'Real Housewives' star Jill Zarin talks 'Ultimate Girls Trip,' running into Bethenny Frankel and 'RHONY: Legacy'

Jill Zarin is starring on "Real Housewives" again for the first time in over a decade. Gibson Johns interviews the original "Real Housewives of New York City" star ahead of Season 2 of Peacock's "The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip," which premieres today. They talk about all things "RHUGT," "RHONY," whether she considers this to be her "last hoorah" or if she expects to come back for "RHONY: Legacy" and who she thinks would make the best cast for that show. They also talk about Jill's recent run-in with Bethenny Frankel, hanging out with Vicki Gunvalson and Ramona Singer, working with her daughter, Ally, on building the Jill & Ally brand and much, much more.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

GIBSON JOHNS: Hi, guys. Welcome back to "We Should Talk," a pop culture interview series from "In The Know." I'm your host, Gibson Johns. And this week on the podcast, we have Jill Zarin from "The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip, Ex-Wives Club" on Peacock, which is out today.

She's also, obviously, from "The Real Housewives of New York City." She is an OG. She is the OG of NYC. And it was my first time interviewing Jill. And it just great having Jill back on our TV screens. And it was fun to get some time with her-- to kind of jump back and forth between "Ultimate Girls trip," and "RHONY," and "RHONY Legacy," and just kind of the status of "Housewives" in general. Her new era with Jill & Ally, the company that she started with her daughter.

It was just fun to talk to her. And I think her perspective on things is always worthwhile, always worth hearing. And she's not in the first episode of "Girls Trip," but she does make quite the entrance in episode two. It hearkens back to one of her most iconic moments on the show. I won't ruin it, but I will just say, (SING-SONG) hi. That's a little preview for it.

And yeah. I mean, again, she had some really great insights into certain things. We talked about her and Bethenny running into each other on the plane. And she wouldn't tell me exactly what they talked about, which I think she's saving probably for, like, a "Watch What Happens Live" moment or something like that, which I totally get. And there are some interruptions-- some welcome interruptions from Ally, her daughter, and also Gary, her boyfriend.

It was a great interview. I loved getting some time with Jill. And if you're an OG "RHONY" fan, like I am, you'll love listening to this or watching this. So yeah, keep listening for my interview with Jill Zarin. Tune in to "The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip, Ex-Wives Club" on Peacock, streaming now. And please rate, review, and subscribe to "We Should Talk" on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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All right, so we're here with Jill Zarin, the star of the upcoming Peacock "Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip, Ex-Wives Club," former star of "The Real Housewives of New York City," also co-founder of Jill & Ally. Jill, you wear many hats. I'm so excited to be talking to you.

JILL ZARIN: I'm just thinking that, myself, that I wear a lot of hats. They don't always look good on me though.

GIBSON JOHNS: That's always how it's been, though. You know? I like it like that.

JILL ZARIN: Thanks.

GIBSON JOHNS: So I mean, it's premiere week. We're recording this two days before the show comes out. We have-- there's a premiere party tonight. This is going to come out the day that the show comes out. Does it feel like you filmed this decades ago? Like, I feel like it's been a long lead-up to this.

JILL ZARIN: It has been a long lead-up, but a great, like, a fun ride lead-up. And someone-- one of-- you know the girls are all in town now for the premiere party. And somebody saw us on the buses yesterday. You know, I thought that they do the buses, like, by the month-- like you buy the month of June, you buy the month of July. I don't feel-- I feel like they're just getting on the buses now. So maybe they bought July, and they're getting on early.

GIBSON JOHNS: I'd love that. And I remember the first season, they were on the buses for a while. So I think you're going to be seeing your face on buses for maybe all summer.

JILL ZARIN: Oh, my god. How great would that be? Although, I'm not here very much. But yes, when I come into town I definitely would love to see that. But you know, I want to see if they buy the billboard on Sunset.

GIBSON JOHNS: That would be a major.

JILL ZARIN: I would fly out for that one because a friend of mine has on one now, Zach, who owns 75 Main in the Hamptons. He's on the billboard because he has a show on Discovery. So I was so happy for him.

GIBSON JOHNS: I mean, I'd love if you guys got that. That's a prime location right there.

JILL ZARIN: Crazy, crazy.

GIBSON JOHNS: Do you feel like, I mean-- because again, there's been-- you haven't been on "Housewives" for over 10 years now. Do you feel like-- does this feel right to you? Does this feel like kind of a feeling that you've had before? Yeah.

JILL ZARIN: Yeah. I mean, listen. Just because I wasn't on the show didn't mean I wasn't a part of the show.

GIBSON JOHNS: Of course.

JILL ZARIN: Especially because I was the first one on like-- doing the first, one of the first, franchises. Yeah. I mean, I definitely have always felt part of the family. I've had fights and makeups with some of the executives and things like that. But I'm a really good place now. You know, it's like in any family. You go through cycles.

But it feels great. Honestly, it feels great. And you know, I always say it's my last hurrah. And this is probably my last hurrah. So I'm going to try to enjoy it as much as I can. I never thought I'd see my face on a bus again, ever.

GIBSON JOHNS: All right, so Jill, I mean, you've had two interactions this week that people are loving on social. Obviously, first is the Bethenny flight photo. You guys are on the same plane together.

JILL ZARIN: Surprise.

GIBSON JOHNS: Surprise, hi. How did-- what did you guys talk about? Did you talk-- like did you get up and kind of go to each other's seats and chat?

JILL ZARIN: You know I'm going to have to save that for something. I'm going to have to save them conversation for something.

GIBSON JOHNS: But you guys did have a moment?

JILL ZARIN: We just-- oh, no. We totally reconnected. And it was really nice. It was really nice.

GIBSON JOHNS: That's really great to hear.

