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'Real Housewives of Potomac' star Wendy Osefo talks soul-baring new book, 'RHOP' Season 7

Wendy Osefo is opening up like never before. Gibson Johns interviews the "Real Housewives of Potomac" star all about sharing her life story in her new book, "Tears of My Mother," including how her mother has reacted to the book, her distant relationship with her father, how the way she was raised impacted the way she's approached raising her own children and how certain relationships in her life prepared her for life on "Real Housewives." They also discuss the upcoming seventh season of "RHOP," including that incredible trailer, Wendy having an unexpected "partner in crime," a tease of what leads up to Mia throwing water on her, where she stands with Gizelle Bryant and much more.

Video Transcript

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GIBSON JOHNS: Hi, guys. Welcome back to "We Should Talk," a pop culture interview series from "In The Now." I'm your host, Gibson Johns. And this week on the podcast we have Dr. Wendy Osefo from "The Real Housewives of Potomac," author of the new book, "Tears of My Mother-- the Legacy of my Nigerian Upbringing." It is out on Tuesday, September 20, which might be when you're listening to or watching this interview.

But Wendy and I went long on this book. I had sped through it. I dog eared passages that I wanted to read back and unpack with her. And we touched upon a lot of different parts of her life. And, you know, I think a lot of Bravo people have been writing books recently. And I think it makes sense, because we have been following these ensemble shows for years and years and years, and we know a lot about their lives. But ultimately there's only so much detail they can share on camera in their allotted time on their shows.

So this just like I just feel like I know her so much better after reading this book, and I felt the same way about Leah McSweeney's book, which I had her on to talk about earlier this year. There's just so much to talk about and so much to unpack. So we spent about 45 minutes just going through a lot of that. And it's interwoven with "Housewives," because I think there are certain things that have happened in her life, certain ways that she views the world. But it really prepared her for being on "Housewives," and it kind of inform her approach to the show as well.

And then we spent the last like 5 or 10 minutes obviously talking about that amazing season seven trailer. Season seven of "Potomac" is obviously back out in October. And if you're engaging with this interview, I'm guessing you've already seen that trailer. But I haven't stopped thinking about it. So there were certain moments that I had to ask her about that had to do with her. And she had some interesting teases for us. So obviously, she can't say too much. But yeah, it was she was really generous with her time. And it's always really fun to go deep with Wendy, and I just-- I just love her, and I'm so excited that she's continuing on the show, and again that she gave us this book.

So get "Tears of my Mother" wherever you get your books starting on September 20. Tune into "Real Housewives of Potomac" later this fall. And please rate, review, and subscribe to "We Should Talk" on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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All right. So we're here with Dr. Wendy Osefo, star of "The Real Housewives of Potomac," but more pertinently right now the author of "Tears of my Mother-- the Legacy of my Nigerian Upbringing." Wendy, I got this book two days ago, as you know. And I sped through it in time for this-- for this interview. I have it literally there are post-it notes with-- with passages I want to read to you.

WENDY OSEFO: Love it.

GIBSON JOHNS: I'm so excited to have you on to talk about this book. It really--

WENDY OSEFO: Oh, thank you.

GIBSON JOHNS: I learned so much generally from this book about the experience of first generation children growing up in America, but also just about and your life. I feel privileged to have read it. So thank you for being here and taking the time to talk about it.

WENDY OSEFO: Well, thank you for having me. And that means so much to me, like as I was embarking on this, I said, if anything, when people leave this book, I want them to feel like I know her. Like I, actually know her. So thank you for saying that.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, that was one of my first questions for you, which is like-- because I feel like we've been getting a good amount of books from-- from people that are on Bravo in recent years. And I think, you know, we-- we feel like we know you guys already because you're on these shows that we follow so intimately. But ultimately, they're ensemble shows and they're-- and you-- which means you only have so much air time to share your personal story. And so was-- was writing this-- was one of the aims of writing this book just to kind of color in some of those lines for people?

WENDY OSEFO: Absolutely. I think for me this book served as a form of therapy. It was like cathartic. There were times I would break down crying. If anyone, you know, gets the audiobook, you will literally hear me reading passages. And I would be sobbing as I'm reading it. There was one that was so bad, the editor was like, let's do a take two on that. Because I was just like--

GIBSON JOHNS: I don't blame you. Oh, my gosh.

WENDY OSEFO: It was so much. But you know, I just wanted people to get to know me, and get to know the experiences of a first gen immigrant, and get to know the dynamics of like motherhood. I feel like when we talk about motherhood, it's all roses and flowers. Oh, it's going to change your life. It's going to be so amazing. And I'm saying, wait, wait, wait.

There's two sides to motherhood. There's motherhood from the lens of you being a mom, yourself. But then there's motherhood from the lens of you being a child to your mom, and how that dynamic changes. So I just wanted an honest, like you know, illustration of how motherhood and the mother-daughter relationship can be challenging.

GIBSON JOHNS: And I think that you-- you have absolutely captured that and accomplished that. When did you first tell your mom that you were working on this, and what was her reaction?

