'Summer House's Danielle Olivera Breaks Down the Ciara Miller Wine Toss and What Comes Next (Exclusive)
By Brice Sander
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There's an anticipatory dread that comes along with reliving one's life on reality TV, and Summer House's Danielle Olivera is bracing for impact over the next few weeks. She's unclear about exactly when a wine-tossing altercation between herself and co-star Ciara Miller is set to air out on the beloved Bravo show. It's one of those moments that's part memory, and part, "Do I actually remember this, or have I just seen the clip played back so much that that's now my memory?"
"Me getting up out of my seat in retaliation, I definitely remember like the back of my hand... and then there was a moment where I was completely just black," Danielle remarks to ET over video chat, dialing in from her New York City apartment. Cameras captured the ordeal last summer while shooting the show; then, when the trailer for season 6 debuted in December, Danielle got to see it from a new perspective, literally. She didn't know exactly what transpired when Ciara unloaded the contents of a wine glass on her; then, the wine glass itself.
"I was hyperventilating afterward," Danielle recalls of the immediate aftermath of the incident. "I was very upset, and I had to be calmed down off-camera. Amanda [Batula] had to come out and see me just to make sure that I was OK, because I was very upset, but the in-between that has been captured and then played back in slow motion -- thanks to our Bravoholics -- that, I definitely did not recall."
"The next morning, I did have a big bruise on my chest, and I thought it was because Craig [Conover] had pulled me back," she continues. "So, I assumed that was it and then watching it back, I didn't know that the glass was thrown directly at my chest bone. And that was probably more of the reason why I had that bruise."
The drop of a midseason trailer earlier this month revealed even more to Danielle, including the fact that she fought back by throwing her own glass of wine... and picked up a lit candle.
"The glass, I threw down -- which I think is a more normal thing to do than straight across -- but nothing is normal, obviously, in this entire scenario," she says. "The lit candle was... something. It was very disappointing to see for myself because I was like, 'What did I think I was doing with that lit candle?'"
Fast-forward a few months to the summer -- enough time for both potential situation-ships to fizzle out -- and no one seemed to know quite where they stood. Lindsay staked claim on her longtime pal (noting it was her birthday weekend, after all), while Ciara made it known her feelings for Austen were resurfacing now that they were in the same space again. This leads to some passive-aggressive and confusing behavior, which viewers will see in the coming weeks.
"I definitely didn't understand why it was a girl-on-girl argument and fighting and viciousness, because everyone is single in the situation," Danielle notes. "Let's not forget, Lindsay's single. Austen's single. Ciara, you're single, too. Just because you wanted to stake your claim, does not mean you have ownership of that person. Everyone was free game at that point. So, why turn the house upside down over a guy who's clearly telling you guys different things? And Lindsay doesn't really even care all that much. I think it's a lot of Ciara feeling embarrassed and not wanting to be vulnerable in that embarrassment."
Danielle is not an Austen apologist, but is willing to defend him against the "f**kboy" label fans toss around.
"People have their moments and it's not great, but I do think under all of it, Austen is not, like, the worst person ever, as bad as people say or try to make him out to be," she says. "I think he's just a flirt and ... it's almost like, all right. Come on, Austen. Really? Come on. Like, after how many years of doing this, you didn't have the foresight to see that this was going to blow up? And he honestly didn't."
Danielle teases there's "more buildup" to unfold before the wine throw, but says it happened because she felt driven to a point where she "couldn't stay out of it."
"Just to put it into some context, we were having a nice -- what we thought was a nice -- Italian dinner," she explains. "Andrea [Denver] had prepared this whole thing. We had a moment where we were talking about, he had been homesick. He was talking about his family and Summer House really does become a family, at least to me and most of us, and so we had this really great, I thought, Kumbaya kind of moment at the table there. And then, Ciara goes on this monologue of sorts about how she feels about the whole Austen and Lindsay situation, and I felt for her at that moment, because Lindsay wasn't really giving her anything."
"You know when you just want someone to say something back? Anything?" she asks. "So, she just kept going in that moment. She didn't stop and then she started saying some not-so-great things and the rest of us stood there for a really long time. When I tell you it was a monologue."
"It was like, 'Is this-- are we still going?'" she says. "And then like, 'Are we still going to sit here through this while she's saying this s**t to Lindsay?' I mean, for better or for worse, Lindsay could have handled it a multitude of better ways or whatever, [but] I'm not going to sit next to someone who I view as a sister, and after 10 or so minutes just allow her to continue to take it."