JILL ZARIN: Obviously, that by her posting that-- I knew, obviously, that she took the picture. I didn't know if she was going to post it or not post it. And I'm so-- I don't want to say the word afraid-- you know, I'm so sensitive to that word thirsty that I wasn't going to be the one to post anything-- nothing, zippo.

GIBSON JOHNS: But that moment is too big to not post it. Come on. And again, like I see you-- I think people see you together, I'm one of those people, and it just brings us all back to something really special. That was a really special time, when your friendship was such amazing, heartwarming TV, and fun TV, 10 years ago. And to see you guys-- there's been ups and downs, obviously, over the years-- but like, to see that moment and to see you guys smiling together is fun.

JILL ZARIN: I actually felt it with her. And I've seen her over the years at various different things for a quick hello, or whatever, and never been antagonistic or anything. You know, regardless of what you see or read, it's never been physically antagonistic, where it's like she'll give me a miss or I'll give her miss or anything like that.

But I have to say that it was honestly with open arms, I think, on both ends-- that we were literally sitting 35,000 feet above it all. You know? I'm up here. That we were both above it all and reconnected, it was great. It was great. It was really nice.

GIBSON JOHNS: And I'm really glad to hear that.

JILL ZARIN: I don't know what Andy's comment is, though. I don't always-- I'm the person who doesn't get jokes.

GIBSON JOHNS: [LAUGHS] What did he comment, again? Remind me.

JILL ZARIN: It wasn't a joke. But I'm just saying, I'm not the one who always can interpret things right. What was this comment?

ALLY SHAPIRO: Sending cameras.

JILL ZARIN: He said that he's sending-- no, he didn't say cameras. He says, I'm sending a crew with certified checks.

GIBSON JOHNS: I don't know what that meant.

JILL ZARIN: I don't know what that meant. Did you?

GIBSON JOHNS: I know what the sending-- no, I don't. I know what the sending-- everyone always says, I need Andy and the camera. That's sort of, like, whenever there's something good happening that's what people say because it was said on the show. But I don't know what the certified checks reference is. I'm not really sure what that was.

JILL ZARIN: Well, probably because Bethenny will not do it unless she gets paid.

GIBSON JOHNS: Oh, there we go. [LAUGHS]

JILL ZARIN: --do anything unless she gets paid. Which by the way, she's the best business woman of them all.

GIBSON JOHNS: Oh, of course.

JILL ZARIN: I don't know. I don't know what he meant.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah. And then, the other one was last night you were hanging out with Ramona and Vicki--

JILL ZARIN: That was not planned. I mean, one was-- Vicki was planned.

GIBSON JOHNS: Because obviously, Vicki is on the show. But Ramona and Vicki have a history, as well. They've--

JILL ZARIN: A good history though. No, no, I don't think they fight.

GIBSON JOHNS: You know, they were on-- at BravoCon, they were on the "Watch What Happens Live" big taping together, where it was "Squash That Beef," because they argued over who put "Housewives" on the map.

JILL ZARIN: Oh, but that's like-- that's right. That's a funny one. That wasn't like-- some of them were not funny.

GIBSON JOHNS: But that's not serious.

JILL ZARIN: Yeah, that wasn't like-- some of them were not funny, where, like, somebody-- I think it was, again, Ramona giving someone a [? mist ?] or something. That wasn't funny. But this, yeah-- that was always like who's the bigger boss?

GIBSON JOHNS: OK. So you guys just had a fun night together last night.

JILL ZARIN: Well, Ramona and I live in the same building.

GIBSON JOHNS: That's crazy.

JILL ZARIN: You know, full circle, who would have thought after all these years?

GIBSON JOHNS: Truly.

JILL ZARIN: And I'm legally single, so like, the two single housewives living in the same building. And Luann lives in the next building. She lives next door. I could, like, spit on her balcony. So it's crazy.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, that's fun.

JILL ZARIN: It all ends up being that same circle. It's always the same circle of friends. And I'll tell you something, in my opinion. That's my opinion, isn't that what she said, Tamra? That's my opinion.

GIBSON JOHNS: It is, yeah.

JILL ZARIN: It's my opinion-- and I've said this from day one-- that it doesn't matter what they call the show, none of that. It's always the cast.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yes, I agree.

JILL ZARIN: And I think that Bravo learned some hard lessons by trying to say it's not the cast, it's the show. It doesn't matter who the cast is. The show is the sixth housewife, or whatever. The city is the sixth housewife. And I think that they've proven that it's not true. It is the cast.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, I really-- I agree with that. I think it all starts with the cast. And I think that you--

JILL ZARIN: And I think--

GIBSON JOHNS: A good cast can be put anywhere and it'd still be a good show. You know what I mean?

JILL ZARIN: Well, I think that's what this new "Legacy" show shows, that when you have the right girls together-- and by the way, you could have a right girl in the wrong group.

GIBSON JOHNS: Totally.

JILL ZARIN: And I'm sure that they will make mistakes as they continue this. They'll probably make mistakes, where it'll be like in hindsight-- oh, we shouldn't have put Jill in that group. We should have put Jill in the other group, or whatever it is. But it is. It's-- I always said, it's all-- on "New York--" all roads lead back to Jill Zarin. You know, like Six Degrees of Kevin-- what was it? Six Degrees of--

GIBSON JOHNS: Separation? Six Degrees of Jill Zarin. Yeah, there we go.

JILL ZARIN: No, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right. Oh, right.

JILL ZARIN: Six Degrees-- Five Degrees of Jill Zarin. Because even on season 13, when Eboni was introduced to "The Housewives," and she was sitting in the back of the car-- and mind you, editors allowed this to stay in because there's a lot of stuff said. It doesn't make it.

But they allowed in that Eboni said that she met Luann at Jill Zarin's charity event. Which by the way, I would love to mention this, that on July 16th my daughter Ally and I have re-launched-- I think-- I don't know if that's the right word. What's the right word?

