Mya Allen reflects on her 'Summer House' experience so far with ET, from that heartfelt house meeting to the drama still to unravel.
When Mya Allen signed herself up for Summer House, she had no plans to deliver one of the most powerful reality TV moments in recent years. Even when it happened, the Bravo newbie had no idea it would hit the audience like it did.
"I was terrified. I was for sure, this is going to be the moment that I'm essentially canceled before I even made it," Mya confesses to ET over video chat, reflecting on the house meeting she and Ciara Miller called in order to discuss with their housemates the realities of navigating this space -- the Hamptons and (maybe subconsciously) a reality TV show -- dominated by white people.
"I thought that there was going to be a lot of, 'She's pulling the race card...' or, 'She's an angry Black [woman]...' again, fighting all of the stereotypes that I'm already fighting on a daily basis," Mya continues. "I was worried that's how it was going to reflect, and that's how it'd be seen. And people have been so receptive. I don't enter conversations like that to be aggressive or to fight with people. It's really all about awareness and knowledge and the fact that's received and that people can say, 'Hey, I actually learned something...' or, 'I saw myself in that conversation,' 'I feel like I have a better understanding of the experience of a person of color in America, or in predominantly white spaces...' That's cool."
"I didn't plan on being the voice for my people, but in some way I am, and that's a lot," she adds. "It's heavy, but it's also really cool."
The conversation came out of an emotional breaking point for the culinary entrepreneur, who kept running up against microaggressions from her co-stars. Whether it was Andrea Denver not thinking to bring her a coffee, or Paige DeSorbo confusing something Ciara -- the only other Black person in the house -- said with something Mya said, it was starting to feel like death by a thousand paper cuts. Ciara encouraged Mya to be honest with the group, leading to an incredibly well-handled and impactful conversation about race, between people from different races.
"It wasn't even for the viewers," Mya notes. "It was for us. It was for Ciara and Danielle [Olivera] and Alex [Wach], and building the relationships that we were building that summer."
"I thought it had to be said," she says. "It had to be known that these are the feelings and the emotions that I'm going through while being here and to be my friend, you have to understand that. So I think that's a conversation that everybody should be having. It shouldn't be scary. It's part of life. This is America. That's what we deal with. And hey, if you want to be my friend, if you want to keep drinking tequila and taking shots, just know that maybe, sometimes, people think that I'm working here to clean the house and just check on me and that's it. That's it."
Mya says she saw an immediate shift in her housemates after the tear-filled meeting, which ended in a group hug.
"That was a Sunday, so that was the end of our weekend, and every single person reached out to me that evening when I was home with the dogs, resetting my life for the week," she shares. "And that in itself was powerful. The fact that they took the time, they marinated, and they processed everything that happened and still said, 'Hey, thank you, but also, I want to make sure you're OK and I'm going to do what I can to make sure you're OK. You're valued. We are going to come together and do this.' And in my mind we only became closer because of that. And I think people will see that the rest of the season."
"Microaggressions, especially in our house, I don't believe are ever intentional or ever malicious, but to know about them gives you the power to not try to trigger somebody," she explains. "And that's all I wanted. I wanted people to be aware of the systemic racism that does exist, and the systemic microaggressions that are here and how we can continue to fight them. And it doesn't have to be even in an aggressive way, but just let's combat that."
That discussion is just one of many emotional moments playing out on season 6 of the show. On the most recent episode, Mya, Ciara, Paige and Danielle sat down with Amanda Batula to discuss the state of her relationship with then-fiancé (now-husband) Kyle Cooke, after Kyle confessed to Danielle that the only thing the couple had in common was their business.
"I, truthfully, did not feel like I should have been involved in that conversation," Mya admits. "I don't, or I didn't, know Amanda and Kyle well enough to that point, but ... I think ultimately it helped."
Mya brings a unique perspective to Kyle and Amanda's situation, having called off a five-year engagement just a few months before joining them at the Hamptons share house.
"I think you'll end up seeing that the fact that I have been through it helped Kyle and Amanda, because they have someone to actually... like, a point of reference there," she teases. "And that's all I could do. I didn't want to get into logistics of the dynamics of the relationship because I didn't know enough, but I knew that these are two people that aren't having the best time. And I wanted them both to be having the best time and hopefully doing that together."
"What I said to Kyle was like, 'You guys are a team. That is your No. 1 teammate, so it's weird to hear you unloading about your teammate in that way, especially if she's not aware of that unloading,'" Mya recalls. "So it was just more about, like, 'Let's get on the same page. Let's unite this front. Let's run down the aisle together and let's make sure we're in a good, healthy space to do that.'"
Mya says opening up about the end of her engagement -- to Top Chef alum Kwame Onwuachi -- on TV has been therapeutic in a way.
