Dorinda Medley Welcomes a 'Second Gangster' to 'RHONY' Season 12

Samantha Bergeson
Dorinda Medley_RHONY
Q&A Sophy Holland/Bravo

Bravo fans love self-proclaimed "gangster" Dorinda Medley not just for her blunt retorts, but also for her passionate heart. From playing host at her Berkshires château Blue Stone Manor to making it nice with virtual Dorobics, the Real Housewives of New York star knows how to entertain her Housewife pals and fans.

Yet in the trailer for Season 12, we see Medley butting heads with longtime friends Luann de Lesseps and Ramona Singer, presumably over her reported split with on again-off again boyfriend John Mahdessian. Maybe after all of this, we'll need that huge glass of wine too!

Dorinda Medley_RHONY

Bravo

Ahead of the premiere, Medley dishes on finding herself this season, renovating two homes, and welcoming fellow "gangster" Leah McSweeney to the cast.

This upcoming season has a lot of changes for you, from your move to Sutton Place to renovating both your old apartment and Blue Stone Manor after a flood. What was that process like? 

Dorinda Medley: I said to my mom yesterday, "God, can you imagine if the flood of last year happened this year and I'd have nowhere to go?" It's funny how blessed I've been with the timing to get it done. It was closed for eight months with $1 million damage from seven feet of water in the house. It was such a huge project.

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It's funny, when a house is not alive like New York, it becomes very grim very fast. I think it was such a great release for me doing the new place because when [my husband] Richard passed, I was so overwhelmed by that—and then eight months later I was on the show, which was a conscious decision I made as part of my healing process. I was living in that post-"Richard and my's house," "Richard and my's this," and I really decided in this sort of crazy sadness of what happened with the house to use it as a rebirth and go, "You know what? It's my house now. It's my apartment. I've been able to keep it and I'm going to claim it." I redid a lot of it and now I consider it my house. It's been so nice to be able to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

How would you describe the upcoming season for you personally?

I think it was a really big transitional growing season for me, and emotional because I feel like I'm really a grown-up. For me anyway, I notice that women don't fully accept where they are — "Oh my god, when I was married, when my kids were little, when, when, when." And just through this process of rebuilding my home, I feel like I've really grown up. I just sort of said, "This is who I am, this is where I am" and I feel very strong and empowered. I don't want a lot of negativity in my life. If you like me, like me. If you don't, OK. Less is sometimes more, and I want sincere relationships and just be happy with where Dorinda Medley is today. I can just be Dorinda and fully accept that this is my life, and it's a good one.

The Real Housewives of New York City - Season 12

Bravo

In the trailer, we see trips to Mexico and the Hamptons, among other destinations. How do these getaways compare to past iconic adventures like in Cartagena, St. Barth's, or Scary Island? 

What I like about this season's trip to Mexico is that we do a lot of activities and we get a lot of stuff out on the table. We just cut to the chase very quickly. It's a beautiful vacation. The house is like a hotel. We couldn't believe it when we got there. We  have a great time there. A lot of times on these trips you feel a level of exhaustion like, "How many days left do we have? Is it only the second day?" But I'll never forget, the last day we finished the filming part at like 10 am and our flight wasn't until 2 pm or 3 pm so we were all hanging around the pool, and Ramona [Singer] turned to me and said, "That didn't really feel like work so much, that just seemed like outrageous fun." It is a little bit of everything morning, noon, and night on that trip. I think we were doing an old school girls gone wild.

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The new Housewife Leah McSweeney has already caused some drama onscreen. What was it like having her on the show?

Leah is a great addition. I really wasn't 100 percent at first because she's so much younger and a lot of us didn't know her that well, and she's very downtown. She's young but she really held her own. I was really proud of Leah. She's smart, she's sassy, she's truly like the second gangster in town. Now I see what they meant about me. She's a great mother, she's a great businessperson. She tells it like she sees it. The first season is hard enough but it was also a hard season to come into because we had Bethenny [Frankel] not join us this year. We definitely felt the difference, at least I did anyway. I'm very close to Bethenny. I was excited about filming with her so when I found out, it was kind of a personal thing for me. Because Bethenny and I have a lot of similar wit, we kind of tell it like we see it, we like all the one-liners. But I think all the girls worked really hard, they gave it their all.

 Leah McSweeney (Sophy Holland/Bravo)

And with the addition of Leah McSweeney comes also the potential departure of fellow Housewife, Tinsley Mortimer, who recently moved to Chicago after her engagement. What are your thoughts on her departure, and can we expect another new Housewife later? 

I don't really have a relationship that much with Tinsley so it's very hard for me to speak on it. I would film with Tinsley and then Tinsley would leave. We really only saw Tinsley when we were filming. The main group really is Lu, Sonja [Morgan], Ramona, and now Leah. Even on our group chat, that's really who we all group chat with every day. Listen, Tinsley made her choice and I hope she's going to be happy with it. I think it's a very tumultuous relationship but I can't speak on Tinsley. We all make decisions for different reasons. I don't know her that well. It's not really anything I care about or think about.

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You've had so many iconic catchphrases, ranging from "clip clip" to "make it nice." What's your favorite one-liner? 

I think the one that I've seen the most is "not well, b***h." "How's everyone feeling? Not well, b***h!" My lawyer called me and said, "You know that's trademarked," and I was like "I don't really care, just let them go for it." I should be doing my whole house in "not well b***h," placemats, wallpaper. I should really create a "not well b***h" room right now and just sit in it.

Lastly, what can fans expect this season? 

A lot of exciting things happened: Luann [de Lesseps] finishes her probation, we have this new girl Leah [McSweeney] who brings a different flavor, you see the transition up in the Berkshires with my new house, and we do a lot of fun activities. It will be a different season but it will be a great season, and I'm not just saying that. I'm excited and I think people really need something to grab onto and distract themselves especially right now.

Real Housewives of New York, Season 12 Premiere, April 2, 9/8c, Bravo