ALLY SHAPIRO: Yeah.

JILL ZARIN: Re-launched? Re-launched, brought back to life. My charity event-- The Luxury Ladies Luncheon in the Hamptons, in honor of Bobby-- we felt it was missing in our lives. And I also think that a lot of people who came to the event in the past felt it was missing. The pandemic is over. And all that bad stuff is over. Time to get back to fun, free, and fabulous. That's good-- fun, free, and fabulous.

GIBSON JOHNS: Write that down.

JILL ZARIN: Not free to come to the event. But when you get there-- it is for charity.

GIBSON JOHNS: The fun is free. Right, exactly.

JILL ZARIN: All of it's free.

GIBSON JOHNS: So Jill, let's talk a little bit about the show because, again, a lot of people are excited to have you back on their screens. We're going to see you once a week on Peacock. But like, it's been 11 years though. And I-- at a certain point, I recognize a big change in "Housewives." And obviously, this is not "Housewives of New York." This is "Ultimate Girls Trip."

It's a different scenario. But I'm curious if, like, from this experience that you had filming, what were some of the biggest changes that you noticed, just in terms of how the women operated or how the production operated? Because things have changed over the years, I just think in terms of how people approach the shows.

JILL ZARIN: Well, first of all, COVID was a big thing. But that was-- just has to do with the times, you know, that we didn't have to deal with back then. And I started reality TV when it was a very-- was no budget. I mean, literally like no budget. They were given, like, no money. I don't know how much they get now. But if they were getting $10 to make a show then, now they're getting $100. You know what I mean?

It doesn't necessarily mean it's filtering down to the finished product, mind you. But somebody is getting rich. So at the house, it was quite an impressive amount of crew and layers to produce a show. You know, there were no story producers. When you see the runs at the end of the show, and you see all the titles of people-- there were none of those when I did the show.

It was just like-- there were no directors or anything. They literally-- it was very much more of a documentary reality than it is now. Doesn't make it bad. It's just much bigger.

GIBSON JOHNS: It's just different.

ALLY SHAPIRO: Socialites of New York.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah. I do-- really, the production value is just so different. But I do think there's something to be said about how it was, obviously. But I don't know if it'll ever go back to that style, because it's too far--

JILL ZARIN: Even like lighting and things like that-- I just did another show in my apartment for Julia Haart. She's on Netflix. And I'm doing an episode for her show. And when they came over, I thought that they were going to come and put all this tape on my ceilings and da, da, da, da, da. And they came in with these, like, strip lighting-- LEDs, or whatever. And they just put it-- and that was it.

GIBSON JOHNS: That's all they needed.

JILL ZARIN: And it was real light. It wasn't bright. Like, I remember when we would do things it would be-- if we did a party scene or whatever-- bright lights because you had to see. You know? But they don't do that anymore. They don't need to have those bright lights. These LEDs, which are natural light, work for TV.

GIBSON JOHNS: That's a nice change. Yeah, that's a nice change. I like that.

JILL ZARIN: So it feels a little bit more real.

GIBSON JOHNS: Totally.

JILL ZARIN: [INAUDIBLE]

GIBSON JOHNS: So you're not in the first episode. You missed the first night due to Jewish holidays.

JILL ZARIN: I missed the first fight. I got past the COVID fight.

GIBSON JOHNS: Which is, honestly, a good one to miss.

JILL ZARIN: Oh, yeah. I definitely didn't want to go down that rabbit hole.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right.

JILL ZARIN: But I do feel a little bad because I'm not in-- I'm not really in the trailer.

GIBSON JOHNS: Because it's a lot of the intro stuff, right. Exactly.

JILL ZARIN: I wasn't there. So there's a big, in Times Square-- somebody, I think Vicki, somebody posted in Times Square yesterday that the promo reel is airing on this 1,000 foot screen. And I'm not in it at all. And I feel a little bad I missed that. But I don't feel bad that I surprised them.

GIBSON JOHNS: Well, you'll be on the busses.

JILL ZARIN: But I am on the busses. I do look good on the busses.

GIBSON JOHNS: OK. But then-- I don't want to ruin it for people-- but in the second episode, you do make a big entrance. And it really hearkens back to one of your iconic moments on "Housewives of New York."

And I saw-- I was sensing the lead-up to this moment. I was, as a fan, I was like, yeah. This is going to be great. But then, the women don't give you the reaction that you might have expected them to. Why do you think that was? Were they not picking up on the allusions?

JILL ZARIN: I don't know. Well, first of all, all I'm looking at is it looks like I took a nap in the car because my hair is all fucked up. I don't know what I did. I'm also wearing my Surprise t-shirt, that says Team Jill on the back-- which of course, I'm selling on jillzarin.com with my Where's My Diet Coke?

GIBSON JOHNS: Get it.

JILL ZARIN: And all my other-- I'm don't know where the green sweatshirt is. Can you grab that out? With all my other merch because honestly, nobody really made great merch. They just didn't. So we did. Look at this.

GIBSON JOHNS: And yours is great.

JILL ZARIN: And we made it for every city. I gave them to-- I don't think I had the sweatshirts then. But I have one for every city. But we made everybody's tagline.

GIBSON JOHNS: That's so smart.

JILL ZARIN: And I gave it to each housewife, a sweatshirt with a tagline and their logo. So like, we had an apple. So we did an embroidered apple, obviously. An embroidered diamond for Beverly Hills. An embroidered peach. So it's a little bit-- and it's very high quality, really soft. So I hope--

GIBSON JOHNS: It's also pretty simple. I like it. It's clean and simple, but also-- yeah.

JILL ZARIN: I just thought it would be fun because I think the fans, like, love merch. They do.

GIBSON JOHNS: Oh, we love. Oh, we love. We'll spend money on anything.

JILL ZARIN: Let's hope I can sell some merch on the show.

