'You see the dynamics of the group change,' the Bravolebrity says of season 7

By Evan Slead
Updated December 06, 2016 at 07:44 PM EST
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The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

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The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills season 7 introduces viewers to yet another classic tagline: “I may be two people, but I’m not two-faced.”

The woman behind it, Erika Girardi, a.k.a. Erika Jayne to her music fans, showed off her confident, “pretty-mess” attitude to viewers of the Bravo series last season, and now she’s back to show more of the woman behind the catsuit. With nine No. 1 singles on the U.S. Billboard Dance Club Songs chart under her belt, this singer-songwriter and TV personality isn’t holding back on her second round of Housewives.

EW caught up with the wife, mother, and performer to talk about season 7 (premiering Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET), the evolution of her high-octane alter ego Jayne, and what it truly means to be a cast member on the show.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When you first start on the Housewives, do you get to meet everyone beforehand?

ERIKA GIRARDI: No. Last year, the first time I ever met Lisa Vanderpump, Lisa Rinna, and Eileen [Davidson] at the Sofitel was really true. When I meet Kyle at the park, that was the firs time I met Kyle Richards, so it’s very authentic.

How deep are the relationships you make with the ladies? Many of the other Housewives across the franchise have mentioned before they don’t actually consider each other friends. Where do you fall in that?

Well, I mean, I actually like my cast members. We speak when we’re not filming and we can keep in touch. We’ll meet for lunch and go over to each other’s houses from time to time. Listen, the women that I work with are very great, very smart; they all have their own businesses. They keep busy, but we stay in touch throughout the year.

What was your first experience with filming a reunion special? Was it as grueling as others have made it out to be?

We started very early and went into the evening, so it was about a 12 to 14-hour day. This is your chance to air any grievances or bring up things that you felt were unanswered, so sometimes old wounds get reopened, but I don’t think it was terrible. No one needed therapy afterward. I mean, Yolanda’s [Foster] situation was different. She was very hurt, she was ill and she had the hardest time, I think. That’s my opinion anyway.

What can we expect to see from you this season that we didn’t see last year?

I’m having a lot of fun. We get to know a lot about me, Erika. We saw a lot of Erika Jayne last year, well we see a lot of Jayne this year too, but we get to see a little more about who I am and where I’ve come from, which I think is great. We take a lot of trips to Hong Kong, Mykonos, and Mexico so there’s a lot of lifestyle glamour and fun.

What is something viewers don’t know about you that you think they should?

Listen, at the end of the day, we’re all human beings and I’m a very normal, down-to-earth person. I’m just a regular woman who just happens to have a really incredible life.

What would you say is your main reason for originally joining the cast?

Well, it would be wrong of me not to point out the attention that the show has brought to Erika Jayne. She used to only live in the clubs, but now she’s in peoples’ living rooms. I gathered a whole new fan base. I was mostly only known in the LGBTQ community, but now I’m known far and wide by everyday people, which I think is wonderful.

Was that new fame daunting at all?

I’m 45 years old, so I’m very comfortable in my own skin, so it wasn’t scary. I will say that I’m always shocked at how big the show is and who watches the show. It always brings a smile to my face. Whether it be judges, or law enforcement, or attorneys, everyone watches Housewives. I think it’s everyone’s guilty pleasure. The fame stuff though, whatever, who cares, you know what I mean?

Are you a fan of other Bravo shows?

Sure, I like to watch The Real Housewives of Atlanta because that’s my hometown. Those girls always have it together. Their hair, their makeup, their outfits, they always bring it all. I do watch a little bit of Vanderpump Rules from time to time because it’s… [Laughs] I mean, how could you not watch that? I told Lisa [Vanderpump], “I have to tell you this, I watch Vanderpump Rules,” and she goes, “Aren’t they amazing?” Good for her. It’s kind of genius, it really is.

If you created your own reality show, what would it be: competition-based or a straightforward day-in-the-life series?

Oh my gosh! This is the hardest question I’ve ever been asked! [Laughs] Life itself is sort of a competition. Let’s just say I had my own reality TV show and it was based around Erika Jayne and the Pretty Mess crew. I mean, it’s competition to stay in the crew, to stay on the stage, to keep that persona going, you know what I’m saying? So much would be based around performance and life and how we all get along. I’ve never really thought about it — that truly threw me for a loop, so thanks! [Laughs]

With this show, we get to see women, mothers, and business moguls really step up and become these powerful people. Much like you.

Oh, thank you. You have to find the humanity in everyone. We’re all in the same boat and have the same trials, so to hear that is really nice. What I find enjoyable about my cast is that everyone is working, like I said earlier, whether it’s Lisa with her restaurants, Kyle has her new show on TV Land, Rinna has her QVC line, and Eileen is still on The Young and the Restless. Everyone has their thing that it adds such a great layer. It’s not just a bunch of bitches who get together to fight.

Sell viewers on season 2.

I think you’re going to like it. Like I said earlier, it’s a lot of lifestyle with great trips, but we have two new members with Dorit [Kemsley] and Eden [Sassoon] for some new energy. You see the dynamics of the group change a bit, so it’s fun. I get to know everyone a little bit better because this is year two for me. The friendships get a little bit deeper. I had a lot of fun, I really did.

Even with the newcomer Dorit and the drama we saw in the preview?

Well, you know, I’m not going to spoil the season, but you’re going to make up your own mind. Then you’re going to call me when the season’s over and say, “E, you were right.” [Laughs] You’re going to have fun, everyone will who watches.

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The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Bravo’s guilty-pleasure franchise meets California luxe
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