Season 5 of “The Real Housewives of Potomac” was perhaps one of the most anticipated seasons of a Bravo show in recent memory.
With four original cast members — Karen Huger, Gizelle Bryant, Robyn Dixon and Ashley Darby — set to star alongside two other returning cast members, Monique Samuels and Candiace Dillard, as well as newbie Wendy Osefo, the “RHOP” cast was set for a banner moment ahead of their original May premiere date.
But then the pandemic hit and, in turn, the network reshuffled its programming calendar, postponing “Real Housewives of Potomac” until August to make sure that it had fresh programming throughout the summer. If anything, though, the delay amped up the excitement around the newest season of “RHOP,” often referred to by ardent fans (including myself) as the most underrated “Real Housewives” franchise, giving new viewers more of an opportunity to catch up on the previous seasons.
That increased interest in the newest season was something that Karen Huger, the so-called Grand Dame of Potomac, certainly felt throughout the summer.
“Did I feel it? Yes! They were telling me; they were like, ‘Oh, my god. We can’t wait,'” the OG cast member recalled during an interview with In The Know’s Gibson Johns recently. “It was my birthday, the first release date. It would have been super cool, but everything happens for a reason. And now I’m glad that it’s a gift of the summer.”
By now, the ladies of “Potomac,” who all live in and around the Washington, D.C., area, have more than proven that they can hold their own among the best of the best when it comes to serving up “Real Housewives” drama.
“We’ve earned our badge. We are here to stay. It’s a powerful moment. I think I said it, you know? It’s a very powerful cast,” Huger told ITK. “We are very diverse, but very much so cut from the same cloth. And we bring it. And we bring happiness, joy, peace, love. You see a lot of love, especially this season. […] This season you’ll see us on a more deeper level.”
“[This season] puts us down in the history books of being one of the baddest, if not the baddest,” she added with a knowing smile.
While other franchises have swapped cast members in and out and back in again season after season to keep things fresh, “Potomac” hasn’t had to do that: They’ve been able to rely on a well-balanced cast of big personalities who have managed to bring something new to the table every year. In fact, having four original cast members make it through the first five seasons is a record for any “Real Housewives” franchise.
“Honestly, we’ve grown up together on this platform. And as you turn the pages of each OG, Robyn, Ashley, Gizelle, and myself, you see we’re growing — and not without challenge,” Huger told us of the cast’s longevity. “We keep it real, and then we celebrate celebratory times and challenging times. We get in there, and we handle that, too.”
“I think we are so good together with growth, personal growth,” she added. “The moment either of us stop growing, that’s when it’ll answer the question that most want to know.”
As for how she’s personally grown during her time on “RHOP,” the mother of two said that she’s gotten better at picking what to engage in and what to ignore and ultimately letting less affect her on a deep level.
“Developing a tough skin that really gauges what to sweat,” Huger said when asked how she’s grown. “I don’t sweat the small stuff. I’m like, ‘Honey, no. Uh-uh, not happening here. Let’s roll through and let’s — yeah, we’re done.’ I just don’t sweat the small stuff anymore, and I think that’s called personal growth and putting things in perspective. You can come for me all day long, but can you penetrate the armor of confidence? I don’t think so.”
With a thicker skin also came a willingness to be more open about her life when the cameras are rolling. This season, that means that viewers will see her and her husband, Ray, struggle to overcome a lack of passion that has overtaken their decades-long marriage, which she calls “an institution.”
“I always knew that when I got on reality TV, I would bring reali-tea. So when the cameras came a-rollin’ and Ray and I were dusting off the institution we call our marriage, we had to share that, because who are we helping?” Huger explained. “We thought about it, and we were like, ‘OK, maybe we could just button it up.’ But no, we don’t roll like that.”
“It’s going to be relatable to those people who have been married at least 20, 30 years and to the younger folk that’s getting married today. What it takes actually to dig in when the challenges come,” she went on. “It’s easy, honey, when things are going well. But what do you do when things hit a rough patch? Do you sign that decree that says ‘bye-bye’ or do you just lock it in and fight it out and fight for your relationship?”
“The Real Housewives of Potomac” airs on Sundays at 9 P.M. EST only on Bravo.
Listen to our full interview with Karen Huger below:
If you enjoyed this story, check out In The Know’s recent interview with “Real Housewives of New York City” star Leah McSweeney here.
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