GIBSON JOHNS: I think the Surprise shirt's going to do well.

JILL ZARIN: Goodness, I walk in with this sweatshirt, but I'm wearing a navy blazer. And I'm like, what was I thinking? Why didn't I have a black blazer with me?

GIBSON JOHNS: I think you looked cute. I liked it. I liked it.

JILL ZARIN: The whole thing is-- and then, the pants were too high. I don't know. The whole thing was bad. I'm not going to-- I have to say, it shows you how long-- I only speak for myself-- that I've been on television to show you that I can't put myself together on TV. And I couldn't then, either. So the whole thing is disaster. I need a stylist. That's all.

GIBSON JOHNS: So Jill, you go into this show, and it seems like the people you knew the most were Vicki and Dorinda. I feel like you've known them both for the longest. Would you say that those are the people that you're still closest to after this experience? Or who would you say, kind of, is also up there with them in terms of who you connected to?

JILL ZARIN: I'm going to have to let you watch and see what happens. I don't want to give it away. You got to see how the relationships and the alliances-- I won't say the alliances. There's not really alliances. But to see who sits in what cars, right? Which group of girls gravitate to which group are girls, and which ones don't want to sit with other ones?

GIBSON JOHNS: Let me ask you this, because I'm kind of sensing some of this from the beginning. Do things change as it goes on? Or is it sort of naturally from the beginning, it formed?

JILL ZARIN: Oh, no. I think things change. I think in the beginning you just ends up where you are. It's like in class, in school. You end up sitting at a desk. And by the end of the year, you know, your desk has moved. You know, you move your desk.

GIBSON JOHNS: And I'm also sensing-- I mean, again from the first two episodes-- you're definitely one of the voices of reason in this group. It's a strong-- it's a group of strong personalities, I would say. And you obviously have a strong personality. But even from just your confessionals, there's a voice of the people aspect to what you're bringing to this group of people.

JILL ZARIN: Well, I think that I-- what I'm really happy about is that at the end of it all-- you know at the end of "New York," at the end of this, at the end of my life or whatever-- that people, if they watch this-- and I haven't seen the whole thing. I've only seen three episodes. But I know how I was-- that you get back what you started with.

It doesn't necessarily mean you liked me because we all have lovers and haters, right? But I think that there was a part in "Housewives of New York" where I changed and circumstances changed-- and there were behind the scenes things that happen that nobody knows about nor needs to know about-- but you don't see the full picture, necessarily, in front of you. Where I think that over the life of myself as a person-- we all have our ups and downs-- I think where I am now is where I want people to remember me.

GIBSON JOHNS: That's a nice sentiment. I like that sentiment. That's nice. Yeah.

JILL ZARIN: I think so. And I think for all of us. I kind of think our real characters come out on the show. You know?

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah. And that--

JILL ZARIN: It is.

GIBSON JOHNS: That makes me grateful that you are, at least, having this chance to show-- obviously, you're still the Jill that we know and love-- but also, you've grown. And you have changed a little bit, but for the better. And that's a nice opportunity for you.

JILL ZARIN: I think so.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah.

JILL ZARIN: Yeah, and I'm very grateful to Andy and to Bravo for giving me that opportunity to come back and kind of just leave with where I want to leave, not the way I left.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, totally. From the first two episodes, it seems like--

JILL ZARIN: I will tell you, though, that I thought my season 4-- I loved season 4 of all the seasons--

[PHONE RINGING]

--besides-- look who's calling, Vicki.

GIBSON JOHNS: Oh, my god. [LAUGHS]

JILL ZARIN: I know. I loved season 1. Well, obviously, I didn't love season 3. But I loved season 1. But I really loved season 4 on "The Housewives." You know, I did. And I don't know why they fired the four of us. I'll never know the real answer.

GIBSON JOHNS: I think in hindsight people have sort of reframed that season and kind of reclaimed it, almost. Like, I see clips from that season around a lot, actually-- especially the trip you guys took that season.

JILL ZARIN: Morocco?

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, Morocco is a huge moment.

JILL ZARIN: The best.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, there's so many meme-able, amazing moments from that moment.

JILL ZARIN: And there was no fighting. I have to tell you, I don't remember that season. I was told-- you know, I was told that the reason why they fired the four of us is because the fans thought it got too dark. That's not how I remembered it at all. I don't know what show they were watching.

GIBSON JOHNS: I don't think that was a dark season by any means.

JILL ZARIN: At all.

GIBSON JOHNS: No, no.

JILL ZARIN: 3 was dark. 3 was very dark.

GIBSON JOHNS: Of course it was, yeah.

JILL ZARIN: But I thought 4 was very light and fun and funny. I mean, there was just so many memorable scenes that-- if we could ever find out the truth. If Andy would really tell the truth as to why they fired 4.

GIBSON JOHNS: If anything, the one new addition to that season, Cindy-- and that's not really shade-- but she didn't really gel with-- she never really gelled with the group. B think that's the one--

JILL ZARIN: No, she did. She really did. Do you know that I am still very friendly with her. And Luann sees her once a month because she goes to her-- what's it called?

ALLY SHAPIRO: V Spa?

JILL ZARIN: V Spa.

GIBSON JOHNS: The vajazzling?

JILL ZARIN: Luann goes to V Spa a lot. So we are all better friends. And Kelly's friends with her, too. So we're all better friends with her now than we ever were.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah. But I think on the show, maybe, it just didn't-- because Sonja gave her a hard time. Sonja they gave her a hard time on that season.

JILL ZARIN: Sonja gave her a hard time, but that's what the show is about, right? You don't get along with everybody. You're not everyone's cup of tea.

GIBSON JOHNS: And I'm wondering if you-- because I mean, there's been this sort of narrative over the years of like-- again, a lot of fans have wanted you to come back. There's been, obviously, I think for a while you wanted to come back.

