent Â½ of my career working with celebrities and they are all experiences that have helped mold me. I am so grateful and I have so many take aways from my experiences with Diddy, Jennifer, and Beyonce and Tina. They have all inspired me in different ways. I would say Puff inspired me to never quit, â€œwe donâ€™t stopâ€, as he would say, Puff taught me what I am made of. By pushing me, he showed me what I have and what Iâ€™m built of, that hard work wouldnâ€™t kill me, but it would make me stronger. Coming up as a triple threat, Jenifer Lopez taught me to focus on the task at hand, and inspired my thinking that a juggler never holds the 3 balls in motion but focuses on one at a time in order to keep them all a float. BeyoncÃ© taught me humility. No matter how big of a star B was becoming she was consistently gracious and respectful, hardworking and humble –that was what really shined about her. Beyonce inspired me to understand the power of â€œnice.”
I love how you brought awareness to organ donation, and how important it is. Your son Jax’s story is beautiful, how is he doing? How is your daughter, Ella?
HT: “I am very blessed to have two amazing children. Jaxâ€™s struggle will be lifelong, but he is so strong and positive and I know he is up for any fight. Thanks so much for asking. I am really grateful to also have had the opportunity to spread awareness about organ donation. Though Jax is doing very well as is my daughter Ella, it is an incredibly important cause.”
Can you tell us how you met your husband, Jonathan?
HT: “I met my husband Jonathan at a New Yearâ€™s Eve party! It was Puffyâ€™s party at The Shore Club in Miami.”
Would you say that being on the show changed your life at all?
HT: “Being involved on the show has really been a fun and eye-opening experience.Â I feel that Iâ€™ve used it to my advantage to spread awareness about my brand and organ donation, so Iâ€™ve been able to walk away from the season with no regrets.”
Are you close with any of the women when you aren’t filming?
HT: “Yes! We definitely keep in touch when we arenâ€™t filming. Carole is a very dear friend of mine. We have dinner together all the time. She often brings Russ and Jon joins too. Weâ€™re both very laid back and calm. We understand each other.”
I know you can’t give any details, but are you willing to come back for another season?
HT: “Absolutely!Â It has been a really incredible experience. I have met so many amazing people and would be open for another round.”
Were you a fan of The Real Housewives prior to joining the show?
HT: “Not really, but I did love the Beverly Hills crew and I watched that with tremendous fascination. Once I was signed for RHONY, I watched all of the past seasons and quickly became obsessed.Â It seemed like such a fun and whacky group of women! It was definitely a group I wanted to be a part of and could see myself being friends with, but also felt that with my business background I would have a unique perspective to contribute to the dynamic.”
Who is one of your favorite Housewives from another city?
HT: “That is a tough one! There are so many great women in each city! I definitely respect Lisa Vanderpump. With her successful restaurants, sheâ€™s clearly a smart businesswoman and also has great style!”
Are you currently working on any new projects?
HT: “I am always taking on new projects, especially within Yummie Tummie! We are a lifestyle brand. So we are continuing to expand in a lot of different directions. We evolve as a womanâ€™s needs evolve. Weâ€™re continuing to develop innovative classifications because we want to offer to women things that other brands do not. We are expanding our bottoms with new leggings, hosiery and Yummie Denim styles. Weâ€™re also expanding our ready-to-wear collection.”
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
HT: “I would like to tell them thanks for all the love and support and to stay Yummie! They truly have made the Real Housewives experience amazing!”
Photo Credit: Heather Thomson