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.
Series that were filmed during 2020 for Bravo were either a hit or a miss last year. With the coronavirus pandemic totally flipping everything on its head, the cast members from some of the shows just couldn’t bring it like they usually do. For example, something was really off with shows like the Real Housewives of Orange County and the Real Housewives of Dallas. Real Housewives of New Jersey brought it as always. And then some shows, like Summer House and Southern Charm, were a major surprise. They proved that no matter what’s going on in the world, there is always shade to be thrown and drama to be had.
Southern Charm took on the Black Lives Matter movement, several cast members getting COVID-19 and the exposure of Madison LeCroy’s FaceTime dates with Alex Rodriguez while he was still engaged to THE Jennifer Lopez. So there was no shortage of mess to be had or pots for Shep Rose to stir. And as for Summer House, the good vibes tribe tackled working from home from the Hamptons house. And all the extra time definitely proved to increase some tension between the roommates.
Bravo is also giving fans the gift of several new shows, including the Real Housewives All-Stars series and the Southern Charm/Summer House mashup. Dubbed Winter Charm by fans, the show will include the New York crew joined by Austen Kroll and newly single Craig Conover for a winter vacay. It’s unclear if Hannah Berner is involved now that she’s leaving Summer House for a comedy career or whatever. But no matter who’s there, the show is sure to be filled with plenty of Loverboys to go around and even more drama.
Rumor has it that new Real Housewives of Beverly Hills diamond-holder Sutton Stracke is going to be working for that paycheck this year. She’s allegedly the only one to question, rightly so, Erika Jayne’s shady divorce and involvement in Tom Girardi’s legal issues. She’s buddy-buddy with Garcelle Beauvais, who also understands the assignment, particularly when it comes to holding Lisa Rinna and Kyle Richards accountable. And in the most recent episode, she got into it with Crystal Kung Minkoff, who also came out of the gates strong with an interesting back story and a little shade here and there.
The Sutton v. Crystal fight was hard to watch. Kyle was explaining to the new RHOBH newbies Garcelle’s point of view, particularly as it pertains to race, when it came to Kyle’s attempt at exposing her for not paying at her charity auction. Crystal began talking about her experience dealing with stereotypes as an Asian woman, something a few other Bravolebrities *cough cough* the Real Housewives of Dallas, could learn a thing or two about.
Sutton cut Crystal off in the middle of her explanation, saying they weren’t “doing that” aka bringing race into the discussion. The Southern Belle dug her hole deeper, saying she deals with stereotypes just like Crystal as a white woman from the South. Crystal asked if Sutton was one of those people that “doesn’t see color,” and it’s clear this feud is far from over after just one episode.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills are back and already feuding during the second episode of the season. The ladies went to Lake Tahoe to hang out in a beautiful mansion with plenty of snacks for Kathy Hilton. Garcelle Beauvais continued to let Lisa Rinna know she’s not letting her off the hook for her total betrayal of Denise Richards. It was hyped up that Erika Jayne would reveal something related to her
sham divorce and ongoing legal issues. But, as usual, she was bland, vague and disappointing. Maybe she knows the feds are watching.
Kathy was the true star of the show, asking to put mouthwash in a flask and taunting her sister Kyle Richards by calling her Doogie. That’s total payback for Kyle calling Denise a raggamuffin. And the episode ended with the newest diamond holders Sutton Stracke and Crystal Kung Minkoff going head-to-head after hours.
Kyle was speaking to the newbies about her talk with Garcelle about the charity auction drama. Kyle was actually a good listener for once and seemed to have learned something from Garcelle speaking about her experience as a black woman. Crystal began talking about stereotypes that people of Asian descent deal with. And Sutton weirdly cut her off saying they weren’t “doing that” or talking about racial stereotypes. Like Crystal said, it’s easy for Sutton to say as a white woman of privilege. It ended with Crystal asking Sutton if she was one of those girls that “doesn’t see color.” The claws are out and we know this fight is far from over.
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.