“If there’s anyone that I had to kill or a body that I had to bury, you would be my first phone call.” For many, such a declaration would be an unusual form of praise. For Danielle Olivera, it’s the highest she could ask for.
“I almost cried,” the Summer House star recalls to me over a Vesper martini at Sant Ambroeus in New York City’s West Village. She’d been having dinner with a college best friend when the pal paid her the compliment. “That’s the ultimate. Because you know I’m going to do this, I’m going to have your back in this, and you know that I’m intelligent enough to do it the right way.”
If you’ve watched Olivera on Bravo’s Summer House — or its spin-off, Winter House, now airing its third season on Bravo — you’ve observed the “ride or die” vibes she’s emanated since joining the show in 2018. That energy is no more obvious than when it comes to her friendship with co-star Lindsay Hubbard. “I will do literally anything for my friends, but I [became] more of the Robin to someone’s Batman, and that’s actually not how I am,” Olivera says of her on-screen dynamic with Hubbard. “[Lindsay’s] a Leo, and I think that persona is so great for television, but it’s also really great to play off of me, a big Capricorn who doesn’t need to be the star.”
There was another reason Olivera wasn’t appearing quite as “activated” as her castmates. Summer House follows a group of young professionals in New York City who, on the weekends, split a share house in Southampton. Much of the group is self-employed or works together — just take Kyle Cooke, who founded the alcohol brand Loverboy and hired castmates like his wife, Amanda Batula, and close friend Carl Radke. But for the first few seasons, Olivera balanced her filming commitments with a full-time job as a project manager for Capital One. “I was getting off of a train [to the Hamptons] super late, I would look more buttoned-up, and I didn’t really have that much flexibility to put myself out there too much,” says the 34-year-old, who, despite looking reunion-ready in a denim waistcoat and a full face of glam, still maintains the down-to-earth demeanor of that hardworking friend of yours in finance. She asks questions, orders bread, and is thrilled to learn I’m also a Capricorn. “I felt like I wasn’t doing the show the best I could have. Even after I got a couple of seasons under my belt I was just like, ‘Why me? I’m not a fan favorite by any stretch.’”
After all, in order to be a “fan favorite” on Bravo, you have to behave in a way that Capital One’s HR likely would not approve of — meaning you often have to find yourself in the white-hot center of mess. And that’s exactly what Olivera did last season after Hubbard started dating her co-star, Radke. In the past, they’ve referred to themselves as the “three amigos.” But when Hubbard and Radke’s relationship skyrocketed — they moved in together and got engaged all before their first anniversary — Olivera felt more like the sola amiga. The drama subsequently played out in a series of drunken screaming matches, public meltdowns, and surprising shifts in allegiances throughout the season. “What I really wanted was for her to be there for me like I had always been there for her, and it got all messy,” says Olivera, who was on the rocks with her now-ex boyfriend Robert Sieber during filming. “I wanted to put my foot down because I felt like I deserved that friendship, and I wasn’t going to go down without a fight.” (Hubbard declined to comment to Bustle about the pair’s friendship.)
“Even after I got a couple of seasons under my belt I was just like, ‘Why me? I’m not a fan favorite by any stretch.’”
Though the turmoil led to a temporary fracture in her relationship with Hubbard, Olivera’s standing in the Bravoverse had never been more solid. Trailers for the season’s reunion were advertised with the tagline “Danielle Olivera & Lindsay Hubbard Face Off.” Popular fan accounts like Queens of Bravo began creating memes dedicated to her. She was also invited to star on Winter House for the first time, which now films in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and is an honor reserved only for Bravo “fan favorites” like Southern Charm’s Craig Conover or Vanderpump Rules’ Tom Schwartz.
Now on our second round of drinks — we’ve moved onto glasses of Sauvignon Blanc as Daisy Jones & The Six star Camila Morrone slides into the booth next to us for tea — Olivera pauses to answer an onslaught of texts from a bride-to-be friend who’s having bachelorette party drama. As a single 30-year-old, it’s a balancing act that’s familiar to me: dating app messages juxtaposed by texts from pals stressed about wedding planning, brunches where I talk about hookups while others chat egg freezing and baby timelines.
Olivera says that at its core, her rift with Hubbard was actually much more about the growing pains that come from being in different places and having different priorities in these very transitional years. “In the very beginning, our connection was work. We both had this hustle in us. Then over the course of life, Lindsay stopped doing some of her PR work. She was more focused on marriage and the future of family, and I was more focused on building an empire,” says Olivera, who recently launched Donne App, where users can digitize their wardrobes and connect with styling professionals. “I turn 35 at the end of this year, and I don’t have baby fever. My ovaries don’t really do anything when I see a child, but when I see an article about female founders, that does something to me.”
Yet prior to filming the upcoming season of Summer House, Olivera and Hubbard met for lunch, which turned into a four-hour hang and a path toward reconciliation. So when Hubbard and Radke unceremoniously called off their engagement this summer, Olivera was by her side, ready to do just about anything short of burying Radke’s body — or, as Queens of Bravo put it, Olivera became the Charlotte to Hubbard’s Carrie when Big ends things on their wedding day in the first Sex and the City movie. (Radke declined to comment to Bustle about his relationship with Hubbard.) First, Olivera invited the female cast of Summer House over to her apartment to rally around the heartbroken Hubbard. Then, when Hubbard decided to still move forward with her Bahamas bachelorette party, Olivera, who hadn’t been on the initial guest list, gamely attended. “I was like, ‘Just let me know what flight I’m going on and who to Venmo. What are we wearing? Who needs help?’” She says. Castmates Sam Feher and Gabby Prescod also attended, rocking matching “activated AF” trucker hats during the group’s yacht day. “To have that many bad*sses just get there and make her feel [supported], I was just like, ‘I’m exactly where I need to be.’”
As we finish off the last sip of our wine, we start gossiping about the then-upcoming BravoCon, where Olivera would go on to “have fun” with Southern Hospitality’s Joe Bradley and continue hanging out with him back in New York. “I’m not a chatty person with my relationships, but when it comes to work stuff, I’ll chew your ear off, because that’s what I get excited about,” she says. Although Olivera is squarely in her empire-building era, she still has boundless empathy and enthusiasm for those who are focused on family building, and she’ll always have their backs. “When I go to dinners with my friends who have kids now, I’m like, ‘This is where I’m at; now, let me hear about the kids!’” she says. “Let me go through their pictures because I’m invested in you.”