WENDY OSEFO: I told her like maybe after I started like doing an outline of it. I didn't know where I wanted to go a little bit. I didn't know if I wanted to focus more so on the nuances of motherhood, like in an abstract way or if I want to incorporate my own personal story, and then have like lessons to take away from it. And so when I decided I wanted to use this as, yes, to talk about motherhood, but then also to get people to know me better, I was like well let me let Susan know. Because, you know, she's like a main character in this book. So I let her know.

And of course, she was like, oh, that's great. But I didn't-- I don't know-- I don't think she knew all that it would entail. And she has not read this book. [LAUGHS]

GIBSON JOHNS: And is that-- is that her decision not to have read it, or are you like, mom, let's wait? What's that conversation like?

WENDY OSEFO: You know what? To be quite honest with you, I think it's twofold. One, it's-- it's an accurate depiction of my mom, right. Like in her head, she thinks there's going to be glowing remarks in this book. I mean, for goodness sake, she's like I'm on the cover. There's no way this book can say anything bad about me.

And then the other piece is for me, I wanted her to read it, but not before, because I didn't want her feedback to make me alter my truth.

GIBSON JOHNS: Absolutely.

WENDY OSEFO: Because the truth of the matter is, there's-- there's different sides to each story. This is my version. And she may have a counterpoint. But that's great. Get your own book deal, and you write your counterpoint. But for me, this is how I experienced our relationship.

GIBSON JOHNS: Totally. Well, and I think that you-- you don't shy away from details that wouldn't-- that might not-- she might not see as positive. But ultimately, once you get through all the ups and downs of your relationship, and your life, like the conclusion of the book is just really beautiful. So I hope that whenever-- whenever Susan does read it, that you know, she sees that. You know what I mean?

Because I think that's--

WENDY OSEFO: Yeah.

GIBSON JOHNS: It's-- it's hard to end this and feel like it's anything but positive. You know?

WENDY OSEFO: Right. Right, well thank you for saying that. Because I feel like she's going to read like the first chapter and the second chapter. And she's going to be like--

GIBSON JOHNS: Right which aren't--

WENDY OSEFO: --off her head.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah. [LAUGHS]

WENDY OSEFO: So I hope she makes it through the book, because from-- yes, it's an evaluation of our relationship, but it's also me like as the reader is reading it, I'm talking things through. Like how-- how do I finally get to this point where I'm at peace, right? And so that's the journey the readers go on, is like there's a time where I'm just so mad that I'm conflicted. Then there's times where I just want to push away.

But then I realize, wait. This is what my role is. And I have to be OK with it.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right, totally. So you dedicate the book to, and I'm quoting you, "any first generation child who ever felt like they were not enough, who felt like they never belonged. Our story is unique, but that is what makes it so beautiful. In this moment, I hope you feel seen." And I'm wondering if, I mean, and I-- and again I think that the contents of this book reflect a lot of that message, and I think a lot of people will see themselves in your story.

Is that something that you already experienced via "Real Housewives," which is like you scratching the surface on some of these-- on some of these kind of aspects of your life? Were-- were people who were also first generation children reaching out to and relating to your story already?

WENDY OSEFO: Yeah. And I think that that's the beauty for-- for all people can say, that's the beauty of reality TV.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah.

WENDY OSEFO: Is you're going to have some people who see you, see your story, hear your story, and say I relate to that. And for me, whether it was my first season or my second, I had so many first gens reach out to me and say, I relate to that story. I know what it means to want to chase your own dreams. But because our parents sacrificed so much, we put ourselves on the back burner to make them happy. And so it's a nuanced story, but it's still relatable. And it's relatable to-- to some people from the first gen lens.

But then it's also relatable to people just being a daughter, and then there's the aspect of it, of for some people of color, when you are the person who made it, you have this undue burden put on you that now you have to carry everyone behind you. So there's so many layers to it.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah.

WENDY OSEFO: That I think it definitely peels back a lot of layers.

GIBSON JOHNS: Mm-hmm. And one of the-- I think one of the passages that-- that stuck out to me, is just being like, it kind of encapsulated the experience that you have had just growing up, was "the overarching experience of being first gen is of fighting against being different, while also being inherently different. It's loving your culture and being afraid to show it."

WENDY OSEFO: Ooh, that gave me chills.

GIBSON JOHNS: And I'm wondering if-- yeah. Yeah, it's a really-- I mean that's just like it encapsulates it for me as somebody who is not first gen, but now I can-- again, I can really understand the experience of this book. But I'm curious if you remember the first time that like you-- you realize that a lot of-- and this is again a generalization. But there's a lot of similarities in the experiences of first generation children.

Like when you were growing up, was that something you noticed ever, I don't know, in high school? Or is it-- was it not till later, like--

WENDY OSEFO: Yeah. So it was interesting. It was something that I noticed once I got to college. I-- I went to high school and my high school wasn't very diverse. I was probably-- I was one of four Black girls in my class. And of those four I was the only immigrant. So once I got to college was when my eyes were open to this subset of first generation immigrants to the point that they had like different organizations on college campuses, celebrating that.

