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Real Housewives of Miami’s Dr. Nicole Martin on Her “More Authentic, Less Censored” Season

Photo: Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty Images

When season four of The Real Housewives of Miami premiered on Peacock, it became the first canceled series in Housewives history to be resurrected, and as the revival’s excellent fifth season wraps up, it’s difficult to imagine how we survived eight long years without it — and without Dr. Nicole Martin. The board-certified anesthesiologist is often the composed and rational voice of the ensemble, but that doesn’t mean she’ll let her castmates evade the consequences for shady or toxic behavior.

After making an impressive debut last year, Dr. Nicole really came into her own this season, confidently and fashionably sauntering among bickering factions trying to broker peace, all while juggling 24-hour work shifts, parenting her young son, and navigating onscreen therapy with her estranged father. While it turns out the show “was probably the best thing that ever happened” to her relationship with her dad, the choice to pursue resolution on-camera also demonstrates the type of vulnerability necessary for staying power in a reality franchise. Her authenticity, coupled with outlandish antics like mailing an elaborate disinvitation from her engagement party, is the quintessential formula that elevates a Housewife to a breakout star.

Everyone was coming for you during your debut season last year, and it seemed like you had difficulty finding your footing in the group. This season has been quite the explosion. What’s been the most significant change in the dynamic? 
I think there’s definitely a comfort factor, right? My first season was just such a foreign world to me in so many ways. I didn’t really know a lot of the women well, so the connection wasn’t a strong one. Maybe I was a bit standoffish, or it was hard to just be natural when there were all these cameras and mics and stuff around. For the second season, the relationships are more involved. I think there’s definitely a comfort factor there that allows you to be more natural. You can be more authentic, less censored.

You held your own against some pretty egregious personal attacks and rumors this season. Professionally speaking, you have more to lose than a lot of other Housewives if the shenanigans go too far. How do you handle separating those two worlds? 
I’m not one of these people who watches a ton of the franchises, so I didn’t ever think that there were going to be these low blows or lies spread. When I joined the cast, I didn’t prepare for that. It caught me a little bit off guard. But I wouldn’t have taken this risk and put myself in the public eye if I felt like I had a scandalous past or something to lose. So I was just like, I’m going to be my true authentic self. And at the end of the season, the truth prevails and we find out that the rumor was a lie. I guess I never thought about it, because I didn’t have anything to hide.

Can we talk about the infamous mirror-in-a-box disinvitation? What kind of planning went into it? Was it the reaction you were hoping for? And most importantly, did you write “fakest” or “fake” as Larsa read out loud?
Okay, it was grammatically correct. [Laughs.] I will tell you that. It was just not read correctly. It was absolutely grammatically correct. I can send you a photo if you want.

I did not ever, in my wildest dreams think that the mirror would have been as big of a thing as it turned into. It all came to me as I was getting ready to film and talking to my makeup person. I was in my feelings about the rumors that she had spread, and I was just kind of venting. I was saying something along the lines of, “You know, I can’t believe Larsa. Who does she think she is? She really needs to take a long look in the mirror before spreading rumors like that.” Then my makeup person asked me if I was going to still invite her to my engagement party. I said, “Absolutely not, I just have to figure out a way to uninvite her.” I didn’t want to call her and have a conversation on the phone. So we went back and forth talking about if I should send her a letter. Then, I was like, “No, you know what would be great? If she could see herself!” The mirror idea just kind of came to me at that moment.

Did you know you were that funny? 
I know I can be, but I like to say I have dad jokes, right? Like, that kind of dorky, smart humor with puns. But I didn’t think it was going to be as funny as when I watched it back. When I watched it back, I was like yeah, that was pretty funny.

Speaking of the engagement party, several of the women last season were hyperfocused on your marital status. Now that you’re wedding planning — congratulations, by the way — what can you share about wedding developments? Are you planning to invite all the ladies, are there plans to film during it?
Thank you! Anthony and I were both born and raised in Miami. We obviously have a lot of friends and family here in the city, and we just feel like if we did a wedding in Miami, it would just have to be such a big production, between personal friends, family, coworkers, clients, all of that. I think we’re shying away from doing it in Miami just because it’s going to be too big of a production. We are thinking destination-wedding vibe. Location is still to be determined.

