'Wives gone wild: The all-stars of Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip dish on the new series
We've seen tables flipped, champagne thrown, and plenty of fingers pointed, but we've never seen the Real Housewives like this: On Peacock's new reality series (Nov. 18), seven icons of the beloved Bravo franchise — Atlanta peaches Cynthia Bailey and Kenya Moore, Beverly Hills OG Kyle Richards, Jersey girls Teresa Giudice and Melissa Gorga, and New Yorkers Luann de Lesseps and Ramona Singer — take the Ultimate Girls Trip to Turks and Caicos.
Ahead of the mash-up series, EW zoomed with the glamorous septet (jet-setting de Lesseps called in from Saint-Tropez; Giudice wore a Gucci T-shirt with a pineapple on it, as an Easter egg for RHONJ fans) to talk about picking rooms, one very special TikTok, and how Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip breaks all the Bravo rules — and the fourth wall.
Though they've all been part of the Housewives universe for years, much of this crew — apart from the same-franchise pairs — had never spent a lot of time together.
CYNTHIA BAILEY: I, of course, knew Kenya the most, and I also have a really great close relationship with Luann. I did not know Teresa at all, really; I got to know Melissa a lot more on the trip, and I'd never really hung out with Ramona. Kyle and I have tons of friends in common as well but [had] never hung out-hung out.
MELISSA GORGA: The only one was Luann that I really didn't know as well as I know the other ladies, and I really feel like I got to know her on the trip too. She actually surprised me the most — she was different than I thought she would be in person.
RAMONA SINGER: I really got to know Teresa intimately. I really had no idea anything about her. My opinion completely changed, which you'll find out why and how on the show.
TERESA GIUDICE: I've heard things about Ramona that I was like, you know what, I'm not going to judge her, I'm going to get to know her for her, so you'll see how that plays out.
KYLE RICHARDS: I had met all of these women at some point or another, but I didn't know any of them well.
KENYA MOORE: Kyle is lying! We slept together 15 years ago!
LUANN DE LESSEPS: That was me you slept with!
It's not a true Real Housewives vacay unless room selection is a battle to the death for the best accommodation. A word to the wise: When it comes to picking rooms, beware the Singer stinger.
MOORE: With [RHOA], it's usually whoever is hosting the trip, they get to select the rooms. In this show, we didn't have someone hosting the trip. You have seven all-stars; you have these big personalities. Everyone wants the master suite, and then there was a room that no one wanted. So it was like, how are we going to figure this out? But it was one of the highlights of the entire show, because it was so much drama!
DE LESSEPS: Remember, Ramona was on this trip, so you can only guess how the room selection went.
RICHARDS: I was warned. I was forewarned about Ramona in the selection.
BAILEY: Ramona, I think you can speak to this better than anyone.
SINGER: You're going to have to watch! Just know, it was definitely a major part of the show, there was a major discussion, and major things happened.
GIUDICE: The only thing I wanted was a bathtub. That's all I asked for. I said I want a bathtub. That's all I kept saying: I want a bathtub.
GORGA: Alright. Let's not talk about the rooms, or it'll go sour quickly.
One of the hallmarks of the franchise is the cast's confessional interviews, intercut with the main action, through which the ladies provide their personal commentary on whatever drama is consuming the group. These are usually filmed on a soundstage, with spectacular if impractical wardrobe, weeks after the fact. Not this time.
MOORE: We had them on the fly!
RICHARDS: That was the craziest part, to me. I did one of my interviews with a towel on my head and coffee in my hand. Other interviews after drinking all night, and other ones [with] people coming in and sitting next to you.
SINGER: That was hysterical! Maybe Melissa would be filming a confessional, and I'd jump in, or we'd all jump in together. It was really funny. It was very different, and I think very entertaining!
GORGA: I think that was my favorite thing. We could just randomly walk into a room and push a button, and there's a big light on you, and you just start talking with your drink in your hand, and half the time you're a little tipsy, but you say what you really feel in the moment [as] opposed to when we do our interviews a couple weeks later or whatever it is.
BAILEY: I would agree with that. [In a normal season], by the time we do the interviews sometimes, we're not even that upset anymore or emotional about it anymore, and [this time] you get it fresh — and unfiltered.