And when we would just have, you know, programs and different workshops, we would share our story. And it was like, were you peeking in my window when I was growing up, because you're saying the same thing that I experienced? And so I think my college experience was really eye opening for me, as far as just the immigrant story. And to be quite honest, it translated not just for Nigerians or Africans. I had friends from across the globe who were first gen, and they all would share the same story.

So that was just like a really unique time for me. Like college was the best four years ever, for so many reasons. But that was definitely one of them.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah. Yeah, and-- and it was so interesting also hearing about just how much you jumped around to different-- different places, and different-- different schools growing up, and how that impacted that. So I-- it also felt like part of the reason why college was so great for you was because you were in one place for an amount of time.

WENDY OSEFO: Oh, my gosh.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah.

WENDY OSEFO: That's such a good point. I never thought of that. And-- and you know, if we relate that to "Housewives," because I am used to being in and out of different circles, that's why the transition to "Housewives" was easy for me. But that's also why I'm able to end a relationship so abruptly. Because I have had to do that. And I'm OK. I know that at the end of the day, you're going to survive. Because, you know, sometimes you see "Housewives," and people are like, oh my God, the ending of their relationship really bothered me.

And I'm like, OK.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right.

WENDY OSEFO: You know, but-- but that's not a good-- but that's not a good thing, but that's part of where that comes from is knowing that any year you'll be around a new group of women.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah. And we'll to get to this later, because there were also other things that I kind of picked up that was like, oh, like this makes sense for "Housewives," like and again, we'll get to it later. Because we'll-- but-- but when you talk about your relationship with your mother and your sister kind of being a triangle, and how like friends aren't as important as that. And like that to me, just kind of encapsulated that, and how that prepped you for it.

WENDY OSEFO: Yeah.

GIBSON JOHNS: But so- you know, you discussed kind of throughout the inklings of your relationship with your father, Edwin, who you ultimately never were that close with. Your sister is closer with him. And you say at one point that like you're very much at peace with the fact that you don't really need to pursue a close relationship with him. And-- and-- whatever you're feeling-- I mean, because you don't go super-- you don't really explain that point a lot. But I'm wondering if you feel comfortable sharing anymore about the reasons why you are just content in not kind of pursuing a more-- a closer and more intimate relationship with your father.

WENDY OSEFO: It's interesting. Because I feel like since he wasn't there for my formidable years in my childhood, I feel like I don't necessarily need him in adulthood. It's almost like with parenting, and I say this as a-- as a mom myself, when your kids are younger, they need you. They depend on you. They need you for basic necessities. But when your children get older, yes, we may need them. But it's for different reasons. It's for emotional support. It's for friendship. It's to be the wise sage in the room.

And since now I'm in my 30s, I can look to someone who's a complete stranger to occupy that space, because that's a space that he's never occupied before. So the same way I can go to him for advice is the same way I can go to John Schmo on the street for advice, right? So--

GIBSON JOHNS: Sure.

WENDY OSEFO: That's-- that's-- that's where I'm coming from. And by all means, I don't hate him. I spoke to him like two weeks ago. And I was just like, hey, how are you? How's everything? How are the kids? Blah, blah, blah. But I-- I have learned to survive without him.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah.

WENDY OSEFO: And so I'm OK living without him.

GIBSON JOHNS: Mm-hmm. And I thought it was so interesting hearing you observe your daughter's relationship with Eddie, and seeing how-- how it's something that you never really had, because they have such a great father-daughter relationship. It's so intimate, as you describe in the book. Have you and Eddie discussed that topic at all, like and compared those two relationships?

WENDY OSEFO: We do. And-- and if I tell you that I feel like I didn't miss out on something, I would be lying. Like just to see how my daughter absolutely adores her dad, and just to see how Eddie absolutely adores Kamrynn, I mean, it's-- it's-- it's sickening. Like literally, like you guys are just too much. But they just love each other.

GIBSON JOHNS: I love it.

WENDY OSEFO: And I-- I-- it's something that you look at, and you're like, man, I admire that. And I wish I had that. And you know, Eddie and I have talked about it. And I've said, I-- I often think of whether I would be the woman I am today if I had my father in my life, or certain decisions I made, would I have made those same decisions if I had my father in my life. And I do think that fathers play a unique role in the lives of their children, both men and women.

And I know that there is a part of me that will forever be incomplete, because I didn't have that. And even though I'm able to survive without it, I know if he was in my life, I will probably thrive. But he's not.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right. But you say incomplete, but I feel like it's incomplete, but not-- not at peace, or not at not unhappy with that. It's just because that is what you know, right? And-- and I feel like, but-- but it also can acknowledge that there is-- there's a piece missing.