And I feel like-- what I'm wondering for you, as you were sort of watching "Housewives" evolve-- not just "New York," but just in general-- was there a moment that you kind of realized that what you left in season 4 wasn't what you were going to come back to? That it was sort of a different show? Because I think that sort of happened for Heather. When she came back in this most recent season, it was a different show for her.

JILL ZARIN: What happened?

GIBSON JOHNS: Well, she came back, and I think it was a little bit more, like, cutthroat-- a little more intense than she expected it to be. And she dropped out of filming after the thing with Leah and all of that. I think that it was a different show than she expected.

JILL ZARIN: I don't really know what happened with her. Did they hire her as a housewife, and then she quit?

GIBSON JOHNS: She came back as a friend, but she was only on for like several episodes. And then she came to--

JILL ZARIN: That's all a friend is. Isn't that all a friend is?

GIBSON JOHNS: Well, a lot of-- these days, friends are kind of around all season. They just aren't-- they just don't really get as many personal scenes. But she was back. She came to Ramona's house in the Hamptons. And then she never-- and then she stopped filming after, like it sort of blew up in her face.

So I don't know. I'm curious if for you-- like to did you ever recognize-- did you ever think about the show and be like, maybe this isn't what I left and would want to come back to?

JILL ZARIN: You know what's so funny? I actually thought-- well, first of all, I actually left the show and quit that summer. And then, I got fired. But I had quit first, and then they fired me. But it doesn't matter because to me, it's semantics. I was off the show. And it wasn't just me. There with four other-- three other girls who were also asked to leave. So they completely redid the show.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah.

JILL ZARIN: I actually thought that I should have been-- I'm not saying from Jill's-- I'm not saying as myself. I'm saying if I was a producer, and knowing what I know, they should have brought me back four years ago because I'm the only one that's still friends with-- and I'm not-- it is what it-- I cast the show. So I actually was very hurt when-- there was a couple of years ago-- I spoke to Bravo about coming back to some extent.

And they said to me-- it doesn't matter who-- but they said to me that I didn't really fit in anymore, like meaning that I didn't have-- that it was a different cast or whatever, that I didn't really fit in anymore. And I just let it go because that's just-- it doesn't matter. Give me-- whatever it is, it was a no.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah.

JILL ZARIN: But it wasn't true because the only one who really was friends with any of them was me. Like they would keep bringing people on who knew nobody. So I was friends with Sonja. I still am. I was friends with Luann. I still am. Ramona and I were together last night. We've been frenemies-- good, bad, or indifferent-- since we started 15 years ago.

GIBSON JOHNS: Good TV.

JILL ZARIN: What better TV do you want than someone who has a relationship that doesn't get along all the time? Or would you rather bring on three strangers who were 15 years younger and have zero in common with any of these girls of this generation? But it was insulting to me to say that I don't fit in. What does that mean?

GIBSON JOHNS: Right. I mean, you would have been a glue. You would have been a glue for the group.

JILL ZARIN: Right. I was just like, well then, just tell the truth. I do fit in, but you just don't want me back. That's OK.

GIBSON JOHNS: But why don't--

JILL ZARIN: But don't insult me and say that I don't fit in. And by the way, fitting into what? I don't even know what that means.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right.

JILL ZARIN: I always believed-- I left the show back then because Bobby was sick. And I had a lot of anxiety, which I suffered with without medication, which I get for now. And I couldn't handle just the cycle of television-- like the whole anxiety, not knowing when you're coming back, all the secretiveness-- it just wasn't for me.

I've always been in control of my own destiny. I've always been my own boss. And I just didn't like not having that control. And I didn't like my relationship with Bobby and where it was going. And I thought I needed a break anyway.

So I asked for one, and then it was like a permanent break. But there was a point where I did think that I should come back because I thought it would be fun. And I was friends with the girls. And I'm-- Luann's telling me I should come back. I should come back. They need me, whatever.

And then, I speak to them. And they're like, you know, the shows moved-- oh, I think they said, like, the shows moved in a different direction. I'm like, what direction? You're still in the Hamptons filming with my friends. Anyway, it's water under the bridge.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah.

JILL ZARIN: But I think what I was saying to them, I was right.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah. And it must be a weird feeling, knowing that there were so many people that wanted you to come back in the viewership-- that some of the women, half the cast, wanted you to come back-- and you're not really getting a straight answer. That just must be a frustrating experience. But it seems like you've come to terms with it. Right, exactly.

JILL ZARIN: Oh, yeah. I mean, listen. I have a great life.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah.

JILL ZARIN: And what I really hate is when people call me thirsty. I hate that word because you couldn't have a less thirsty person. I've always-- I'm driven. And I'm ambitious. And I always manifest. That's why we have-- plug, plug-- a manifestation candle line.

GIBSON JOHNS: Love.

JILL ZARIN: Because we manifest what we want. I mean, I do. Ally does. You know, if I want something, I think about it. I make my list or whatever it is, and I go for it.

GIBSON JOHNS: Well, Jill, throughout our conversation you've sort of said that this "Ultimate Girls Trip," you feel like it's sort of your last hurrah, that it's sort of-- you're getting a chance to reclaim some of the narrative around you.

JILL ZARIN: How lucky am I? I'm so lucky.

GIBSON JOHNS: You're really lucky. And it's really amazing. And I think a lot of people are happy about it. But obviously, a couple of months ago they made the announcement about "Legacy." And you joked on Instagram that you're calling for Andy to call you.

JILL ZARIN: Let's talk about that.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, let's talk about that.

JILL ZARIN: Let's talk about that. We actually straightened that out on an interview this week on a podcast. But I'll let Ally answer. Ally, could you answer that question, honey?

ALLY SHAPIRO: What's the question?

