“In New York, there’s a lot of bad apples. But I’m the baddest of the bunch,” Sai De Silva declares in the opening credits of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York City” reboot, which premieres Sunday. But a chat with the content creator-turned-reality star reveals she’s softer — and more vulnerable — than her tagline may leave viewers to believe.
TheWrap caught up with De Silva ahead of the Season 14 premiere, which showcases an all-new group of women. De Silva is the first of the new housewives viewers meet as they are welcomed into her Brooklyn brownstone. Longtime fans of the show will know original cast member Alex McCord was the only housewife to previously live in the borough. (The show was initially conceived as “Manhattan Moms”). And that’s just where the changes begin.
Season 14 of “RHONY” features an all-new cast of diverse women. Besides Brynn Whitfield and Jessel Taank, who we see visiting your house, which of the ladies did you know prior to filming?
None of us were besties at the time. We all just kind of ran in the same circles, you know, six degrees of separation in New York City. We all live in a city that you would think is so large, but it’s actually extremely small, especially in our industry. Three of us working in fashion, we’ve all crossed paths and have the same friends. But ever since we went filming so intensely and spent so much time with one another, now we’re all very, very close.
“Intense” is a word many housewives have used to describe filming. Were there any apprehensions you or your family had about joining “RHONY”?
I have a lot of privacy and my personal life. [While I’m] someone who is an online personality, it is still very much something that is curated by me. Even though I’m sharing so much, I’m curating exactly what it is that I want you to see. So when it comes to my family, especially my husband, those things aren’t really seen. So I am a little bit nervous about having my world open up and be open to scrutiny. My life is here on display for you to say anything you want. But at the same time. I’m also very, very excited for the opportunity.
Speaking of family, we meet your two kids — London and Rio — in the opening scene. What’s the story behind their names? Your favorite destinations?
If I didn’t live in New York and I had the opportunity, I would definitely live in London. I love the Brits. They’re funny, they’re witty, they’re sarcastic, they love to drink and love a good time. Can’t go wrong with the Brits.
And so when we had a daughter, I just knew that her name would be London. Her middle name is Scout and that came from “To Kill a Mockingbird.” And that’s how my whole entire brand started, was through when she was born.
And then when I got pregnant with our son, my husband happened to be in Rio and it was Father’s Day. And I called him and I was like, “Oh my god, I’m pregnant.” And I just love the name Rio. So it just kind of made sense. And you know what? I usually will not name a child unless I look at them. So I did have a few names. I had all these names, and then as soon as I saw him I was like, “He’s absolutely a Rio!”
Tell us more about the rest of your family.
I have a pretty big family. My husband hangs out with my family. We are a ton of women; I’m actually the first cousin to have a boy. My aunt called me the other day and was like, “I’m very concerned about our last name. There are no men to carry this last name.” But we’re such strong De Silva’s that I actually gave my son my last name.
We’re all very, very close. Salsa music in the kitchen at all times. Someone is always drinking a beer while cooking rice and beans. We all get along very well. My husband can only take us in doses. We’re highly opinionated, loud women, especially when it’s time to eat. We’ll be like, “I don’t want this. I don’t want that.” He can only take so much. But we’re a very funny family. We’re not very sensitive and love to pick on each other. It’s all love, but it’s also a lot of fun.
What are you most excited to see in the upcoming season?
I think I’m really excited for people to just get to know me a little bit more. Because I do this for a living, this online personality, it is a very curated lifestyle that I have. It’s very surface-level. I think on the show, you’re really going to see a more vulnerable me. You’re going to see a lot of my family and kind of understand why I have this little tough exterior. But at the same time, I’m just someone who’s very fun. And I’m brutally honest at the same time, which is what a real New Yorker is.
The “Housewives” fandom is very opinionated. What has the feedback been so far?
I think the reaction has been really great. But at the same time, you know, my dad Andy, he tells me not to read comments whatsoever, so I have to take him up on his advice. I am trying to stay sane here and just entertain. So I really don’t read too much of the comments unless they are comments that are on my personal page.
Check out Sai in action in this preview from the Season 14 premiere of “The Real Housewives of New York City” below, and watch the first episode Sunday night at 9 p.m. PT/ET.