WENDY OSEFO: Absolutely. And what's so funny, you know, I did like you said. I didn't go down the rabbit hole like discussing that. Growing up, my mom was everything. And she did so much for us. And she did so much to the point that I was like, we're fine. We came out OK. We didn't need that. But now that I'm older, I'm like-- and I see Eddie and Kamrynn, I'm like, yeah, there's certain things that a dad occupies. And no matter how hard you try as a mom, those things are still missing.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, especially because, again, as this whole book can attest, like the relationship between a mother and a daughter is so complex. And there's--

WENDY OSEFO: Yes.

GIBSON JOHNS: And there's, yeah, and so it's not having the father there is-- adds to that. But obviously, I mean, the biggest throughline of this book is the fact that the-- the way that you were raised impacted the way that you raise your children. And to me, that's a huge, huge point that you're making. And the one line that-- that you say, literally you say, "read that again twice." This is a line that you say.

Mom raised us in the world that she was living in. I raise my children in the world they are living in. And I think that-- and you explained that more in depth at different points in the book, especially at the end, and-- and your approach different things. But is that something that you always felt? That you-- like were you growing up and you were like, OK, when I have kids, I'm going to raise them differently from my mom? Or was it-- or was it only when you had-- started to have kids that you were like, OK, I'm naturally- I'm just gravitating towards a different approach?

WENDY OSEFO: So, that was it. It was like when my mom was raising us, I was like, oh, this is perfect. This is how you raise your kids. And then the older I got, and now I had my own kids, I'm like, wait. That's not necessarily true. I was talking to my mom the other day, and she was talking about making sacrifices. And she was like, and if you can't-- she was talking to me. She's like, and if you can't make sacrifices, you go to the person in the village and you borrow their goat.

And I'm like, we're not-- like--

GIBSON JOHNS: Where's the goat?

WENDY OSEFO: But we're not in that-- where's the goat? We're not in Nigeria. We're not in the village. And that's just some of the antidotes that she will use. And it's like it doesn't cross translate. Like it doesn't-- it's not applicable here. And I feel like the best thing as parents you can do is like, yes, this is how we grew up. Like, yeah, we would come inside when the streetlights came on.

But now, for some kids, if we try to use our analogy, some kids are not even out that late, because they're watching YouTube.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right.

WENDY OSEFO: So I just think that it's important for parents just to be very aware of the current climate of the world their child is in.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah.

WENDY OSEFO: And make pivots to that, and understand that.

GIBSON JOHNS: Mm-hmm. What does your mom-- what do you think your mom generally makes of your approach to parenting? Like, do you think that she-- does she-- does she try to give you tidbits and things? I'm sure she does. But and I'm also sure knowing, again, how you describe her in the book and what we see on the show, it seems like she also generally approves of your approach at parenting.

WENDY OSEFO: Yeah. So I think that, you know, overall, my mom does give me tidbits. She-- she lets me do my own thing. But she also feels that at times I may-- I may be too hands off. But that's only because I'm-- you know, my-- my one son, he wants-- he loves the arts. He absolutely loves the arts. And I'm like, would you want to be an artist one day? And he's like, that would be awesome. And my mom is in the corner, like--

[LAUGHS]

Like scoffing.

GIBSON JOHNS: That's not a lawyer. Right?

WENDY OSEFO: That's that lawyer. That's not a doctor. What are we doing here? But generally speaking, she approves.

GIBSON JOHNS: Mm-hmm. So I wanted to bring up the-- the passage that I alluded to earlier. Because to me, like it's the the one about the-- the triangle, with you, and your sister, and your mother. And--

WENDY OSEFO: Yes.

GIBSON JOHNS: And I-- and I literally read this little part. And I was like this to me explains a lot about why you were a natural fit for "Potomac" and "Real Housewives," and-- and-- and it just-- just like your outlook. So you say, "My mom always said the only friends you have here are me and your sister. We're all we have. Her meaning was, no matter how close you get with people outside the family, you can't trust them like family. When your best friends are your mom and your sister, the bar is so high that anyone else who comes into your life is expendable. To this day, I don't have a lot of girlfriends. I don't need them. Because I have my mom and my sister. Maybe my mother, sister, and I are too dependent on one another. But if you're going to depend on someone, let it be your family."

And I-- and I just feel like that encapsulates your approach to "Housewives," but also maybe the approach that a lot of people need to have if you're on "Housewives," because you have to be OK with things shifting a lot, and friendships may be ending or changing for-- for good.

WENDY OSEFO: Mm-hmm.

GIBSON JOHNS: Do you think that that-- that mentality that you had did prepare you for your time on "Housewives?"

WENDY OSEFO: I think so. And I-- I think that, you know, I will never be that housewife that you hear me saying a deep dark secret to one of the girls. Like, no.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right.

WENDY OSEFO: That's not-- that's not what was going to happen. But I think that, you know, with that mentality of just depending on my mom and my sister, it also gives me a beautiful definition of what friendship really is, and I-- and I have some amazing girlfriends in my life. And for them to be in my life, like one of my best friends, we've been best friends since we were 15. And so they-- they come very close to characteristics of my mom and my sister.