JILL ZARIN: When it came out about the "Legacy" show, how I went on Instagram and did a little emoji. Would you come on in over here, please, and straighten that out for Yahoo and their 35 billion listeners?

ALLY SHAPIRO: We were in the middle of the photo shoot for our merch. And we were very excited because everyone was freaking out on the internet. And everyone was posting, tagging my mom. And it, like, blew up. And obviously, I had my mom's account. So I just--

JILL ZARIN: She has my-- because we work together, she posts--

ALLY SHAPIRO: --instinctively commented with the phone because everyone was like-- I don't know if it said, like, call Jill, or-- everyone was saying like--

JILL ZARIN: Andy said, Jill is going to be my first phone.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, exactly.

ALLY SHAPIRO: No, I didn't read the article. No, I didn't read-- we didn't read the article yet.

GIBSON JOHNS: Oh.

ALLY SHAPIRO: No, we did not read the article.

GIBSON JOHNS: It was osmosis.

ALLY SHAPIRO: We just saw the headlines.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah.

ALLY SHAPIRO: We saw the headlines. And I just did an emoji to Andy. And then--

JILL ZARIN: She wrote the emoji.

ALLY SHAPIRO: And then, my mom called Andy. And Andy texted her saying, I'll call you back, and then sent the article. And we read the article. And it said, Jill's going t to be my first phone call. So even though the emoji was a joke, Jill was the first phone call.

JILL ZARIN: But Ally--

GIBSON JOHNS: But it was Ally.

ALLY SHAPIRO: It was me.

JILL ZARIN: And it was meant to be tongue in cheek, not literal.

ALLY SHAPIRO: Of course.

GIBSON JOHNS: So that's not something you want to do? Like you don't-- you didn't call Andy and say--

ALLY SHAPIRO: That was more to talk about the article, not to talk about getting back in the show.

JILL ZARIN: Well, no. I did call Andy, but not to come back to the show. It's like, what the [BLEEP]?

ALLY SHAPIRO: Right.

JILL ZARIN: What are you talking about? What "Legacy?" Why are you doing two shows? Ramona needs a job.

ALLY SHAPIRO: And Andy always talks about it. All the girls always talk to Andy and call him.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right, totally.

ALLY SHAPIRO: No, he's in Cannes right now.

JILL ZARIN: Of course, I know. I'm so jealous. I'm so jealous. I have FOMO.

GIBSON JOHNS: So you don't want to be on "Legacy," whatever the show ends up being? You don't really want to do that?

JILL ZARIN: I don't want to say anything because that's how I get in trouble.

GIBSON JOHNS: OK. So let me ask you this. Who do you-- other than yourself coming back or not coming back, take that out of the equation-- who do you think should-- who do you think would be good on that show? Because again, you know all these women.

JILL ZARIN: I think if you're going to call it a "Legacy," it has to be first season, maybe second. That's it.

GIBSON JOHNS: OK. So maybe, like, Kelly and Sonja?

JILL ZARIN: I definitely think that Sonja and Kelly, and then the original five, and that's it. Not one more. I don't think it should be any other housewives, if it's going to be called "Legacy." If you want to call it New York Housewives Second Generation or whatever-- or maybe, actually, the new show should be called New York Housewives Second Generation because they're the new ones, right?

GIBSON JOHNS: Totally.

JILL ZARIN: But if it's "Legacy," you can't have someone who just came on season 5. That's not a legacy, in my opinion.

GIBSON JOHNS: OK. I get that. I get that.

JILL ZARIN: There's many legacies, because then there's five original. And then, you've got Sonja and Kelly. And then, you have Simon, so that's eight.

[LAUGHTER]

You know? So out of eight, even if you get five or six, you're good. So if Simon-- I think they need Simon and Alex, absolutely need them for so many reasons.

GIBSON JOHNS: Fly them back from Australia. Right.

JILL ZARIN: They might do it for money, which there's no shame in that game. And that's why people do it. But I think that you can do the show without them if you have five.

GIBSON JOHNS: OK.

JILL ZARIN: If you have more, great. But as long as you have five--

GIBSON JOHNS: We need at least five.

JILL ZARIN: You can't have anybody on-- and I love the girls who came after. It doesn't mean that they couldn't do a cameo, or they couldn't be a friend-of.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, totally.

JILL ZARIN: But if you're going to do a legacy show, it's got to be the original girls who were together. In other words, like, if you bring on-- so I was on for four seasons, right? And I'm the first one who left-- or me and Alex left together. So anybody who was on with the original five would qualify.

GIBSON JOHNS: It's fair game. OK.

JILL ZARIN: I would qualify to be on it, like even a Cindy Barshop would because she filmed with us. But you can't bring on, like, Aviva-- and don't take it personally, Aviva, I love you. But you can't bring on an Aviva Dorinda or any of those because they never filmed with us. So it's not legacy, because there's no following up on a relationship.

In other words, I think legacy means is it's before and after. So this was Jill and Bethenny, or Jill and Ramona. They hated each other-- whatever it is, whatever the relationship was. And now its "Legacy." So now, you come back 20 years later, 15 years later, and you see where they are now. But you can't bring on people who came on after us and see where we are now because we were never anywhere before.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right. I get that. I get that. So in your mind--

JILL ZARIN: Bethenny said she doesn't think you could do it with anyone but the original five or six. I think she would qualify as Sonja and Kelly, even though they weren't technically--

GIBSON JOHNS: For sure. Yeah, I think those two kind of are--

JILL ZARIN: I don't think Bethenny would do it with anybody else. I think that she would say it's get to be that, or it's not going to happen.

GIBSON JOHNS: I think you're right. I think you're right. Jill, I'm curious, again, because every single day I see clips from those early years being celebrated. Like that just holds-- those years hold such a special place in so many people's hearts.

JILL ZARIN: I know, mine, too.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, I'm not sure the show will ever get back to that. But what are the moments that you're a part of, that you see pop up the most? Because I'm sure you see it every single day. But what are the ones that you see the most?

