Story at a glance
- Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Miami” will make history this month when it introduces Julia Lemigova, the franchise’s first openly gay main cast member.
- There are other housewives who have come out during their time on the show, but Lemigova is the first to identify as openly gay from the outset.
- The “Housewives” franchise has been criticized over its lack of LGBTQ+ diversity in the past, and executive producer Andy Cohen said in a recent interview that Bravo had recently considered adding a gay man to the main cast.
Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Miami” is returning after an eight-year hiatus and will make history in becoming the franchise’s first series to feature an openly gay woman in its main cast.
Julia Lemigova, a former Russian model who was crowned Miss USSR in 1990, will join the cast as the first lesbian housewife. She’s married to the former professional tennis player Martina Navratilova, who is widely considered to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time.
While there have been other housewives who have come out during their time on the show, Lemigova is the first one to be out from the get-go.
Former “Real Housewives of Orange County” star Braunwyn Windham-Burke came out as a lesbian last year during an interview with the LGBTQ+ media monitoring organization GLAAD.
“I’m finally comfortable enough to say I like women. I’m gay. I’m a member of the LGBTQ+ community. I’m a lesbian,” she said at the time. “It has taken me 42 years to say that, but I’m so proud of where I am right now and I’m so happy where I am — and to be able to be comfortable in my own skin after so long is just so nice.”
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Fellow former Orange County housewife Elizabeth Lyn Vargas earlier this year said she identified as bisexual, and Noella Bergener, a newcomer on the upcoming season of “Real Housewives of Orange County,” shares in a trailer that she is also bisexual.
The “Housewives” franchise has been called out before over its lack of LGBTQ+ representation, and the franchise’s executive producer, Andy Cohen, in May told “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” cast member Garcelle Beauvais on her podcast that Bravo had come close to casting “several lesbians,” but it had just never worked out.
He also said the network had toyed around with the idea of casting a gay man as its first gay housewife on “Real Housewives of New Jersey” in the early 2000s.
“We wound up just not doing it,” he told Beauvais.
“Real Housewives of Miami” will premiere Dec. 16 on the streaming service Peacock, with new episodes available every Thursday. In addition to Lemigova, the season will feature returning housewives Larsa Pippen, Alexia Echevarria, and Lisa Hochstein, and newcomers Guerdy Abraira and Nicole Martin.
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