Danielle says she interjected not to shut Ciara up or even defend her bestie, Lindsay, but just to change the subject because it was clear to her "we're not getting anywhere," especially as she claims Ciara's spiel dove deeper into "petty" territory.
"I don't think I even got more than a half of a sentence in -- and again, this is what I remember before it went down -- but my intentions weren't to clap back at Ciara, or try to make her stop," she reiterates.
According to Danielle, Ciara attempted to invoke "girl code" over the Austen situation, but that didn't add up to Danielle.
"You don't get the benefits of 'Girl Code' if you don't put in the time for a friendship for, like, any sort of actual bond only when it's convenient for you," she spouts. "Do you want to say, 'Oh, you should be acting a certain way because we're both females?' I don't know. I m just like, well, maybe you should have just hung out with us or tried to get to know us any better. And then I would feel for you, Ciara. I would, but I've tried with you and it, I just don't get anywhere. So, I don't care."
Danielle says no one really knew how deep Ciara was into Austen, outside of Paige DeSorbo. Winter House had yet to air when they shot Summer House. "Ciara kind of had one conversation and then didn't really open up to Lindsay about how she truly felt," she says. "She just wanted to get some insight into what was going on in Lindsay's head."
Danielle and Ciara walked away from the wine-stained weekend on OK terms, but not friendly terms.
"At the end of the day, whatever happens, the show must go on, even though I almost wanted to pack my bags and get the hell out of there because it was just ugly, and I hate getting to that point, but you have to keep going," Danielle shares. "Did it still bother me, and to this day still bothers me? One hundred percent. Those feelings have not gone away. She did give me an apology on camera, but if she really, truly cared about anything, she would've texted me. She would've DM'ed me. She would've called me. She would've done anything else."
"And then after watching the playback in regular speed -- and then in slow-motion -- how do you not have the common courtesy and decency to just reach out to someone and say, 'Hey, I didn't even know I did that. Again, I'm truly sorry?'" she continues. "Anything! Any sort of dialogue, any sort of conversation, I would have a lot more respect for her."
Danielle says she's put Ciara in an "acquaintance box" after filming season 6, with no plans to form a friendship.
"I mean, maybe she thinks that I am the worst person in the world and I should be apologizing to her, but from where I'm sitting, I don't think... no, I don't think so," she adds. "Listen, even after our 'pandemic house' for season 5, I really... Ciara wasn't someone that I wanted to put too much time in. I'd rather put her in the acquaintance bucket and not have high expectations just because I don't think we're compatible in that way, which is fine."
Danielle points to a moment from earlier this season with Ciara that really hurt her. During a house meeting to discuss what it's like to be a minority navigating the largely white space of the Hamptons, Ciara discussed being the first person of color to enter this group. Danielle, who is Puerto Rican, joined the show in season 2 -- three years before Ciara.
"I stayed quiet for a lot of reasons, because it wasn't my moment to have, but that hurt me so much that you didn't even consider me a person of color," she now shares. "We had a beautiful moment on the beach, season 5, about relating in the workplace, about how we're perceived, and then to have that moment where she didn't even consider me a person of color? That was just, I'm like, I feel like crap. I feel small."
"There was a lot of emotion there, and it wasn't my time to make it about me," she adds, noting she felt it important to make space in that conversation for Mya Allen to be heard, as it was her experience as a new roommate that sparked the conversation in the first place.
"I did text Mya afterward along like, 'Just so you know, I'm here for you forever, and I get it,'" she says. "It was just nice because after that, I really do feel like Mya felt at home. There was a whole guard that was down afterward, and it was just beautiful to see her just let that down and be even more of herself, which is the best."
Viewers applauded the way the Summer House crew handled the difficult discussion; it's lauded as one of the first conversations about race in a post-Black Lives Matter movement world to be handled properly on reality TV.
"Are we the smartest show on Bravo? I don't know, but there is a sense of just humanity, intelligence, and we get it," Danielle reflects. "We just get it, and we don't always have to make it about ourselves, and I think that was really important."
"I think that every single person that was sitting in that room went through the BLM movement and actually paid attention and actually did the work on ourselves, and to make sure that everyone around us knows that this is important to us," she says. "It was the culmination of an entire year of just learning, and getting it, and then being able to listen and take it and then say, 'OK, now this is how we prove that we can change things.'"
That powerful conversation came just before another emotional house meeting, though with different stakes: Amanda and Kyle Cooke's impending marriage. After Kyle confided in Danielle his feelings about the state of their relationship (in a moment of frustration, he claimed the two only had their work -- the alcohol brand Loverboy -- in common), Danielle felt it necessary to loop Amanda into the conversation... by way of Paige and Ciara.