JILL ZARIN: That are the memes? Well, I would let like-- things that stick out in my mind, and I wish I still had the outfit. I sold it because I was purging or whatever. I remember when Bethenny and I went to go look at real estate. You know, she's become quite the real estate mogul herself. But she didn't know that I had my real estate license because I didn't practice real estate. But I had my license.

And we went to go look at an apartment for her. And we had to wear a hard hat. And I'll never forget this, Bethenny turns to me and she goes, Cher called and she wants her outfit back. I mean, like those funny, loving memories is what I hold on to-- that if I did "Legacy," I'd want to see again. I don't want to see it hateful. I don't want to see it bad.

And I think that-- I mean, I hate to say it-- but I think that Bethenny posting that photo of us yesterday was almost-- I don't want-- a test or a sample, maybe a sample, of what it could be if it was done right.

ALLY SHAPIRO: Could be really good.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right. Like if there had been a camera there, it would have been fun. Yeah, totally. It's a big if. But I think that, like, doing the legacy thing, you got to do it right.

JILL ZARIN: I would be fine with Bethenny as a producer because she really does know what to do.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, she has that mindset. Totally.

JILL ZARIN: She's been doing this for so many years. Listen, I always said I might have been the older one, the older sister so to speak, but it was like this. And then it was like this.

GIBSON JOHNS: That's how it was. Yeah.

JILL ZARIN: And no shame, because I wanted my life to go-- I had to be a caretaker. I had a lot of things that I had to do in my life. My life was very different, and it is what it is. And Bethenny's trajectory was totally different. And I think that where we are now is like, she should be a producer of it because she really does know what it should be, and how it hasn't been that way for a long time.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, definitely. And lastly, I mean, I see Ally in the background here.

ALLY SHAPIRO: We're working.

GIBSON JOHNS: Well, I feel like you-- I mean Jill & Ally has been-- I feel like it went from being this sort of impromptu, homegrown tie-dye mask company. And now, it's this big thing that's a success. And I feel like, I mean, you're doing merch that's "Housewives" merch. And it's--

JILL ZARIN: But the "Housewives" merch--

GIBSON JOHNS: It's expanded. My point is that it's expanded. And I feel like it's this, sort of, new era for you. It's this whole new, fun thing for you guys to do together. Talk to me about it. And talk to me about the expansion about it really quick before we sign off because it's been fun--

JILL ZARIN: First of all, when I go tonight to the party, I'm totally wearing a Jill & Ally bag-- evening bag [INAUDIBLE]-- which are available on jillandally.com

GIBSON JOHNS: Yes, do it.

JILL ZARIN: We're doing bags, like these fun, great, light-weight bags my mom loves. We're doing facial rollers and all this stuff-- you know, girly.

ALLY SHAPIRO: Yeah, but he's asking me.

JILL ZARIN: Yes, go ahead, honey. You speak.

ALLY SHAPIRO: Well, I know your coworker from Vanderbilt. We went to school together. And I worked in art after school. And then COVID happened. And everything changed for everyone. We kind of leaned in and leveraged our social platforms, like everyone else did. We did it very early on and wanted to also give back to the community quickly. And we used our own resources and started tie-dying

JILL ZARIN: Well, first we did Not Just for Nurses.

ALLY SHAPIRO: Well, Not Just for Nurses. Anyway, it just kept evolving. And we kept on it. We have an amazing team-- Melissa and Bailey are here with us. And we're doing everything from beauty tools, to bags, to candles.

And we're doing the gift shows for the first time this summer, which mom has more experience in retail. I have none. That's going to be really fun to have our own booth at the gift shows and sell these candles to boutiques and get them around the country. We're really excited.

GIBSON JOHNS: That's major.

JILL ZARIN: No, it's amazing.

GIBSON JOHNS: It's amazing.

JILL ZARIN: And I'm so proud of Ally. So like if "Legacy" were to happen-- I mean, I can't even imagine. But it would have to be--

ALLY SHAPIRO: We're busy. We'll be showing our lives.

JILL ZARIN: 2.0, meaning the next generation. Which by the way, I think that's a show-- Avery, Ally.

ALLY SHAPIRO: We're in the same building.

JILL ZARIN: Even if you cross cities. Even if you do New York, New Jersey merch. You know what I mean? I definitely think there's something there. And new girls, maybe like friends of theirs. That way, she brought on friends and Avery brought on a friend because they're around the same age. But you know, they're not doing that now. But I think that if there was a "Legacy," it would have to be the best of not the worst of.

GIBSON JOHNS: Oh, I think so, too. It has to be a celebration.

JILL ZARIN: The way the girls are cast now, they're meant to-- you know, it's like this. And that's not where I am in my life. I'm with a guy who's really funny and makes me laugh every day. And if the show isn't-- if the fans aren't laughing watching the show, then it's the wrong show for me.

GIBSON JOHNS: I agree. That's why, for me, "New York," historically, was always my favorite because I laughed so much with you guys.

JILL ZARIN: By the way, Bethenny has those great one-liners. Nobody [INAUDIBLE].

GIBSON JOHNS: Of course.

JILL ZARIN: But you know what? I met her match. And I told her that on the flight. I said, I met a guy. This guy Gary has one-liners like you. And I'll give you a little secret. If you go on my post of the Bethenny Jill photo, there's a tagline that I wrote. What did I write, Gary? What did I write, Gary?

GARY BRODY: Pleasant flight, no turbulence.

JILL ZARIN: Pleasant flight, no turbulence. Now, who do you think wrote that? Who do you think wrote that?

GIBSON JOHNS: I'm guessing Gary.

JILL ZARIN: You bet.

