We could all use some kindness, but the last place you expect to see it is on Bravo. But damn it, call your friends and family because this story managed to melt even my hardened, dark, barely beating heart. Go ahead and grab a tissue because the sun might get in your eyes or you could be at risk of suffering a spontaneous allergy attack after this one. Bravo and the shows on Bravo are many things to many people, but sometimes it’s everything to one person. Today we meet Miss Bella Pape.
Bella loves reality television and all that it implies, her favorites are the Real Housewives and she’s quite familiar with the franchise. But Bella isn’t binge-watching shows on a rainy day, she was born with a disorder that has kept her in long-term care for most of her life. In 2020 Bella was hoping to attend BravoCon, but it was cancelled due to the pandemic. The event has returned in 2021, but Bella’s health is deteriorating and traveling is no longer an option. So the troops rallied and brought BravoCon to Bella, thanks to Real Housewives of D.C. alum, Mary Amons.
The current season of the Real Housewives of New York is truly unlike any other. The smaller gang of five women take on the coronavirus pandemic (namely, Ramona Singer’s maskless antics) and a racial reckoning across the country that truly impacted NYC in a significant way. The show FINALLY added its first Black cast member Eboni K. Williams, a friend of Leah McSweeney and a totally badass career woman.
It’s clear as Bravo has started to diversify Real Housewives casts from many cities that the burden is being put on the woman of color who are responsible for educating and correcting the behavior of upper-class white women of privilege. Just look at Tiffany Moon’s first season on the Real Housewives of Dallas or Crystal Kung Minkoff’s first few episodes on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. And honestly, it’s not their job to be the moral compass of the group. Just show me their massive houses and fabulous lifestyles, and let the ladies who can’t get with the program read a book to deal with their own issues.
Last week’s RHONY episode was especially hard to watch. Luann de Lesseps called Eboni “angry” and kicked her out of her house for correctly saying she has more education than her fellow co-stars. The Countess needs a chill pill. I’d understand the outrage if Eboni was trying to be the queen of cabaret or a spokesmodel for Jovani, but that’s not the case.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Season 11 premiered this week and it’s drawn viewers in already. The leftover drama between Garcelle Beauvais, Kyle Richards, and Lisa Rinna has yet to be resolved. Erika Girardi is on the cusp of a bitter divorce, and new cast members offer potential for more drama.
Of course Kathy Hilton will be well known to fans and the other RHOBH ladies. As Kyle’s sister, the other cast members have had indirect contact with her via Kyle and Kathy’s tabloid presence. But Crystal Kung Minkoff is relatively unknown. She was invited to join the cast because of her close friendship with Kathy. But Crystal will bring a lot to the show in her own right, and we can expect that some of that material will include her own Chinese heritage.
Real Housewives of Atlanta and Real Housewives of Potomac prominently feature Black women’s stories. Still, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Bravo has kept Housewives series divided by race. This whole separate but equal idea was supposed to die after 1954, but it’s lived on in Bravo-land for over a decade.
On Real Housewives of Orange County diversity means casting brunettes. Real Housewives of New Jersey rarely casts non-Italians. Don’t get me started on how Real Housewives of Dallasjustthrew Tiffany Moon, their first Asian cast member, into a sea of ignorant white women because this racist video of Brandi Redmond surfaced last year. Real Housewives of New York takes place in the most diverse city in the United States, but it took 13 seasons to get Eboni K. Williams on screen. Then, after 10 seasons of mainly white women, Garcelle Beauvais was cast on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Rightfully, Garcelle wants to know why it took so long.
The addition of a new cast member brings a lot of anticipation. How will they fit into the group? Who will they bicker with? And most importantly, is the new house tour. Even more exciting, is entering the Real Housewives closet. We get to know a new personality, and a new style.
When Dr. Tiffany Moon joined Real Housewives of Dallas for its fifth season, her closet definitely did not disappoint. It was, in fact, exquisite. So exquisite that Tiffany uses a top of the line fingerprint lock to safeguard it all. But that’s not the extend of all the security she has for her most prized possessions.
The Real Housewives of Dallas really tried it this last season. The franchise had two major blemishes to address. The first of which was carnie LeeAnne Locken who acted like a clown referring to her co-star, Kary Brittingham, as a “chirpy Mexican.” On camera no less! LeeAnne was shown the exit, seemingly easily, after that one. Brandi Redmond, on the other hand, was allowed back after her between-season-call-out for blatantly mocking Asians on her very public Twitter. While Brandi sought a retreat to cure her ignorance, Bravo also had the marvelous idea to add Asian immigrant Housewife Dr. Tiffany Moon to the cast! What could go wrong!?
While I think it was obvious Brandi never stood a chance of redemption, did anyone see the following Kameron Westcott parade of mis-information coming? Her brother-in-law got involved via Twitter. For someone named after an informational graphic, Chart Westcott really miffed his attempt to school Tiffany.
Whether you love Bravolebrities or love to hate them, the thread tying us all together is that we’re Bravo fans. If you’re reading this article, you love Bravo. These shows and the people on them bring us joy. It’s rare that we get the chance to be in a room with thousands of other like-minded people to celebrate that joy.
Two years ago, Bravo gifted us with BravoCon. It put thousands of fans together, for the first time ever, in the same room with Bravolebrities from Real Housewives, Below Deck, Vanderpump Rules, Shahs of Sunset, Top Chef, Married to Medicine, Southern Charm, Million Dollar Listing, Summer House and more! If you’re like me, and you missed out in 2019, you now have a second chance at this experience, because BravoCon is back!
Something leaked into the Bravo water and that is some toxic mess. The past two weeks have given us more drama during hiatus than actual production. Porsha Williams and Falynn Guobadia are about to go full The Boy Is Mine on Real Housewives of Atlanta. Kim Zolciak is permanently tardy for the party and now the party is OVAH. Real Housewives of Dallas star Tiffany Moon has been subjected to racism on social media during AAPI month. What else could possibly happen?
Grab a Kleenex and a soothing tea, perhaps. After a season of nonsense and complete delusion where we learned, SUMMER, FUN, HANNAH BERNER, NOT FUN – the time has come. Let’s all join hands and bow our heads
in thanks, Hannah will not be returning to Summer House.