Real Housewives of New York in 2011

Former Real Housewives of New York cast members Kelly Bensimon and Alex McCord dished to the New York Post about being cast on the show and how it’s changed over the years.

Real Housewives casting director Melissa Stanforth said there’s no shortage of “socialites” and “wannabes” who want to be on Real Housewives, but she shared, she typically finds “new blood” via her professional sports and high-end real estate connections.

Melissa said she asks potentials, “What’s off the table?,” to gauge if reality TV would be a good fit. “[If they] say, ‘This, this, this, and that,’ I say, ‘You shouldn’t be on reality TV.'” Every once in a while, however, a perfect Real Housewives candidate just falls into their laps.


Real Housewives of New York starKelly Bensimon

Kelly Bensimon said that she had been cast for a fashion-based reality show when Real Housewives of New York producers asked her to consider Real Housewives instead.

Kelly, who then told the producers she wasn’t familiar with Housewives, shared, “They said, ‘They’re famous socialites.’ [Producers] kind of bait you a little bit.”

Producers played up Kelly‘s connection to Luann de Lesseps, because, first and foremost, they like to boast about organic connections among the cast, but Kelly said that they weren’t nearly as close as the show portrayed them to be. “I had met LuAnn once at a cocktail party a couple years beforehand,” she said.

Kelly recalled being told “we just want you as you” when she said agreed to do RHONY. But she got scolded when she opted for a natural look to go horseback riding, “They were like, ‘The next time you film, you need to have your hair blown out and be wearing makeup. You’re supposed to be a supermodel, not a drowned rat.'”

“It’s not a show that celebrates women,” added Kelly. “But that’s just the nature of the beast: He who barks the loudest gets the bone.”

Still, despite being portrayed as psychotic, Kelly admitted she would do it again to support her family. “Call me crazy,” she snarked, “just spell my name right.”

Real Housewives of New York star Alex McCord

Alex McCord compared Real Housewives of New York to Hunger Games, meaning, only those who go above and beyond (to bring the drama) survive.

In addition to the drama, Alex said, “It’s about who can throw the biggest, best party.” Recalling her husband, Simon van Kempen, spending $5,000 to charter a yacht for her birthday, Alex added, “I am sure he thought, ‘Wouldn’t it look great on camera?'”

Alex said Bravo didn’t cover the costs of filmed events back then, but now, they pick up the tab for car services, vacations, parties, etc. that are filmed.

With the good, covered costs, comes the bad, tarnished reputations.

“I think being on the show definitely became frowned upon,” said Alex. “Season one, we had a huge editorial spread in Harper’s Bazaar. That would not happen today.” Alex explained, in the beginning, Real Housewives was all about “glitz and glamour,” and now, it’s “cattiness and drunken faux pas.”

Speaking of tarnished reputations, another former cast member, who asked to remain anonymous, claimed Avery Singer was asked to leave her school because of Ramona Singer‘s behavior on the show.  The former cast member said, “Ramona embarrassed herself on the show and they thought it was a negative reflection on the school.” Ramona said it’s not true, explaining, “Avery loved Sacred Heart but decided she wanted a co-ed [school].”


Photo Credit: John Lamparski/WireImage – Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images – Mike Coppola/Getty Images