Garcelle Beauvais didn’t expect to be making her Real Housewives debut in the middle of a pandemic.
"Talk about crazy, oh my god. I don't know what I got myself into," the newest Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star tells ET via video chat. "I mean, we shot the season already, obviously, but it was really fun and different and, you know, I’ve never really been around a group of women that just love drama."
"It's fun, and I'm interested to see how I am portrayed -- or what the women say behind my back in the confessionals!" she adds. "That's what I’m excited to see … because, right now, everyone is so nice."
Garcelle joins the ladies of the 90210 on Wednesday night's season 10 premiere, by way of Denise Richards. The actresses have been friends for more than two decades.
"I've been friends with not only Denise Richards -- we've been friends for over 20 years -- but also Lisa Rinna, everybody knows Rinna, right?" Garcelle remarks. "Rinna, because I’ve known her, I feel like she’s a little bit different on the show. So, that will be developed as it goes on."
Learning that Lisa may operate "a little bit different on the show" was one of many surprises for Garcelle in her Housewives journey.
"How the fans react to the show, it's unbelievable," she says. "I've been in the business for over 20 years, I've done some really cool stuff, and the announcement of Housewives was the biggest thing ever, and I'm just surprised that people are so interested and invested and they're picking teams!"
"[The Housewives are] like rock stars, you know what I mean?" she adds. "We come out of the hotel and people are, like, taking pictures and, you know, calling out for them, and that was really interesting to see that side of it."
Garcelle says that, as soon as she could, she reached out to her friends from The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Cynthia Bailey and NeNe Leakes, for any advice they could share.
"When it was announced, I texted Cynthia and she was like, 'Girl, I'm so excited for you! You're gonna be great,'" she recalls. "And then I texted NeNe and she was like, 'Giiiiiiirl. They’re all gonna lie, they're gonna cheat, they're gonna stab you in the back.'"
Garcelle says she took NeNe's warning with "a grain of salt," but then realized it was actually useful wisdom.
"The thing that was shocking to me was that me and the women could be laughing and having a good time and then the next [day], they're throwing you under the bus," Garcelle notes. "So, that took a lot of getting used to, you know? Like, hey, you were just leaning on me cracking up and then they’re like, ‘Oh, remember you said that about Lisa Rinna?’ And I’m like, oh.... oh, wow. OK. I did say that."
Garcelle says she clicked with Erika Jayne "right away" because the two "have similar personalities, in terms of, we say it how we see it and we keep it moving." As for the other women, Garcelle admits it took more time to warm up to them; and some, she still hasn't warmed to. She says she's "meh" on OG Kyle Richards and finds Teddi Mellencamp "sweet," but adds that "you can't mess with a pregnant person" (Teddi was pregnant with her third child, daughter Dove, while filming). For the record, it's Kyle and Teddi that Garcelle is talking about when she says "that's white people stuff" in the trailer.
"Dorit [Kemsley], I love, but also Dorit can push my buttons really quickly, which I was shocked to see," Garcelle also admits. "I always thought I had it under control, but Dorit can say something and it totally gets me the wrong way and I don’t know if it’s the accent and the way she’s saying it… just something, but yeah, I don’t know what it is just yet."
As teased in the trailer, it’s Denise who apparently rubs most of the cast the wrong way in season 10. The Drop Dead Gorgeous star seemingly walked away from filming after allegations of an affair between her and former RHOBH star Brandi Glanville started circulating among the cast. Those whispers then made their way to the tabloids.
"For a moment there we were like, who's leaking all of this stuff? Because we felt like a lot of it was sort of factual or accurate," Garcelle shares. "But I think you have to sort of go with the journey .... and how it all shakes out."
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Denise Richards on Coping With Quarantine and That Shocking 'RHOBH' Trailer! (Exclusive)
Denise has vehemently denied the allegation, even calling the discussion around her personal life "disgusting" while speaking with ET last month. Meanwhile, Brandi has played coy; Erika recently told ET that Brandi comes through with "receipts" for her side of the story, but, at the end of the day, Garcelle says she's "Team Denise."
"I mean, I still don't know the truth -- we still don't know," Garcelle confesses. "I think we will know as time goes on and, hopefully, Denise will spill the beans, but I want to believe her. I mean, she's been my friend for over 20 years. So, to me, taking Brandi's side over hers wouldn't be a friend. That's not what friends are for. She's my friend and I'm gonna stick by her and, you know, and see how it shakes out."
"Listen, that girl has been through a lot. She's been through a lot," Garcelle continues. "She always takes the higher ground and I'm always like, 'Denise, speak up for yourself!' and she's like, 'No, it's OK…' and I'm like, 'Girl.' So, she has been through a lot and, you know, she'll be fine. She'll be good, but they're coming for her."
As for what’s in store for Garcelle this season, the 53-year-old says fans will get to see her whole story; she calls herself "a regular girl with a big dream" who made it happen. Garcelle immigrated to the United States from Haiti when she was just seven years old, became a model, then an actress, then a mom.
"I think I hold my own -- I say I hold my own -- I say it like I see it, and I'm a lot of fun," she teases.
"When they came to me, my managers were like, 'Oh, we’re gonna pass on that. We’re just telling you.' And I’m like, wait a moment. Let me think about it, and I was like, you know what? Why not switch it up?" Garcelle adds. "I feel like nowadays you’re not boxed into doing one thing. You don’t have to be just a writer or an actor, and so I thought, let’s see what this world is all about and, boy, did I get an introduction."
The self-described "open book" says she’s opening up like never before, for better or worse.
"You know, revisiting my divorce is not something that I really am looking forward to dredging up," she admits. Garcelle split from her ex-husband, talent agent Mike Nilon, in 2011. They share twin sons, Jaid and Jax, 12. Garcelle also has a son from a previous relationship, Oliver Saunders, 29.
"I had to have the conversation with my kids to sort of tell them that things are gonna come out, you know, about our divorce," she shares. "Mike and I have done such a great job to get to where we co-parent so beautifully that I just hope that doesn't change anything for us, ‘cause that's really, you know, my family is really, really important to me, whether we're married or not, we're still family."
When Garcelle’s casting was announced, a years-old story about an email she sent out to her then-husband's work about him cheating on her made the rounds again. While Garcelle admits she's not proud of the moment, she does confess that she brought that "same energy" to Housewives.
"Yes, let's just say I am bringing that, yeah, absolutely," she says, with a laugh. "You know, know wrong is wrong and sometimes you gotta make it right, even if it's in the wrong way."
Garcelle also makes Housewives history as the first black woman in the Beverly Hills franchise.
"It's so funny that it's such a big deal," she admits. "There are not just white people living in Beverly Hills. So, the fact that it's me, I'm thrilled. I'm excited. I think I bring my flavor to the show, and I think it's about time."