But in the same token, I would say it also-- if you flip it on its head, when my mom and my sister do things that hurt, those are the moments where I'm like, oh man I, wish I had an outsider who could support me in the ways in which I'm lacking right now. So it goes both ways. And then funny enough, let me tell you. Before I got on "Housewives," my favorite franchise was "Jersey."

And we talked earlier about the relatability piece for me watching "Jersey," I understood Teresa. I understood Joe. I understood Melissa, like when Teresa said, you don't go against the family. I was like, yes. I get that. And so that's what I mean when I say like the first generation, you know, they're from the Italian immigrant family, and just that-- that-- that quality that is embedded in a lot of us. And when I tell you Eddie and I will watch that show like glue every single Sunday before like "Housewives" was even there. I was such a "Jersey" fan. Because I related to that. I know the importance of family and them being your foundation.

GIBSON JOHNS: Mm-hmm. It's the-- it's family being the foundation, and then it's also how, when family is also-- when family members are also your best friends, how that-- how that cross-pollination can sometimes get complicated, right?

WENDY OSEFO: Yes, absolutely.

GIBSON JOHNS: And that's so interesting that you see-- that you saw so much of yourself in that-- in that story as well. It makes complete sense now.

WENDY OSEFO: I did. And-- and then another piece is also understanding the pain they felt. Because when family is the foundation, and you guys are so strong, when they hurt you, it's like 20 times more than any outsider hurting you. Like, it runs very, very deep.

GIBSON JOHNS: Mm-hmm. Do you-- you said that-- you said that you sort of sometimes long for that kind of partner in crime that's like not part of the family. Do you wish that you had that within the confines of the show, or are you kind or-- are you OK with not having that sort of? Because it's like, you know, Gizelle and Robyn are always going to be partners in crime on that show. Do you feel like you want that? Or are you-- are you OK, kind of not have-- and being a little bit more malleable in the group?

WENDY OSEFO: So season seven, I may have me a little partner in crime in season seven.

GIBSON JOHNS: OK. OK.

[LAUGHS]

WENDY OSEFO: You guys have to stay tuned. But no, I think one thing that I would say about season seven that makes it so good to me, is the change in the dynamics. Like, when I say things are like completely 180, you'll be like, wow. And-- and people, what I learned from season seven is people who you don't expect supporting you, and being there for you, and writing for you in ways that you're like, you are my sister. I do love you.

GIBSON JOHNS: I love that.

WENDY OSEFO: I know, right?

GIBSON JOHNS: Well, I think that that to me is what-- that's why "Potomac" is my favorite "Housewives" franchise, is because you guys continue to-- you're not-- you've not afraid of changing it up and letting things, you know, maybe become unexpected in terms of the alliances and the friendships. Like that's-- you have to keep changing it up. That's what makes it an interesting show. You know what I mean? It's a perfect group of women. So--

WENDY OSEFO: Absolutely.

GIBSON JOHNS: I'm excited to see who-- I'm excited to see who you're moving around with in this-- in this season.

WENDY OSEFO: You'll be so surprised. [LAUGHS] You'll be so surprised.

GIBSON JOHNS: The other thing, the other thing that-- and you've talked about this on the show. But the other thing that I sort of might have kind of prepared you for the experience of "Housewives" was-- you called it the-- a whisper campaign, that-- that Eddie's or his parents kind of had, when you guys were about to get married, and sort of how that went through the-- the community that you're a part of.

And that, again to me, it must have in some ways prepared you for knowing that people are talking about you. And you-- you have to tune some of that out probably. Like that's kind of how social media plays into being on "Housewives," right? So do you feel like that-- there's a parallel there as well?

WENDY OSEFO: Absolutely I think there's a parallel. And I think that, you know, when you go through a marriage, and preparation for a marriage in such a tight-knit community and there are whispers which are built chiefly on falsities, then it does build you with a layer of armor and tough skin to be able to navigate through life. And so that's why sometimes when people are like, oh, you know, she got plastic surgery because of social media, I'm like, do you guys know what I've been through? I literally had my wedding and my marriage on display to be criticized by an entire community. And we didn't budge.

No. I got my body done because, hey, I was done with my last baby and--

GIBSON JOHNS: There we go.

WENDY OSEFO: --again, why not? So-- so that was always interesting to me. But absolutely, when you are critiqued by people who actually see you, forget people on the internet. But who see you, who you see at the market on Sunday, people who your parents are in different organizations with. That-- that traumatizes you in a way that it's literally sink or swim. And 12 years later, been married for 12 years. I can say that we successfully swam. So, yeah.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah. And like yeah, and if it's happening so close to home, then the people who you don't even see their faces on Twitter, it's like who cares. Right? It's like--

WENDY OSEFO: Go ahead with your made-up account. You can say what you want to say. Because literally, we would walk outside, and there would be people talking about us. So, we're fine. [LAUGHS]

GIBSON JOHNS: And-- and again, I think that, you know this book is, it colors in the lines of your life in ways that the show has not been able to do, just because of, again, like you're on a show with seven other-- with seven women. So it's-- time is-- there isn't that much time. But, you know, I think I'm sure there are going to be factions of people who want to come to this book expecting, you know, the piping T on the Housewives behind the scenes, or your cast mates, or whatever.