"In a way now, I feel like I don't have to talk about it anymore," she says. "Now everybody knows. The cat's out of the bag. It is what it is, and I'm beyond that now. I am two years out of that at this rate, or almost two years, so I don't have to explain myself anymore is almost how it feels."
"It's so delicate and sensitive, and now us both being in the public eye in a way puts more pressure on it," she adds. "So I was nervous that it would not be received in a tasteful way, but I hope that it's understood that there's nothing but love there. It wasn't the right fit anymore."
Mya and Kwame are still close (she calls him her family), with the chef even helping his ex navigate notoriety.
"I called him before I even decided to do it and I asked him for advice," Mya reveals. "He's been a resource. I can't even explain that enough. I've called him so many times, especially now that the show has aired, as brands are reaching out and all these partners... life is different, and I haven't navigated this before, and he's someone I'm close to that has, and it's worth its weight in gold, honestly."
Mya and Kwame's split was still fresh when she started filming Summer House, but that didn't stop her co-stars from trying to shove her back in the dating pool. In real time, Mya says she's ready for that step; but looking back at last summer, she was unprepared.
"I was basically doing a rebirth and I'm coming into my own," she reflects. "I'm understanding what I want, what I value, and taking those giant leaps of faith while doing it for, national television to watch, that's scary. But I think it was the push I needed."
Fans started speculating that something might be going on between Mya and Luke Gulbranson after what appeared to be a flirty appearance together in the audience of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen a few weeks back, but Mya says people should not be reading into the fact that Luke draped his arm around her during the taping.
"It was Luke being Luke," she says. "I think Luke's a great guy. I enjoy Luke. I think that he has great qualities. His arm around me was not romantic, and that's where it starts and ends. I've heard the door's still open. And so I guess we'll just wait and see."
When Luke spoke with ET in January, he hinted that the door was cracked while filming, so viewers will have to stay tuned to see if anything sparked between the hockey coach/model and Mya. In the meantime, they can sit back and watch Austen Kroll's invasion of the house. The Southern Charm star pops in for a visit in this week's episode, which reignites the love triangle between him, Ciara and Lindsay Hubbard, which first exploded while the crew filmed Winter House.
"I've just never seen someone that chaotic in my life," Mya remarks of Austen. "I was like, 'We're giving this one person this much space to basically tear down everything we've built up this summer?' And then to meet him, I was like, 'This is the guy? This is who we're fighting about?' I don't even get it. Like what? What?! What? So, yeah, I'm cool if Austen never comes back to Summer House. And I think that the drama should be kept down South."
"Austen played the game -- and he's more than entitled to do that -- it just sucked to play the game," Mya says. "I'm not used to seeing guys play the game with the two women that live together, or that are in the same space -- maybe at the same party -- so that definitely gave it a different element. But I don't know. I can't even explain that guy. I want to, but I can't."
Mya teases that "the aftermath of the character that is Austen Kroll" winds up having "a long effect on the rest of" the summer. One of those aftershocks is a wine-toss fight between Ciara and Danielle, in which production had to intervene when things got too heated.
"I was in the splash zone," Mya notes. "I think that more and more you'll learn how clumsy and just the amount of bad luck I have with injuries and sickness. And I was, I think, the only one that was bleeding from the wine toss."
"I stepped in glass right after trying to exit the scene and I'm like, 'Why do I have a cut on my foot? I was just trying to eat some pasta!'" she shares. "So yeah, I was there. I was in the line of fire, unfortunately. I think the people that got it the worst that weren't actually involved were Carl [Radke] and myself, so that's something."
"We're now referring to that dinner as 'the red dinner,' a la Game of Thrones," she says. "If I had known I was attending a funeral, I would've worn black. I didn't know. No one told me."
While there's still plenty of drama to unfold, Mya also hopes the viewers are just as excited for the (arguably dysfunctional) fun.
"We had a really good summer," she declares. "I always joked like, 'Why can't we get through a meal? I don't understand. We have to fight every meal?!' And I hated that about us. But now I look back and I'm like, 'I want to go and fight with you guys at dinner.'"
"It's a toxic relationship," she jokes, "that I'm very much codependent upon. And, yeah, I'm working through that with my therapist, but for now I'm like, 'Come back to me, throw a wine at me. I'll take it.'"
With that said, Mya is seemingly game for a return to Summer House for season 7.
"I can't say with a hundred percent certainty, but yeah, I think I would," she replies when pressed on the subject. "I've grown to care about everybody in our house. ... Who gets the opportunity to spend every weekend with people that they actually like to hang out with? Does it need to all be put on camera? If that's what it takes then, yeah, I guess so!"
Summer House airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo.