Real Housewives of New York’s Sonja Morgan was on her way to the airport for a trip to Paris when I talked to her on the phone two weeks ago in this exclusive interview. She was friendly and talkative as she answered questions about the production of Bravo’s hit show and updated us on what’s going on in her life and how she spends her time off-camera.
You may be surprised to learn that she does not associate much with her co-stars while not filming. The reason? “I want to pick up where I left off on story lines, so I don’t want anything to develop off-camera that the viewers don’t see,” ” says the Manhattan socialite. “And honestly, I’m exhausted with these women, so I don’t want to spend any time with them off-camera,” she says with a laugh. “I have to see them for 4 or 5 months a year when I’m filming. I don’t think they take any offense to that because I don’t think they really want to see me much off-camera when we’re not filming because it’s tiring. You want to spend time with your family and friends and people that you neglect when you’re not filming.”
Surprisingly, this includes her co-star and close friend, Ramona Singer, because according to Sonja, both women are really busy during the off-season. “I’m really close with Ramona when we’re filming,” says Sonja, “but when we’re not filming she’s off on trips with her husband, she’s with her daughter, I’m with my daughter…”
Sonja has spent much of her time traveling during this extended off-season. “I’ve been away, I took my daughter to Switzerland, then we went to Thailand, I’m going to Paris right now for business then to St. Tropez to ready my house for summer. It rents for 90K in the July, more in August,” she says.
During filming-season, Sonja says that they film anywhere from twice a week to ten times a week, depending on what it going on in the women’s lives, except during the vacation episodes (such as St. Barthes on Season 5) where they film 24/7, except when the women are sleeping.
Sonja also revealed that she hates watching herself on TV. “I can’t stand it, I hate seeing myself on TV,” she confessed. “I’m very critical of myself.”
As a result, Sonja says she does not watch the show until the last minute and only because she is required to do so because she has to write in her blog every week.
So why do the show then? “I enjoy sharing my knowledge with people and helping other people. It’s not just my charity work, which I’ve always been doing….I really enjoy sharing my experience with people, from young to old.”
So how did she get on the show? Sonja says she was originally approached by producers before the first season of the show, which was originally supposed to be called Manhattan Moms. “I turned it down,” she says, “I was chicken and I didn’t know what to expect. But then after I saw the show came on, it was called Real Housewives [of New York City], I saw well the ladies were doing and how beautiful they were and how well the children were doing and I said, I’m not getting a divorce settlement, even with a judgement in Connecticut and I have this house I need to maintain and take care of my daughter, I’m gonna call them up and see if they still want me.”
Fortunately for Sonja, they did, and producers came the next day.
Sonja also reveals that she still has her Upper East side townhouse and her home in France and is anxious to sell her Telluride home that she co-owns with her ex-husband, John Adams Morgan, who she says she does not speak to except to discuss their daughter.
She would not say when Season 6 is scheduled to start filming or why they had not started filming yet, but according to an article in USA Today, RHONY was originally scheduled to start filming last Wednesday (although that obviously did not happen since Sonja was headed to Paris on Tuesday night). Instead, rumor has it all six cast members (Ramona Singer, LuAnn DeLessips, Aviva Drescher, Carol Radziwell and Heather Thompson) were boycotting filming because they were not happy with their salaries, but that has since been resolved and filming is scheduled to start very soon.