WENDY OSEFO: Right.

GIBSON JOHNS: And like, that's-- I mean, the title of the book literally tells you that that's not what you're going to get. But was that-- was there ever any like temptation, or pressure, or whatever to include more of that behind the scenes stuff? Because I'm sure that-- I'm sure eventually there'll be a book down the line, Wendy, where we get that.

WENDY OSEFO: I was about to say.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right.

WENDY OSEFO: I was about to say, that's book number two or three.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right.

WENDY OSEFO: But I want to touch upon what I always have gotten is people saying, how did you even get to "Housewives," like just given your background? So I mentioned that in the book. I talk about like how did I get here, how did the chance meeting happen. And, you know, another piece of the book that I talk about is being a political commentator. And some of the backstory to that, and I talk about this really horrific incident that happens in the green room of Fox News with a politician who is still a politician right now, who's a sitting senator.

And so I talk about those things. So I tried to cover different elements and aspects of my life. But I-- if I could, my-- my dream would be to write a book on each element, like a book completely dedicated to politics, a book completely dedicated to "Housewives." But I think for me, I-- I wanted people to get to know me first, and then take them on a journey of the different elements.

GIBSON JOHNS: The foundation, right. We have the full foundation of, I feel like of you now with this book. And then it's there's so many other chapters of your life. And yeah, when you bring up the commentating, and I-- I found, one of the parts I found so interesting was you're sitting at dinner with Eddie. And you're talking about wanting to be-- kind of marry entertainment and politics, and how-- what does that look like, and how to-- and Eddie asked you a question. He's like, who's going to listen to you? And it wasn't a question that was like ill-meaning.

It was just like a genuine, like think about this. Like who's going to listen to what you have to say? And-- and that's what really sparked your decision to get a PhD. Which I think, again, I don't think I'd heard that story. I thought that was so interesting. It made so much sense. And I thought that I love that you included that.

WENDY OSEFO: Yeah.

GIBSON JOHNS: Because and that's-- that's a moment of-- that's a moment of tough love in a marriage, but also like that's why you guys are so good together. You know? Like you ask the questions.

WENDY OSEFO: Well, thank you. Well, thank you. Yeah, absolutely. Because I was like, I had seen at that time, he was a commentator on CNN, Marc Lamont Hill. And I saw him, I was like, that's what I want to be like. He was so cool, but he was so smart. And I'm like, that's me. And I never felt, till today to be quite honest, I've never felt like academia has a place for me. Because in academia I'm still the youngest professor in my department. It's very traditional in nature.

And so when I come into the classroom, even with blonde highlights in my hair or my long nails, it's like whoa. And I wanted to be in a space that could use my education, but still be 100% authentic and be me. And that's what started the journey of me getting all of my credentials to be able to occupy the space as a commentator. But I-- that's something that I've never shared. Till today, I never feel 100% comfortable in my faculty meetings, or whenever I go to campus. Because I know that I don't belong, and I know that people who are like me are not seen in that space.

And I think once people understand that, they will understand how I could do "Housewives," because I am an academic by profession. But who I am and what I am, you know, I'm a rebel. I am the rebel of academia. So of course, it would be me who does "Housewives," you know?

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah.

WENDY OSEFO: But that's a testament.

GIBSON JOHNS: Absolutely. And I think it also gets back to what you were saying at the beginning of this interview, which is like, just by the virtue of who you are and your identity in different ways, like-- like you sometimes carry the burden of being the first, or being the only. And-- and I think that you wear that well. But it's not an easy thing to-- to go through. And I think that you're-- in so many different ways, you're paving the way for other people.

And I think that-- but also you recognizing that-- that there isn't a full comfort there for you in that space that-- and that's a space that your mom has wanted you to occupy. So it's just an interesting push and pull there. You know?

WENDY OSEFO: Absolutely. It's so hard though. I would be lying to you if I tell you that it's not.

GIBSON JOHNS: Of course.

WENDY OSEFO: It's so hard, and it's like a sense of imposter syndrome. Whenever I'm in meetings, I overcompensate because I know that everyone around is probably like, how did she get here. And it's really something that I struggle with. And I think that's another thing in this book that I wanted readers to get out of it, is people see what you have achieved. But they don't know what you've gone through, or even what you are going through.

And so, yes, I'm Dr. Wendy, with the four degrees. But if you read the book, you will see how hard that was for me, how I had failures along the way, and how even till now, I'm not fully comfortable even occupying that space. It's just by happenstance, so yeah.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah. And one of the other through lines that I think is really-- I think it's something that-- a topic that is sometimes avoided, and I think we've seen it play out in some of the reunions. It definitely happens on social media around "Potomac," which is colorism. And there is a really interesting-- when-- when you were talking about growing up, and you and your sister coming back from school and watching TV, and in some ways being raised by-- by TV.

