I declare myself a Real Housewives fan — it’s been my guilty pleasure since 2011 when I started college. My first Real Housewives love was RHONY, because of course a fashion student would want to see how the women in one of the fashion capitals of the world live. I’d religiously watch the New York Housewives’ lives unfold on my screen while I prepped for a big presentation or worked on my final projects. The fashion, the glitzy lifestyle that was so foreign to me, and (let’s be honest, this is everyone’s favorite part) the drama kept me going when I felt like fashion school was taking a mental and physical toll on me.
I then moved on to Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, which one of my best friends got me into. I’d get so invested in the lives, friendships, and rivalries between the ladies that I’d get into silly little arguments with friends who also followed the show. I loved sitting down and watching the reunions — I knew I would get some drama (both from what the ladies said and what they wore) but I’d also get to see a happy (ish) ending. The more versions of the franchise I followed, the more I fell in love with it.
Still, much like with most of the content I consume, I noticed the lack of Latinx representation among the many cast members of the franchise. And then I discovered Real Housewives of Miami — to say I was hooked was an understatement. I felt an immediate familiarity with the cast as soon as I heard them casually throw around Spanish words and phrases in the same way I do. When I was offered the chance to speak to cast members Marysol Patton and Dr. Nicole Martin, I jumped at the chance.
Despite being starstruck and visibly nervous (I mean, how could I not be? I watch them on TV every week and now I’m on Zoom having a casual conversation with them!), the more I talked to them, the more they seemed exactly like my friends and me. Well, except for their full glam and how stunning both of them looked on a random Monday afternoon compared to my (and my set’s) messy hair and sweatpants. We quickly bonded over our love of croquetas and cocktails (or cockies, as Marysol calls them).
I was curious about how they became Housewives, so naturally, I had to ask. Both of them agreed that it was almost an “accident.” Marysol Patton said a friend of hers suggested she send in her audition. She did, much to her friends’ shock, since she hates cameras). “I didn’t think I was going to get called back. I even kept telling them this: ‘I know you’re never going to pick me.’ But every round, I kept getting a call and being asked back. So now here I am,” she shared. While Marysol doesn’t see herself as a role model for the Latinx community, she did share, “I think there should be role models for everyone and inclusion of everyone, so everyone can feel like ‘that’s me.’”
Similarly, Dr. Nicole Martin told me that she wasn’t trying to become a Housewife. However, when one of her friends passed the opportunity up, she nominated Dr. Nicole in her stead. “We have similar personalities… [And] they offered me a spot and I said ‘okay, let’s give this a try’ — It was totally random — I didn’t envision myself being a role model, but it’s an honor.” She mentioned it was great being able to give young Latinas the chance to see someone whose story and background might be similar to theirs on TV. Someone like Dr. Nicole who had student loans all through medical school, whose father had been in jail, and who despite everything is now very successful and living her best life. “It’s important to share the stories of those who figured out a way to overcome the challenges because I think a lot of times people get discouraged — having examples of people who didn’t come from privilege and they still succeeded is important!”
Both of them agreed that representation for Latinx folks has been lacking in the past but they see improvement: “As a kid watching TV, we didn’t have that many young Latino professionals that you would look up to and be like ‘this is what I aspire to be” remembered Dr. Nicole. Marysol said, “There’s a lot of great, very talented Latinos that need light shown on them,” calling for more to be done when it comes to the representation of Latinx in the media.
Both Dr. Nicole and Marysol feel incredibly proud of being part of a Latinx-heavy cast — the only one in the whole Real Housewives franchise to feature so many Latinas. “The cast very accurately represents the variety of cultures here in Miami. You got Latinas — but you got Cubans, you got Puertoricans, you got Brazilians. You’re not just sticking to one type of Latina. There is a huge Hatitina population in Miami and I think we show that with Kiki and Guerdy. We got our first LGBTQ Housewife with Julia for her part.” Marysol mentioned the group dynamic feels very natural to her too, despite having castmates from other parts of Latin America who speak Spanish (or Portuguese) differently than her — it’s all easy to understand since they all share a lot of the same things, culturally speaking.
As a Latina who leads a very public life, Dr. Nicole mentioned that she has felt affected by negative stereotypes: “There are definitely tropes and stereotypes where Latina women are these hot, sexy, spicy tamales —but we’re so much more than that! Gone are the days when Latinas would have to stay in the house all day. So to be in a position where we get to show that Latinas can own businesses, be moms, and be wives is so important!”
She also mentioned she tried to address these stereotypes this season, especially since one of her castmates was implying she got to where she is in her career by sleeping with different people at the hospital (which led to what is now my favorite RHOM moment: Dr. Nicole setting boundaries, standing up for herself, and uninviting Larsa Pippen to her and Anthony’s engagement party). “These are the types of stereotypes we have fought so hard to overcome! For someone to continue to sexualize women that way and assume that is the only way we can be successful [does] so much damage to Latinas and women in general — this is the type of stuff we need to stop doing to each other.”
Both Marysol and Dr. Nicole acknowledged it was tough getting used to having camera crews follow them around at first but are glad they joined the show. Dr. Nicole even credits Real Housewives of Miami for playing a big part in rebuilding her relationship with her father. “The show has been a tremendous help. We’ve gone to therapy and we’re in a much better place now than we were before. I think we understand each other now more than ever.”
Once the cameras are off, though, both housewives go into recovery mode. Marysol shared, that after filming, “I just hibernate. I don’t leave my house, I don’t do anything — I go back in my shell and I regenerate.” For her part, Dr. Nicole exercises: “I’m a big fitness girl. It’s so important, not just for physical health, but also for me, it’s mental.” Dr. Nicole also spends her time off with her 4-year-old son, Grayson (whose latest birthday party had the coolest dinosaur-inspired theme ever). “I’ll go swimming with my son and do some outdoor activities with him. And we love to eat. We’re big food people here! We’re either outside or eating.”
As we approach the end of RHOM season 5, I can’t help but hope that many more seasons follow this one (without a nearly 10-year hiatus this time!) and that the Miami Housewives keep being an example of what successful, multifaceted Latinas can be.
The season finale is airing Thursday, March 2nd only on Peacock.