GARY BRODY: I wanted to write it because if the plane goes down, there's no "Legacy" show. [INAUDIBLE]

JILL ZARIN: No, because that-- and it wasn't even funny. But on Bethenny-- he commented on Bethenny's post and also said something funny. What did you say?

GARY BRODY: Bethenny's post?

JILL ZARIN: Yeah. When she put-- on her post, you wrote something on her post.

GARY BRODY: Oh. The seat belts came off.

JILL ZARIN: The seat belts came off. No, you said no seat belts came off.

ALLY SHAPIRO: No, the seat belts came on.

JILL ZARIN: Oh, he said the seat belts came on. So he's got that one-liner brain.

GIBSON JOHNS: The wittiness. The quickness, yeah.

GARY BRODY: I'm like a Jewish Dr. Seuss.

JILL ZARIN: Like a Jewish Dr. Seuss.

GIBSON JOHNS: I like that. You should--

JILL ZARIN: He'd write these poems for me. Well, he used to. He hasn't written one in a long time. And he would write the-- da, da, da, da, da-- pangram. You know, da, da, da, da, da, da. So I could see him and Bethenny-- it's like the battle of those one-liners.

GIBSON JOHNS: Oh, yeah.

GARY BRODY: She told me I reminded her of her--

JILL ZARIN: Well, don't say anything. Don't say anything.

ALLY SHAPIRO: Yeah, Gary. Don't give too much away.

JILL ZARIN: Don't give too much away.

GIBSON JOHNS: Save it for the right moment. Exactly. Yeah, I get it.

ALLY SHAPIRO: Headline, Bethenny flirted with Jill's boyfriend.

GARY BRODY: Yeah.

JILL ZARIN: No headline. No headline. There's no headline. OK.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah. Well--

JILL ZARIN: I'm just saying that there's so much good stuff and funny stuff. That's what people loved about the Jill and Bethenny-- to me, honestly, the "Legacy" show, it's like "Sex and the City" without Samantha. I didn't watch it. I was a huge fan of "Sex and the City." When Samantha didn't come back, neither did I. It could be a great show. But it's not "Sex and the City" without Samantha. I'm sorry.

GIBSON JOHNS: And we want "RHONY." We want "RHONY."

JILL ZARIN: And I feel like "RHONY" without-- and it's not just Jill and Bethenny. It's Jill, Bethenny, Ramona, Luann, and Alex. It's all of us. It's not legacy.

ALLY SHAPIRO: I do see on TikTok and social and stuff, people loved Alex-- the Johan Face.

JILL ZARIN: [GASPS]

GIBSON JOHNS: That's what I feel like-- that there's the season 4--

JILL ZARIN: I didn't do Johan Face. What about the modeling, when Ramona walks out like a giraffe?

GIBSON JOHNS: That's iconic. But I think that, Ally, you're right. I think what we talked about earlier-- about season 4 being sort of reframed in hindsight-- I think Alex McCord has been kind of reframed a little bit by people. And people always liked Alex, but I think there's an appreciation for her that wasn't necessarily there.

JILL ZARIN: Vindicated.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, exactly. I think a decade ago, it wasn't there.

JILL ZARIN: People don't realize-- and maybe you do now because it's so many years-- she was 30, early 30's, a young mommy, two little babies. You know, we had older kids-- not much older. I mean, now-- but she was 14. We were a different generation than her.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right.

JILL ZARIN: She got the short end of the stick because we were experienced New Yorkers, and she wasn't even from New York. But it was her whole trying to fit in--

GIBSON JOHNS: Right. From Brooklyn, right. Exactly.

JILL ZARIN: No, but it was so-- you know what? You cannot recreate it.

GIBSON JOHNS: No, you can't. It was magic. It was really magic. It really was.

JILL ZARIN: And that's the thing. Can you ever really have a show like that again? Is "Legacy" going to be as good as the original? It could be better, but it has to be done right.

GIBSON JOHNS: It has to be done a certain way. Yeah, exactly.

JILL ZARIN: I don't know if they're willing to do that.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right, I agree. Well, Jill, this has been so much fun. I can't wait for everyone to hear this and also watch "Ultimate Girls Trip." The first two episodes are fantastic, especially the second one with you on it.

JILL ZARIN: You saw all three? I assumed you saw all three.

GIBSON JOHNS: I've watched the first two. I didn't watch the third one because I wanted to savor it a little bit.

JILL ZARIN: Three, I start to come into it. Three, I start to really come in to it. But I think this is one of those shows that is going to get better as you watch it.

GIBSON JOHNS: I think so, too.

JILL ZARIN: They don't blow it in the first one. And then, you're disappointed every other episode because nothing happens. The explosion that starts in the first, it only gets better and better and better.

GIBSON JOHNS: I love it. I can't wait. I cannot wait.

JILL ZARIN: And I think you know-- I think Bluestone Manor, whatever it's called, is beautiful. And I think it's great eye candy for people to watch. It's just a beautiful estate, in my opinion.

GIBSON JOHNS: And also, we're all used to-- we love the Bezerkshires. Like, we love we love those episodes of "RHONY." so it's fun for us to be back there with this group.

JILL ZARIN: I don't think you ever got to see-- according to Dorinda, you never really got to see the property because it was always filmed in the winter.

GIBSON JOHNS: You're right. You're right. Yeah, so we're getting a different view of it.

JILL ZARIN: You really get to see that it's its own-- it's like a housewife. You know what I mean? It's got its own walk and talk.

GIBSON JOHNS: Exactly.

[LAUGHTER]

Well, Jill, this was so much fun.

JILL ZARIN: And you'll have to watch [INAUDIBLE]. You have to watch the show to see [INAUDIBLE].

GIBSON JOHNS: [LAUGHS] I feel like we could talk for two hours. But I'm going to-- I'll stop recording for us. And I'll see you tonight at the party.

JILL ZARIN: See you tonight.

ALLY SHAPIRO: See you tonight. Bye.

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.