Is it time Bravo cast its first gay male Real Housewife?

Every queer viewer nodded in unison when Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Newcomer Diana Jenkins, who first met her castmates on camera in the season 12 premiere, confessed that she is a gay man trapped in a woman’s body. And on a show that also includes veterans Lisa Rinna and Eryka Jayne, Jenkins is hardly the only one at the table whose personality exudes bold queerness or whose style could dabble in drag.

Indeed, what gay man hasn’t seen himself in one of the eccentric, fearlessly dazzling women who have brought international acclaim (and criticism) to the Bravo franchise? One could argue that gay culture was more visible among the housewives themselves than through the glimpses of gay men symbolized in sporadic episodes as the next must-have accessory. Although many housewives rely on their gay friends or assistants for emotional support and style expertise, these men never outgrow this limited role.

There’s never been a gay “Real Housewife” in the main cast of the franchise, which might not sound surprising considering it’s always been about women. Given that the LGBT community is said to be one of the show’s most passionate fan bases. Is it time Bravo honored her by changing that?

Podcast creator and Andy’s Girls host Sarah Galli narrates The Daily Beast that she doesn’t think it should be about whether a gay man could act as an actor, but should you.

“The notion of what makes a real housewife a real housewife has become diverse,” she says, “but as a female podcaster who talks about these women for hours a week, I think we would lose something by having stories stop.” to be female-specific.”

The Real Housewives of New York City Pictured left to right are Tinsley Mortimer, Sonja Morgan, Bethenny Frankel, Ramona Singer, Dorinda Medley, Luann D’Agostino, Carole Radziwill

Patrick Ecclesine/Bravo

Bravo launched the series with a mission to transport millions of viewers into the unabashedly chaotic lives of wealthy big-city housewives. Executive producer Andy Cohen has repeatedly reiterated his belief in authenticity when casting the show. (One could argue that the exception is the Beverly Hills franchise, although B- or C-list actresses still make a mark for the city bordering Hollywood.)

“The greatest example [of the evolution] would be Bethenny Frankel, who was cast as a broke single woman with no children,” says Galli, “I’m sure there were questions from the network at some point. I mean the original title was New York Manhattan moms, and then they occupied Bethenny. So that was thinking outside the box.”

This was one of the first times the network broke away from the form Bravo had envisioned for the franchise. Arguably becoming the biggest name in the Housewives universe, Frankel proved the value of creative casting beyond the “housewives” prompt. The Skinny Girl founder who appeared as a guest investor shark tank and was one of the few who willingly left RHONY (twice!) demonstrated the magnitude of wealth attainable from the platform if you know how to use it.

Galli says that if Bravo created the Housewives as a vehicle and vessel to expand the experiences of older women and their friend groups, there are other ways to increase queer visibility, e.g. B. by creating more diverse and inclusive shows outside of the Housewives umbrella. (Though she notes that queer women should be a part of the franchise.) “I don’t know that there’s a lot of content that has the voices of women over 40 or 50 showing them living a life of escapism and pleasure and often drama. There a lot of people connect with these shows. You can watch these women going through many chapters in their lives, aging and the complications that come with it.”

Cohen himself revealed in past interviews that the franchise came close to that gay milestone in the late 2000s. “I think the answer is that we were open to it. We almost hired a guy [Real Housewives of New Jersey] who was the first gay housewife to be Dina Manzo’s brother and Caroline’s brother See what’s happening live The presenter also admitted that the network had considered casting a group of lesbian housewives in the past.


“The Real Housewives of Potomac” Pictured left to right, Askale Davis, Candiace Dillard-Bassett, Mia Thornton, Dr. Wendy Osefo

Paul Morigi/Bravo

But these gay ideas never materialized. The communications director of OkCupid (and housewives superfan) Michael Kaye tells The Daily Beast that he would give up his firstborn child to star as the first gay man in the franchise. He believes that any queer person can have a role in any Bravo show, especially considering that a significant portion of their audience is female or gay.

“We live in a very different world than we did two decades ago. There is a way to balance the original mission of empowering and uplifting gentrified women and making sure you are inclusive of gay people.”

