With most of the world struggling to keep their sanity and health in check while self-quarantining as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the U.S., who better to go to for advice on maintaining a loose grip on reality than the Real Housewives of New York? Ahead of the Season 12 premiere, Bustle spoke to the entire cast of RHONY, including newest cast member Leah McSweeney, about how they're surviving quarantining with their families and what to expect from the upcoming season, which the Countess calls the “best one yet.”
The cast called in from all over the country: Dorinda Medley from Blue Stone Manor in the Berkshires, Ramona Singer from Mario's house in Boca Raton, Sonja Morgan from Desert Hot Springs, California, Tinsley Mortimer from Chicago with Scott, and Luann DeLesseps and Leah McSweeney from the Hamptons. Below, they share their favorite quarantine TV shows, and the first thing they’re going to do when they get back to New York City.
On their quarantine morale so far:
Sonja: I’m a Sagittarius, so I’m staying positive. I think it’s like the cast trips that we do and we find out what our emotional issues are — that’s what quarantine is like.
Leah: Everything has been pretty cool. One of the first nights me and my sister definitely got pretty wild and drank a little too much, but we haven't done that since. But we needed to blow off steam and forget this insanity for a couple of hours!
Luann: I start my day doing breathing exercises — Kundalini yoga — which is very grounding and spiritual, so that’s where my head’s at.
Ramona: My morale is actually excellent. I’m very blessed that I’m in a fortunate place, where I can be looking at the ocean every day and walk on the beach.
On their quarantine routines:
Ramona: My whole thing is I’m not staying around in a bathrobe all day or not washing my hair and looking like shit, OK? So I get up in the morning, I take my shower, I put my Ageless by Ramona on my face, I put light makeup on, I do my hair... and I look good, but I have my workout clothes on.
Tinsley: Walking my dogs, Strawberry and Shortcake, eat, drink, repeat!
Luann: I’ve been taking hot baths with lavender oil and I put on romantic jazz music. It’s awesome.
Dorinda: People forget that we’re actually friends in real life, and we check in every day [on our group chat]. Ramona is great about sending endless articles about all of this.... I’ve been showering a lot, too. I don’t want to be that person who’s fanatical, but this time, I’m like, I think we have to be a little fanatical about it.
On what they're watching and reading:
Ramona: We watch Game of Thrones until about 9:30 p.m. and then we're in bed!
Leah: Tiger King. I'm just so happy that people like Joe Exotic exist, because he gives no f*cks.
Tinsley: Watching Bravo, of course, and my new favorite shows, 90 Day Fiancé and Married At First Sight.
Dorinda: We are not allowed to watch more than two episodes of whatever we’re watching because we’re petrified we’re going to run out of things to watch. We’re watching Poldark, Ozark, I started Outlander, and we watched Pandemic, which made me hysterical. I only allow myself like 30 minutes of news because I get too nervous.
Sonja: I am reading two great books that you would love. One is The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson and the other book I have is Brain Wash: Detox Your Mind for Clearer Thinking, Deeper Relationships, and Lasting Happiness by David Perlmutter. The other thing you can read about right now is investing — the market is at a low but there are still ways to dabble, like looking into Peloton or Uber stock.
On the first thing they're going to do when the lockdown is over:
Leah: Hopefully have sex with a hot guy!
Sonja: Gotta get back to work, I have appearances that were postponed, and I will be celebrating the premiere with our girls — we have too many people that support us and film with us so we have to celebrate the season. That’s DEFINITELY going to happen.
Ramona: Party, of course! Are you kidding me? Me, the social animal? I entertain all the time, I can’t wait to entertain again.
Luann: My shows have been postponed until the fall, so hopefully going back on tour.
Tinsley: Take a vacation somewhere tropical!
Dorinda: I said to Greg [Colejo, who is with me here] the other night, I can’t wait to just go to a great old school New York bar and sit and order some appetizers, and have a couple drinks and just watch who walks through the door.
On their relationship with "new girl" Leah:
Ramona: At first, I didn’t get her, but then I had this protective nature with her and kind of hold her to a different standard.
Sonja: I was open arms with Leah. I had some really great times with her on the show — I don’t wanna give anything away, but you know me, I’m Sonja, I like to roll with it, so we had some good times.
Dorinda: Leah came in strong, she’s fantastic and gave it as good as she got it. There’s always a little bit of a hazing thing with a new girl, but she didn’t take any of it. The great thing about Leah is that she has what makes a good Housewife. She’s multifaceted; she’s strong, but she’s vulnerable, she’s a business owner, she’s a really great mother, she’s out there dating, she’s involved politically, she’s intelligent, she has her moments like we all do and doesn’t try to shy away from them or make excuses. She’s good people.
On missing Bethenny:
Sonja: I am definitely missing her. I can always depend on her when I need her, I mean, everyone can depend her — look at everything she’s doing for kids right now with her disaster relief program. I feel like if I really need her I can call her.
Dorinda: I love Bethenny and I'm still in contact with her. It’s always sad when you lose a team player. I always say the great thing about these girls is is that we’re all ingredients to a great cake, and none is better than the other so if you take one away, of course you’re going to miss it. But that doesn’t mean that the cake isn’t going to be good still, though she was a strong flavor to our cake.
And how would you describe this new season of RHONY?
Sonja: Wacky. Intellectual and intense.
Ramona: Wow, I usually know right away what to say, but this season we went to a deeper level. It’s real and more exposed.
Luann: Vulnerable, empowering, and for me specifically, redeeming. I think this our best season yet.
Dorinda: Very strong, activity filled, and emotional.
Leah: Totally. F*cking. Insane.
Interviews have been condensed and edited for clarity.