There is this passage where you talked about, let's see, you say, "When I was growing up, we had the "Fresh Prince of Bel Air," "A Different World," and "Martin." On all those shows, the father daughter was dark skinned, and the wife/mother was always light skinned. You never saw a family on TV where the mother or wife had dark skin. Subconsciously, my brain picked up that the sitcom message that to be love and have a family one day, women had to have light skin."

And-- and then you-- and then you sort of bring it back, when you talk about joining "Potomac," and how now people get to see your beautiful dark skinned family, and how that-- that that is not the norm on a lot of these shows. And it's a-- I think it's a complex conversation, obviously. But I think, again, like you're not shying away from having that conversation. I think that we're all the better for hearing these conversations, and listening to your experience, and how that was put into you growing up.

And I don't know. I think-- I just think it was a-- it's a full circle moment, honestly. Because you would-- that message had gone into your head at such a young age. And now you get to represent something different for people. So I just thought that was pretty special.

WENDY OSEFO: Oh. Oh, absolutely. And yes, you know, it is. And it's-- it's not lost on me either. It's not lost on me that we have-- all of us have-- a beautiful platform, and we're able to show different things. And I get so many people who come up to me, or who DM me, and who say, thank you. Thank you for being a representation of a dark skinned woman on TV. I didn't have that. And, you know, that touches me, because I know growing up I didn't have that. And then to be a dark skinned woman who is not depicted as-- as someone who is lesser than the others, right?

It's actually you're the dark skinned woman. You are the one who is the professor. You are the one who is married, and you have your kids. And I think that that's important, because I am the mother to three dark skinned children. And even in particular, my dark skinned daughter. And I think that it's very important for her to one day see that her mom was represented in this-- in this, you know, ensemble cast with different hues. And I think that, you know, there's beauty in all shades. And representation does matter. So I am very glad and deeply honored to occupy that space in "Potomac."

GIBSON JOHNS: That's-- I-- that's-- it's just really that's-- there are no words really to just kind of convey how-- how special and meaningful it is so many people. And I think that, again, like I watching this show, as just a fan of reality TV, I've learned so much even in just that aspect. So I think that I just appreciated that being a little bit included in the book.

WENDY OSEFO: Thank you.

GIBSON JOHNS: "Tears of my Mother" is amazing, and I again, everyone who is a "Potomac" fan, a "Housewives" fan, a reality fan needs to pick it up. But Wendy, before I let you go, I do want to ask you about the trailer. The trailer--

WENDY OSEFO: Yes.

GIBSON JOHNS: The trailer came out. And there are a couple of things I just need to ask. Because we're coming up on season seven, your third season on the show.

WENDY OSEFO: Yes.

GIBSON JOHNS: I guess before we get into the trailer, I'm curious if season-- by season three, are you-- does that shift your mind at all? Because I think in our last interview, we talked about sort of like the expectation of a second season, and how that's kind of a tough transition to make. Does the third season feel more solidified for you? Does it feel like a deep breath at all?

WENDY OSEFO: Yeah. I think, you know, your third season is like, OK. I got this. You know, we can take the training wheels off. Like, I-- I think I got it. But of course, leave it to the crazy cast of "Potomac" to throw you for a loop. But going into it in the beginning, I was like, I got this. This makes sense. It makes sense. So yeah, I think third season is where you start to have fun.

GIBSON JOHNS: There we go. I like that.

WENDY OSEFO: Yeah.

GIBSON JOHNS: All right. So at the beginning of the trailer, you say, hi to Gizelle, and she goes, no touching.

[LAUGHS]

Is there any-- is there any chance for you guys-- is there any chance for you two?

WENDY OSEFO: I think that that actually is a beautiful depiction of us. Like I am at the place where, you know, we had the reunion. We set our piece. She sees it from one way. I see it from another. And I-- I've moved on from it. I'm not harping on it. So my gesture was an olive branch, like you know, and then in true form, no touching.

GIBSON JOHNS: OK.

WENDY OSEFO: I'm like, OK, girl. [LAUGHS]

GIBSON JOHNS: Hey, but Wendy, you guys are, AKA sisters, you mentioned AKA in the book. And I'm like, maybe is that-- has that ever been a through line for you guys, to try to connect on that level? I don't know.

WENDY OSEFO: When I first met her, we did. We had like a little, you know--

GIBSON JOHNS: OK.

WENDY OSEFO: --you know, a little conversation about it. But--

GIBSON JOHNS: But you're still very different, right, exactly?

WENDY OSEFO: Yeah, who knows what the future holds with me and her. At this point, I'm like, girl, all right.

GIBSON JOHNS: OK.

[LAUGHS]

I think a lot of people were intrigued by a part of the trailer that kind of insinuates that Ashley and Candiace might be seeing eye to eye this season, or bonding this season.

WENDY OSEFO: OK.

GIBSON JOHNS: Is-- is that going to happen? What can you tell me about that kind of unexpected potential connection?

WENDY OSEFO: I think the operative word is insinuate.