Speaking from the perspective of someone who helps run a well-known matchmaker app, he thinks New York would be the most appropriate city to bring a gay man into the existing cast — though recent cast changes complicate things could do. “But you can argue,” Kaye says, “it’s important that a network like Bravo bring queer stories to cities where visibility is more of a challenge.”

If we’ve learned anything from the endless reboots of the last few years, the top rated ones balance an audience’s nostalgia with their desire for something new, as demonstrated by the success of Real Housewives of Miami Revival on Peacock. Otherwise, you risk audiences mercilessly comparing it to its predecessor. Miami breakout star Julia Lemigova, for example, is the first lesbian to be featured as a housewife.

“I’ve been watching Bravo for over a decade,” says Kaye, “and I can only think of a handful of LGBTQ personality stars. It’s weird to say “typified” in a conversation about reality shows, but that’s how gay men are seen on these shows. It’s an overly flamboyant character, someone who behaves in a more feminine manner.”

“When I saw gay men on TV [growing up], they didn’t represent how I acted,” he adds. The pattern established so far on Bravo seems to continue this, which could be an argument against casting a gay man housewives. “After feeling so different from my straight peers, I now felt different from my gay community as well.”

Real Housewives of Salt Lake Citys Meredith Marks tells the Daily Beast that she thought about what it would be like to have a gay man on her show. She says most of the women featured aren’t actual housewives anyway, so that shouldn’t be the reason it didn’t happen. “Most of us work at one level or another. We don’t sit at home twiddling our thumbs and taking care of children. So I agree; it has fully evolved. For me it’s more about dynamics and relationships and seeing that unfold. Having a gay man there would be awesome. It would bring a different energy to the group and I like that.”

The jewelry designer believes that the secret formula for any city’s ultimate success is to bring together people from different walks of life and experiences. “If everyone were equal, there would be no drama. Most of the drama I think is based on people’s different perceptions of life, communication and relationships. You throw them together and it unfolds naturally. We all see things differently because we are wired differently.”


“The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” pictured left to right, Mary Cosby, Meredith Marks, Lisa Barlow

Thomas Cooper/Bravo

Still, viewers might find it harder to digest a man involved in the yelling and cocktail-throwing than a group of single women.

There is always a duty of representation whenever a person from a marginalized community is on screen. And as we have seen, minority members are often held at a higher level. Would a gay “housewife” be subject to a higher standard of behavior than the performers whose outrageous acts we are trying to celebrate?

Kaye thinks about what happened to that one Real housewives of the Potomac and how closely the entire cast was scrutinized for a physical altercation between Monique Samuels and Candiace Dillard in the Season 5 finale. “It was discouraging. Over the years, how many times have we seen white women push, threaten, or throw drinks at one another? This is all assault. We commend Teresa Guidice for turning a table, but there’s another level of scrutiny of people of color and queer people.”

On the other hand, Marks sees no potential problem in this. There are many gay men who act as lone male warriors in their squad of fabulous women. Bravo should not tolerate offensive behavior from any member, regardless of gender. Marks also hails from a town where other Homeland Security cast members have been arrested, accused of running a religious cult, making racist comments online, and we haven’t even gotten to Lisa Barlow’s Trojan Horse (which is considered Marks’ best girlfriend acted). throughout Season 1 and most of 2, only to then verbally destroy her character and reputation in one of Hot Mic’s most viral moments). A gay man, Marks thinks, could be a welcome respite from the chaos.

According to Marks, the focus should be less on whether it’s a gay man, trans woman or lesbian and more on analyzing which person best complements each group. “I think it can happen in multiple cities, including Salt Lake City.” The idea of ​​an all-queer cast intrigues her, but she says the goal should be to unite mutual friends and acquaintances on TV, rather than them with an agenda bring together.

The gods of the Bravo network will no doubt decide what will happen in the future. But if you change the course of the tide, you’ll stay at the head of the wave. A gay man won’t make or break any of the shows, but they might help spark a revival. After all, the city that never sleeps has slept long enough. Is it time Bravo cast its first gay male Real Housewife?


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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