I feel like when you make it a destination wedding, it becomes a little more inconvenient for people to go, right? They have to take days off of work, book flights. So I feel like the people that will actually show up are the ones who really care and really want to participate and be there for us versus kind of like those social obligations that you have to invite. If they don’t care, they’re not going to make the effort. It automatically scales itself down.

The hardships with your father have been difficult and emotional to watch this season. Does revisiting the trauma make it more difficult or help soften you toward your dad?
I honestly think that the show was probably the best thing that ever happened to my relationship with my dad. Our relationship was estranged for so long, but it was always just easier to ignore the elephant in the room. We would do holidays and birthdays and whatnot, and it was just like, Okay, keep it very simple and distanced. I never would have had the courage or felt the need to say, “Let’s hash this out.”

But the show really is like a pressure cooker. It forces you to reevaluate all aspects of your life and all the relationships and it kind of forced me to deal with the issues in our relationship. We go through the process and in the final episode, I think we have a really big aha moment at therapy where I’m like, Wow, this is where you’ve been coming from for all of these years? I was viewing it so differently and telling myself this completely false narrative that just wasn’t even based in reality. And I think we’re so much stronger and better off today than we were two years ago. And I think that’s all due to the show.

Has your dad watched it? Has he seen anything from a new perspective from the experience?
You know, he’s a stubborn man. He’s a Leo. It’s hard for him to apologize, but I think it’s helped him to understand a little bit where I’ve been coming from. I think it definitely helped us each to see things from the other’s perspective.

Yeah, it’s like doing therapy in public. That must be so vulnerable.
The therapy sessions, we did them in my house. We forgot that the cameras were there. Like, my dad gets very emotional, I get very emotional, and it really just felt like we were doing therapy in private that just happened to be broadcasted on TV. But during the actual therapy session, I don’t think either of us were really aware or cared that the cameras were there. We were just so in the zone.

In my opinion, you’ve elevated yourself to top-tier Housewife status this season. Do you still feel like the OGs treat you like a second-class citizen? Did you come away at the end of filming feeling more respected or accepted? 
I wish I could tell you that this season they’re like, yeah we love you, you’re awesome. But no, I don’t think we’re there yet, and it’s hard because some of these women have been friends for 10-plus years. Their bonds are so tight and strong and then you know, here comes some new girls that they’ve known for only two or three years and the relationships just don’t compare. I don’t think we’re there yet.

There was a lot to unpack at the reunion. Obviously, we had a very eventful season and the reunion was equally as eventful. And as much as I’d like to say that we leave the reunion and everything is happy and cool between everybody, it’s just not. I’m always hopeful that things can move in the right direction. We still have hopefully another season ahead of us.

Although I will say, it was my son’s birthday the other day. I had posted some pictures online and Alexia sent me a text message, which I thought was really nice. She wished him a happy birthday and extended the branch even though the reunion may not have been as smooth sailing as we had hoped. That leads me to believe that there is hope for a promising and positive relationship moving forward. For someone to take the time to send a message like that during the off-season, a heartfelt message, I thought was very kind and it makes me hopeful for next season that there is a good place to go.

Is there anything you wish you would have handled differently this season? 
I try to be a very respectful, kind person. Like, I don’t think I’m an a-hole most of the time. I definitely don’t think that the Amex moment was my finest moment, but I was trying to make a point. I felt like I had been trying to say it’s not okay to slander, it’s not okay to spread rumors about people, especially regarding their job, and nobody was hearing me. I tried saying it at my engagement party, but got dismissed. I thought, Maybe if this lawyer explained it to these women, it’ll finally sink in. The point I was trying to make wasn’t made as politely or as smoothly as I would have liked. My delivery was not ideal, I will own that.

Not ideal, maybe, but highly entertaining.
It was a little sassy and a little aggressive. I was trying to make a point and I was in my feelings. Not ideal — we’ll call it that.

The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

RHOM’s Dr. Nicole Martin on Her ‘Less Censored” Season