Ashley Darby is the youngest cast member of Bravo’s newest Real Housewives franchise: The Real Housewives of Potomac. Despite her pint-sized frame and youthful glow, she’s not afraid to take on the tough posse of etiquette-obsessed Potomac ladies she’s been cast alongside. I got a chance to chat with Ashley this week about everything from how it feels to debut on reality TV to why she’s a self proclaimed “adrenaline junkie!” 

How are you feeling about the first episodes of RHOP?  “Very excited. It’s surreal to see yourself on TV. It’s just about getting to know people, spending a lot of time together. There are always going to be some bumps in the road. Having spent as much time with them [the cast] as I did, I really feel like I know them well now. I actually consider them my friends – even though it did take some time. We are forming a foundation.”


Which cast member is the most genuine on and off camera?  “To be honest with you, all of us are that way. In coming on to reality television, I didn’t know what to expect. But being a part of it shows how much they really are the same – they are the same people on and off. It is an organic process. No one is telling us what or what not to do, so we really have no choice other than to be ourselves.”

Robyn [Dixon] is the person who is most open with her feelings and emotions, but all of the women have different personalities that shine through.”

That’s interesting because in the last episode you were looking for information on Robyn, as you thought she was “closed off.” Has that changed for you?  “I definitely learned a lot about her from that. It was a mistake for me to go in and – as Robyn would say – ‘gossip,’ but I look at it as me trying to learn about her because she wasn’t as forthcoming with information when I first met her.”

“Even during that interaction we had at my birthday where she got upset with me, I pushed her a little hard in relation to what I said to her. But in that moment she revealed all of these things about how she had been hurt in the past and had trust issues. I realized that while I may have pushed a little too far, I actually learned more about her than I would have in any other circumstance. It’s not a great way to learn about somebody, but there was definitely an upside to it.”


Are you surprised by the show’s editing?  “No, not at all. I know there’s a process, because we film every single day for a good 6-7 hours, and I know that we only get maybe 45 minutes of that over the span of a few episodes. So I know there’s no way they could fit that in. But I do feel like the gist is there – the essence, the good stuff, the important stuff is actually all in there.”

What do you think about all of the “etiquette” talk RHOP seems obsessed with?  “I have an appreciation for someone having their own ideals. I will respect them, but I’m all about you living your life and doing your thing. I’m not all about projecting those ideals on to someone else. I feel that as long as no one is robbing the innocence of children or threatening lives (laughs), there’s really no reason to tell someone how to act and how to behave. You know, we’re all unique individuals so let’s just appreciate who we are and keep it movin’!”

What does your family think of the reality TV gig?  “Well, my mom is my biggest fan. She’s down for the cause all the time. She’s been living through everything with me from the beginning. All of the ups and downs we’ve had as a family have really strengthened our bond. Everyone’s just really proud of me. I would say that I have a lot of ambition and am very driven to make something of my life, and my family is very supportive of that.”


What would fans be surprised to learn about you?  “I’m actually a really big adrenaline junkie. I like to do things that push my limits, push my boundaries – skydive – I just love the thrill of life.”

How do you handle criticism/negativity from the show’s fans?  “Being part of such a prominent and popular franchise, we knew there was going to always be something. Not everyone is always going to agree with what you say or do, so you have to take the good with the bad. There’s been a really positive reception to us with the show, and obviously there will be the negative too. But I can’t focus on that. It takes a lot of effort and it’s draining.”

How does RHOP differ from the other cities in the Bravo Housewives franchise?  “One of the reasons I agreed to be a part of the Real Housewives of Potomac is that I actually love watching every single franchise. There’s something unique and different about every single one of them. For example, Lisa Vanderpump is one of my favorite housewives ever – she’s just so different, unique, and cool. Then I look at the Real Housewives of Melbourne, which is not as popular [as RHOBH] here in the states, who are highlighting all of the great things about Australia.”

“I just want people to appreciate the fact that we’re all very unique women. There’s a small African American population in Potomac, so this is just about us showing our lives. It’s not meant to be a representation of Potomac per se, but just us representing who we are.”


What’s your reaction to people trying to compare RHOP to the Real Housewives of Atlanta due largely to their predominantly African American casts?  “I don’t think it’s necessarily fair that just because we share a similar racial makeup, that would be the only thing that connects us. I mean, the other Housewives franchises have women who are Caucasian, but I would never say that their shows are all similar because of that. I feel like this type of thing devalues our individuality.”

Are you nervous about doing your first reunion show?  “I honestly don’t know what’s going to unfold. It’s funny because I’m nervous just sitting on my couch watching it each week like everybody else (laughs). So, I’m just flying by the seat of my pants just like everybody else right now.”

Any teasers for next week’s episode? Or for the season ahead?  “I will say that this week, I’m going to talk about something that is very close to me and my family. I am going to be exceptionally vulnerable on the next episode.”

“Going forward, we do have a cast trip that’s a ton of fun – without a doubt. And our relationships will continue to evolve.”


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