GIBSON JOHNS: OK. We won't be reading into it.

WENDY OSEFO: I personally-- I personally-- from me, Dr. Wendy, I love them together. We just need to get them to love them together. [LAUGHS] But I love them together. They're a good time.

GIBSON JOHNS: I think that's what-- I think that's what a lot of fans feel. Like, there are so-- there are on paper, a lot of similarities between Ashley and Candiace, but just--

WENDY OSEFO: Absolutely.

GIBSON JOHNS: Sometimes-- sometimes it's oil and water though. I don't know. It's-- it's-- it's interesting. Charrisse is back in the picture this season. And-- and there's a tease-- definitely her and Karen have something going on in this season. What's your relationship with like with Charrisse?

WENDY OSEFO: I like Charrisse. I think that she certainly brought a different level of energy to-- to our little group. And she shook the table. She-- you know, she-- she yeah. Yeah, mm-hmm.

GIBSON JOHNS: She wasn't afraid to go there?

WENDY OSEFO: She didn't come to sit around.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right.

WENDY OSEFO: No, she was not. She was not a wallflower. She said--

GIBSON JOHNS: I'm not mad about that.

WENDY OSEFO: -- if I'm going to be here, I'm going to be here. I'm not either.

[LAUGHS]

No, I'm not eight.

GIBSON JOHNS: And clearly, a large portion of the trailer kind of talks about a DM that Gizelle apparently gets from Chris Bassett, and that hurting her relationship with Candiace, and just the fallout seemingly from that. He tweeted that now it's his turn to kind of go through it.

WENDY OSEFO: OK.

GIBSON JOHNS: I mean, it that-- is that taking center stage this season, the-- the Candace and Chris of it all?

WENDY OSEFO: It's definitely talked about. You know, I think that, one, a theme that you can always count on in "Potomac" is someone's husband. OK. Last season, it was mine.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah.

WENDY OSEFO: So I say that to say, you can always count on that. But I think what makes season seven unique for me, is that we do not get stuck on one thing. And I-- and a return I think that the viewers will also see that. Like, yes, we talk about that, and yes, that's discussed. But there's so many other things, and shifting dynamics that happen, that for me, just filming it. Yes, that was a focal point. But then the next day it was like, da-da-da da-da-da.

GIBSON JOHNS: OK.

WENDY OSEFO: And that's what makes this season really good.

GIBSON JOHNS: Mm-hmm. And I mean, you and Eddie must be like, OK, thank God it's not our turn anymore, like gee. Like, come on.

WENDY OSEFO: Child-- Let me-- listen. But let me tell you know what? Stay tuned. Because they always find a way to mess with Eddie. But stay tuned. [LAUGHS]

GIBSON JOHNS: Eddie-- Eddie knows how to handle it. But it's like, come on now.

WENDY OSEFO: He does. Come on now.

GIBSON JOHNS: And then-- and then, Wendy, I mean the end of the trailer, we see Mia splash her-- it looks like an entire drink on you. You call her a crater faced B. What-- what can you-- I know you can't tell me. But what can you tease as to what leads to you and Mia maybe coming to-- to a head.

WENDY OSEFO: I would tell the viewers to pay very close attention to her from the beginning. And see if that action matched the words. Spoiler alert, it doesn't. And that's why if you pay attention to the trailer, Karen is so relaxed and calm. Because there was nothing there. Does that make sense?

GIBSON JOHNS: It comes--

WENDY OSEFO: If it was--

GIBSON JOHNS: It's-- it kind of comes from nowhere a little bit for you.

WENDY OSEFO: Exactly. Because if there was something tense, you know Karen. She's not in any mess. You would have probably gotten up, or walked away, or she would have been like this. But you can tell from her demeanor completely that this is not anything. Like we're not--

GIBSON JOHNS: You're sitting at dinner, right.

WENDY OSEFO: Yes, but pay very close attention.

GIBSON JOHNS: Well Wendy, it sounds like season seven is another one for the books from you guys. I'm-- I'm so excited. I am-- thank you so much for being so generous with your time today. I'm--

WENDY OSEFO: Aw, thank you.

GIBSON JOHNS: I love doing a deep dive with you always, particularly with this special book that you have gifted to us. "Tears of my Mother" is out Tuesday, September 20. That might be when you're listening or watching this interview, whoever is watching us. But it's-- I highly recommend it. I learned so much about you. And it's just really special. So thank you so much.

WENDY OSEFO: Thank you so much. I appreciate it. And it's always an honor and a treat to talk with you. Thank you.

GIBSON JOHNS: You too. And I'll see you at Bravocon, Wendy.

WENDY OSEFO: Whoo! All righty. [LAUGHS]

GIBSON JOHNS: Thanks for tuning in to "We Should Talk." I hope you enjoyed the interview. You can find out more about "In The Know" at intheknow.com. You can follow me, Gibson Johns, @Gibsonoma on Twitter and Instagram. And you can listen to all of our interviews, past and future, by searching "We Should Talk" wherever you get your podcasts. Hope to see you next time.