Ramona Singer — Real Housewife of New York, religious jewelry maven, possessor of the most impressive bug-eyes we’ve ever seen — is in a good place. “The weather’s nice, and it’s getting summery, so I’m good! I’m actually going to be leaving soon for a safari, and I’m excited to get away from all the craziness of the show — ha! Things are going good with my business, and my daughter is fantastic; she made the varsity tennis team, No. 1 for doubles, and now she can beat my butt in tennis.” We had the pleasure of speaking with the high-energy Singer on the phone about how the Real Housewives season is treating her, how her “renewal” is coming along, and her continued beef with Jill Zarin.
We actually haven’t seen your daughter, Avery, much this season. Will she be back?
She has a big part when she’s my maid of honor when I renew my vows. We did that on December 16 at the Pierre, and I have to tell you, even now I’m getting goosebumps. I felt like it was the right time to be recommitting myself to my husband, and I wanted him to do the same for me. Listen, a lot of people stay married for the kids and then they get divorced, and I wanted to say, "Okay, I reaffirm my love for you!" And I swear, it was like getting married again, except this time I knew I made the right choice, for sure, for sure, for sure.
How do you think this season is different from the previous two?
I think you’re getting to see more of who everyone really is, that’s my opinion. You may not like who you really see. I think, for instance, with me, you can see that I have a quick tongue, but I’m not trying to be vicious or malicious. I’m not premeditated with what I say. There are some other women on the show who are actually very calculating.
I have to tell you, in all sincerity, after I saw last week’s episode — Jill had invited me to go somewhere, and I almost said, I don’t want to go! If you don’t like me, just say to me, “You know what, Ramona? I don’t like you today.” Don’t say to me, “Oh, Ramona, you look great, I like you,” and then behind my back I hear on the camera, “She looks like shit.” That doesn’t fly with me. And that’s what Jill’s doing. She’s like, “Ramona, you look so sexy,” and then puts her finger in her mouth like she’s gagging. And she said I looked like an alien. It’s kind of mean-spirited.
You did seem kind of nervous when you walked down the catwalk.
I’m telling you, I was scared shitless. I’ve never been so frightened in my life. I mean, I can call up the president of a bank — the other day, I had to call up the office of, what’s his name, Jamie Dimon, the president of Chase — I have no fear of calling up anybody! But walking down that runway, ha-ha, let me tell you something, I’m not making my money that way; I’d starve.
What’s going on with Jill? She’s an unlikely villain.
Maybe she’s in a bad place. I’m just disappointed in her role this whole season. I tried to get her to make up with Bethenny time and time again, and she disappointed me time and time again.
So their fight is real?
It’s real! And I really tried to make them up. You’re going to see a scene tonight where there’s an opportunity for her to make up with Bethenny, or least bridge it — make a bridge! Make a bridge! — and I go over to her and say, “You have to go over to Bethenny, you have to,” and I started to cry. They edited out that part, but that’s how real I felt about it, and that’s how real the show is. I talked to my banker today of twenty years and he said, “Ramona, you can’t tell me this stuff is real,” and I go, “Sam, it’s real, you can’t make up this stuff!”
Are there times that you’re watching and you cringe at something you’ve done?
The other week, when I was walking across the bridge with Bethenny, I said something unedited. It wasn’t meant to be mean, but it was. I said, “You have no friends, you’ll probably screw it up with Jason.” But I did tell her I was sorry, and we did make up, and I ended up going to her wedding. I’m not perfect, either! I’m trying to change; I’m trying to renew myself in a lot of a ways, and part of the way is that I constantly say things and then I’m constantly apologizing for them afterwards. I’m trying; it’s hard.
Yes, you talk a lot this season about your renewal.
I really went through an epiphany, and it’s all good. The fact that I’m not fighting with everyone — yes, I have little moments, but I can pick up the phone and meet any of these girls for lunch if I want to, not a problem.
You and Kelly Bensimon don’t have a great relationship, from what we can see
You’ll see in the end, I accept Kelly for who she is. My epiphany even worked for her! I like her one on one, but sometimes in a group she gets overwhelmed. Listen, I appreciate what makes her Kelly, but she’s not exactly a rocket scientist, you know? She’s more creative, but that’s okay.
I read an interview with Jill in which she said the producers told you all to amp up the drama this season in order to stay on the show.
Oh, that’s what she’s using as the excuse for her behavior? No, absolutely not, they don’t tell us what to do; they don’t even let me retake things. They want you to be yourself, otherwise it’d be a scripted reality show, but obviously they don’t need to script us; we’re pretty crazy on our own.
And you’re friends with the new Housewife, Sonja Morgan, right?
I just visited her at her townhouse yesterday. She’s non-contrived, totally owns it; she’s a very special woman. Listen, there are a lot of women in life, I’m sure you’ve come across them — you’re a career woman, attractive [Note: We are on the phone.] — some women, if you have a career, and you’re attractive, they’re just out to get you. Sonja’s not intimidated by other career women, she’s like me, and I like that.
The scene in which Bethenny discovers she’s pregnant seemed somewhat contrived.
As far as I know, she was shocked she got pregnant. She knows she’s a little older — you know that all eggs stop when you reach 30 — her girlfriend told her on that one episode that her eggs were old and rotten! She knew she was in love with Jason, and so she was starting to make love without protection. I don’t think she thought she’d get pregnant so fast. I saw her the other day, can I tell you? I cried. She just has this mound in the front, she looks adorable.
How can we expect the season to progress?
Jill’s out to get Bethenny; it’s really grade school. And I just know in the end, I renew my vows, all the women come, and we end up having a beautiful time.