"I didn't know what to do because Amanda is my friend, but I don't know how to bring the bad stuff to her," she explains of her decision to share what Kyle confided in her. "She's not like a Lindsay to me, where I know exactly how to approach that situation and how to talk to her."
"[Paige and Ciara] know her best," she points out. "So they would know what to do, and if they said, 'We don't want to tell Amanda, let's just leave it,' then I would've been OK with that, as well. I just feel like I was in a lose-lose-lose situation."
Danielle says she tried to put herself in Amanda's shoes, and realized that if her boyfriend, Robert Sieber, was venting in the same way as Kyle, she would want to know about it.
"Show or no show, marriage is forever," Danielle notes. "I wouldn't live with myself if I didn't say anything and they just ended up miserable. I think their happiness is more important than the TV show. And I wanted them to figure it out and be happy when they walked down the aisle."
Kyle and Amanda ultimately made it to "I do," and looking back, Danielle believes forcing them to confront their issues (at least in part) got them there. As for her own love life, Danielle and Robert are happy their toughest onscreen moments have already played out in the early episodes of season 6.
"The first two episodes, we were so anxious because it was worse than what was aired, to be very honest," she confesses. "We were not seeing each other at all. Like, not communicating very well. He had so much going on in his mind because of work. And I was like the same way, starting a new business. We're both going through so much change and transition and being in a relationship isn't something that we're used to, because he was single for a really long time before meeting me and same here. So it was one of those things where we just had to take a moment and really look at what's going on. And he's like, 'I'm unhappy with work.' And I was like, 'I'm stressed as hell at work!' And it was like, we're just both going through it right now."
Soon after, Robert quit his job working at a new Manhattan eatery and returned to working for a restaurant firm that places him in the Hamptons during the summer, and Aspen, Colorado, in the winter. With his hectic schedule and Danielle surviving "start-up life," they're taking things day by day.
"We know we want to be together forever, I'm just not in a rush," she says. "I'm not ready to plan a wedding, I'm not ready to have a real baby. I'm so happy with where we are right now. And I think that our careers... I'd rather focus on [my app], get a house, save up some money, and then do all the 'real' adult stuff."
That app is a fashion-tech service that'll help users gut-check their outfits and, essentially, have a personal stylist in their pocket. Think Cher's closet from Clueless, but "on steroids."
"There's been a lot of technological advances since Clueless," Danielle laughs. "There's going to be a lot of great machine learning, which means taking what you do and how you present yourself through the world, and being able to train a computer to learn it, just like your best friend does."
"Sometimes I'll be like, 'Lindsay, your outfit is going to three different places,' but that's Lindsay!" she continues. "I could walk into any store and pick something out for her. I could put together an outfit that she'd love, because she's my best friend and I just know her style. I want our app to be able to identify your style and get you dressed just as well as your best friend."
Danielle's leaned on Kyle's expertise in the entrepreneurial arena as she's built up her business, bringing the two closer together than ever before.
"I'm a little bit more on the technological world than I am in the business world -- even though I can do both -- but he has been through it before, he's raised money before, he's gone out to people to talk," she says. "It's so great to have someone like him in my corner, that I could bounce an idea off of."
Of course, she's also got Lindsay in her corner, but Danielle did have to take a bit of a step back from that friendship when her publicist pal and their mutual BFF, Carl Radke, opted to give romance a second shot. Known as the "Three Amigos," Danielle let Lindsay and Carl try out being a party of two as to not complicate the already complicated dynamic any further.
"It's gotten a lot easier," she admits, now that Carl and Lindsay have been official for the better part of the last year. "The reality was unexpected to me, and how fast they were going, was just a lot for me to take in. I couldn't do my normal best friend behavior with Lindsay, and get all of the information about the guy that she's dating, because Carl is just too close to home. He's family now. And so, I didn't want to be in the middle of that. I didn't want to have an opinion on it."
With the majority of the cast coupled up (with people from their cast -- or at least the extended Bravo universe), Danielle's just as curious as the viewers to see what the future looks like for the Summer House gang.
"I don't know, maybe they'll give me the boot," she offers, self-deprecatingly. "I don't know. From where I am in my relationship, I don't have Robert all the time during the summer. The summer is still the same as it's always been. It's my time to unwind, let my hair down, blow off some steam ... so I don't know. For me, it could stay the same. It's still a show about friends in a house and how we get through life together. It'll get a little bit more full."