As if it weren't enough that she was tall, blonde, and a cast member of Real Housewives of New York, Heather Thomson wore a bright red dress to the Ford Artists Beauty Suite last week. It was impossible to miss her, which I regard as a real stroke of luck because it turns out that the Yummie Tummie founder and reality star is legit nice and ultra likable.
Thomson was happy to tell me all about what it was like to be on a national television show and share the spotlight with the notorious Ramona Singer — and I was happy to record our conversation, then transcribe it, and now I'm happy to include it below, for your reading pleasure.
The Fashion Spot: Do you think you are portrayed accurately on the show?
Heather Thomson: The thing about Housewives is that it's in a way, a caricature of ourselves, but it is also us — clearly! I think they find the quirkiest parts of our personalities and focus in on them.
So it's me, it's definitely me. At the beginning, I think I came across a little as a Debbie Downer. You know, my dad had died and I was trying to explain the story of my son and it was difficult to explain. For people who are watching the show hoping to see tables flipped over and stuff like that, I think it was a little depressing, in the way they [the producers] edited me. But it's not that way at all. Anytime you lose a parent, it's going to be tough. But Jack's story is a success story, it's not a sad story. I just think it took awhile to get to know me. So I think I am portrayed well, but I think it took the audience a while to really feel who I am.
tFS: How has your business been affected by the show?
HT: Brand awareness. And that was my 100% biggest reason for doing the show. But also, when opportunity knocks, you have to weigh the pros and cons and make a decision. And I decided, for sure, the benefits outweighed the risks.
tFS: Has it changed your life, apart from your business?
HT: It's a big change to just be working a second full-time job, apart from my business. When I first signed on for the show, I expected it to be a really four solid months of my life. It's not. It's a year, it's a full-time job. It never stops. I mean, from filming the show to the talking heads, the interviews, appearing on Andy's show, to the press that you do to support the show and the cast — and of course I'm not going to not do all of that — so it's always on my agenda, every week. Even when we're done filming.
tFS: Any fashion regrets on the show?
HT: It's very difficult to navigate the lighting, because you never know what the lighting's going to be like in each environment. My hair and makeup team has done an amazing job on the show, but I think I'm kind of learning, less-is-more. You know, I don't wear a lot of makeup in my normal life, so I think I'll maybe turn it down a little. But that's not really a fashion thing, it's more like a lesson.
I would say: pajamas. During the whole Aviva [Drescher]/"white trash" fight. We didn't know exactly when she would show up at the house, so we were in the middle of getting ready, and I was literally in my pajamas. And they said, "Hurry up! Aviva's coming, you have to get to the house." And instead of thinking twice about what I had on, I just ran. So, I'm in like, my bathrobe. For that entire scene. It's real though, so I guess it's not a regret. It is what it is.
tFS: Who of your castmates have you become closest to?
HT: Carole [Radziwill], Aviva, LuAnn [de Lesseps]. I have to tell you, I really do have an affinity for them all. Even Ramona [Singer]. We work together, we're an ensemble cast. And I care about each one of them. If something happened to them, I would be very upset.
I'm closest to Carole, I would say for sure. And then Aviva and LuAnn. And I have different kinds of relationships with them. You know, just how you have your friend you go shopping with and also your friend you tie one on with, and you have your friend that you call when the chips are down and you've got something to talk about. Each one gives me different opportunities to utilize what they have to offer, outside of the show as well.
tFS: Were you surprised by the turn of events between Aviva and Ramona in St. Barths? Did you see it coming?
HT: I wasn't surprised because I knew Aviva had…she told me that she and Ramona had an off-camera conversation, and Aviva asked her to please support Reed coming. And — this is all hearsay, because I didn't talk to Ramona about it, but I think Aviva expected Ramona to support Reed coming more.
What Ramona says was, "I always supported Reed coming, I just didn't think he was going to be staying in the house with us."
And I get it, I do. There's a dynamic when all the women are there, and then when the men come, you'll see in the next episode, it really does totally change. If Jonathan had to fly me down, I can say that his choice probably would have been to stay at a hotel. If there were all girls in a house, he would have understood that was our situation. But I can't judge that, I can only have my opinion. So I was surprised at how it went on and on and on and on.
It wasn't like when I got into a fight with Ramona and I would say, "I'm done," and then I would go and enjoy the other girls. This affected everybody — it wasn't just their fight. And I was sad to see Sonja get involved in it, because I think she got caught in the crossfires.
tFS: Do you think Ramona is different on camera than she is in real life?
HT: Not really. Ramona is who she is. And she is a one-of-a-kind. And you know, really early in filming, I found it really hard to film with her in general. Just having a conversation was difficult. But when Ramona decided to accept me, then things changed.
I always have the door open to find — I always believe there's good in everybody — and so I was always trying…there had to be something in there. And she shows it to me in St. Barths, and so … once she was ready, willing, and able to find an open door, I was ready. And I find this nice side in her, I do. Ramona has this motherly instinct, and I have to respect, come hell and high water, that she stands behind Sonja. I call them "Ramonja forevermore." They're like a modern-day Laurel and Hardy. With a lot of booze, of course, mixed in.
Images by Brad Triffitt