In a normal season of The Real Housewives, Bravo is the perpetual elephant in the room. Only in moments of extreme stress does anyone break the show's no. 1 rule and acknowledge the cameras (just ask Denise Richards). On Ultimate Girls Trip, however, there's no pretending that the ladies' lives as 'wives aren't what brought this crew together — so the fourth wall comes crashing down.
BAILEY: I am obsessed with breaking the fourth wall. I think we should always be able to break the fourth wall because a lot of things happen off the show that [viewers] don't get to see.
GORGA: It was so refreshing to be able to talk about our experiences as Housewives and to break the fourth wall and just talk about how we all have the same issue with our families and being on TV.
DE LESSEPS: It was great because we got to talk about the things that we all have to go through. We're all Housewives, but we all, at the end of the day, are women with our lives. We shared so much about ourselves.
MOORE: We just talked like girlfriends without trying to kind of recalibrate in our heads how it's supposed to sound to the audience. We just spoke very liberally, and it was really cool. It was a lot of fun to learn about each of the girls and just what they're really going through, the same as us. I mean, it's like an exclusive club.
SINGER: We did a lunch [where] we went around the table, and we said, what is the best thing about being a Housewife on Bravo and what is the worst thing. It was very interesting!
GIUDICE: What I like about breaking the fourth wall [is], I think a lot of people judge me because they don't really know me that well, and it's based on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. So, now they're going to see me in a different light on this show, which I'm excited about. I actually, for the first time ever, enjoyed being on TV. Because being on the top, you always get, like, attacked. And we supported each other — it was amazing. It was women supporting women. I'm all about that, and about empowerment, and [RHONJ has] totally different vibes.
SINGER: I agree with that. It was very enjoyable. Because we all came in respecting each other. No one was trying to really attack anyone. Well, maybe some people were.
BAILEY: Atlanta's very high drama, very stressful. I don't know if the other ladies can relate, but before we usually start filming, depends on what's happening, I usually just get this knot in my stomach because it's like, what's getting ready to happen? Is some crazy bullet coming my way? I never felt, on this trip, like anything too crazy was going to happen. Obviously, we had our moments, and we had drama, but it wasn't that, like, 'Oh my God, is some girl going to show up, who's like, supposedly sleeping with my husband?!' Or whatever.
RICHARDS: What I really liked about it was learning how other franchises, learning about their relationships, and I learned that how they navigate through their show is very different than how we are in Beverly Hills. I was there not only as a fellow Housewife, but as a fan of the other franchises, so it was very interesting to me.
MOORE: I was such a fan. Goodbye, Kyle! I couldn't wait to say it.
RICHARDS: I was singing Luann's songs all the time.
DE LESSEPS: I'd be passing by Kyle's room, and I would literally hear her going, Money can't buy you class…
The show hasn't even aired yet, but it's already delivered one meme-able moment: A TikTok posted by Gorga (then re-shared by most of her castmates) of all the ladies dancing on a beach promptly went viral. EW gets the true story behind the instantly iconic clip.
MOORE: You're looking at the wizard behind the cape, honey! The wizard behind the curtain! I knew I wanted to do a TikTok that day, but of course, I am the worst at social media, so I knew Melissa is the best at social media. So I said, Melissa, I know you're the girl that can make this happen. I told her what I wanted us to do and the song, and she took over from there, and we just made magic.
GORGA: She would not stop asking me all day.
MOORE: We broke the internet with that!
GORGA: To give all the ladies credit here — one shot. Possibly two takes.
DE LESSEPS: I didn't even know what was going down. I was just like, okay, we'll do a little dance? I had no idea. Otherwise, I would have put a little bit more effort into it.
SINGER: I thought I wasn't part of it! I thought I wasn't. I go, 'You girls did this without me!' You go, 'No, that's you!' I go, 'Oh my God.'
BAILEY: Ramona was hands-down the star of the TikTok.
RICHARDS: I used to be coordinated. I don't know what happened with my life, but I am so uncoordinated now. I was like, you know what? I'm just going to do a [cartwheel]. I'm outta here. I didn't know so many people were going to see that thing!
BAILEY: We just did it. We were rushing; we were getting ready to wrap up. I almost want to do a TikTok do-over.
GORGA: I want to get back together and do it correct, yes… [But] honestly, it wouldn't have been as fun if we were perfect. We were a hot mess, and it was perfect just like that.
Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip premieres on Peacock on Nov. 18.