There's Something About Maryland: Meet the Real Housewives of Potomac
New York. Beverly Hills. Potomac? Granted, the latest locale to get Bravo’s Real Housewives treatment isn’t exactly synonymous with glitz and glamour. But while this affluent community (the median income here is $178K) may lack brand-name sizzle, rest assured that its residents can go designer stiletto to designer stiletto with any of their counterparts in the drama department. Or at least this particular crew of highfalutin frenemies sure can. Manners-obsessed, politically dialed-in and, er, generous to a fault—philanthropy is practically treated like a competitive sport around these parts—the franchise’s newly minted sextet handles its beefs in beautiful ball gowns. And there are plenty of those beefs to go around. “We keep it ‘nice nasty’ in Potomac,” cast member Gizelle Bryant explains. “Everything is lovely and eloquent and said with a smile, so you don’t realize that someone has stabbed you and you’re bleeding until you get into the car to go home.”
Here’s a primer on the ladies (pictured above, from left to right) who are about to put their town on the reality-TV map.
The 411 The mom of two—she’s been wed for 19 years to Eddie Jordan, head basketball coach at Rutgers University—rules the fundraising circuit. “I’m a leader,” she says. “If I’m on a committee, then I have to be the chair!”
Watch For In the premiere, Charrisse threw a seafood-themed shindig at her manse—and a hissy fit at Gizelle for a perceived breach of etiquette. Another source of conflict: her marriage, since Eddie spends most of his time working in New Jersey. “I’m pretty much a single mother,” she says. “We struggle.”
Housewife or Spirit Animal? “Atlanta’s Kandi Burruss. She’s very emotional. That side of me comes out a lot.”
The 411 The PR manager and mom of two divorced former NBA player Juan Dixon in 2012. A couple of years later, he moved back in. “We’re not technically a couple, but we function as a family,” she says. “It’s weird.”
Watch For High jinks with bestie Gizelle. Says Robyn, “We’re two light-skinned black women with green eyes—it’s like looking in a mirror, and we crack each other up.” Not so amusing? All the pestering about her unconventional living sitch. “The other women are a bit nosy,” she teases.
Housewife or Spirit Animal? “New Jersey’s Jacqueline Laurita. She doesn’t create conflict, but if she’s pushed, she addresses it. And she’s got a silly side.”
The 411 The married mom—she refers to her hubby, software exec Raymond Huger, as “the black Bill Gates”—is the self-appointed queen bee. “I’m the matriarch of the group, and I wear that proudly,” she says. “When I see unacceptable conduct, it’s my responsibility to correct it, and I do it well.”
Watch For Some of Karen’s cohorts won’t be jazzed about her unsolicited pointers. “But at the end of the day, it has to be my way,” she says.
Housewife or Spirit Animal? "Beverly Hills’ Lisa Vanderpump. She takes the high road, she’s a class act and she’s always teaching. So am I.”
The 411 “I’m fun-loving, but I want what I want, no compromises,” says the cosmetics entrepreneur and divorced mother of three. (Her ex, pastor Jamal Bryant, was exposed in an adultery scandal.) “I speak my mind, and that might rub people the wrong way.”
Watch For A clash of the divas between her and Karen. “We’re both big personalities,” Gizelle admits. But feuds aren’t the only thing keeping her busy. “You’ll see me dating—as in multiple people,” she says.
Housewife or Spirit Animal? “Beverly Hills’ laid-back Kyle Richards, with a bit of Atlanta’s NeNe Leakes thrown in to tell it like it is.”
The 411 “I’d hope that I come across as assertive but elegant,” says the model and divorced mom of three.
Watch For Ups and downs with her banker beau of a year and a half, Andrew Martin. “We’re very in love. I think Jewish men are incredible to women and really spoil you,” says Katie, who converted to the religion with her mom at age 11. The catch: “He was a career bachelor when we met, so we’re negotiating what our commitment will be.”
Housewife or Spirit Animal? “Beverly Hills’ Yolanda Foster. I identify with her as a model, and also as someone who has had struggles.”
The 411“I’m the youngest, and I don’t necessarily fit in,” says Ashley, a former bartender and 2011 Miss D.C. (She moved to Potomac after marrying real estate tycoon Michael Darby, 29 years her senior.) “I’ve been compared to Tabasco sauce, and not everyone’s into spice.”
Watch For Growing pains, especially when the aspiring restaurateur dares to defy Karen. “She was almost maternal with me until she realized I’d rather stay true to myself than conform,” Ashley says.
Housewife or Spirit Animal? “Atlanta’s Phaedra Parks. With her, you don’t have to guess—girlfriend comes out and tells you!”
The Real Housewives of the Potomac, Premieres Sunday, Jan. 17, 9/8c, Bravo