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 RHOSLC’s Heather Gay Talks Monica Garcia, Reality Von Tease, Season 5

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For Bravo fans, 2024 didn’t begin until the bracing Jan. 2 season finale of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” which shocked us all into the new year, and made us remember we’re alive.  

In the episode, Heather Gay learns that freshman cast member Monica Garcia is, in fact, behind an anonymous troll account — called Reality Von Tease — that’s tormented her and the rest of the cast since March 2021. Gay gets confirmation about Garcia’s involvement during a cast trip in Bermuda, on the final day of filming the show’s fourth season — a twist that was promised in the opening moments of the Season 4 premiere. In a flashforward in the premiere’s cold open, Gay got a mysterious phone call, during which producers scrambled into her room, and we heard her saying, “How could she do this to us? I’m freaking the fuck out!” 

In the Jan. 2 finale, we were all freaking the fuck out, as viewers saw what followed that call, which became the stuff that memes are made of. In short order: Before the final dinner, Gay gathers the show’s other original cast members — Meredith Marks, Lisa Barlow and Whitney Rose — to tell them what she’s learned about Garcia, which horrifies them all. During the dinner, after staging fake bicker-fests, Gay sets her sights on Garcia, armed with information she’s gotten from her then-hair stylist Tenesha Luckett, who was a close friend of Garcia’s. 

In a scene that immediately entered “The Real Housewives” pantheon of all-time great moments, Gay then lays out her case against Garcia, saying she has “Receipts, proof, timeline, screenshots — fucking everything! — that prove that you are a fucking bully and a fucking troll.”  

Unmasked, Garcia attempts to deny it with the longest pregnant pause in “Housewives” history — “That’s not true … entirely” — before she then goes on to admit it’s “part true.” There are more accusations: Marks calls out Garcia for lying that she’d never visited Marks’ Park City boutique before she was on the show. And Barlow alleges that Garcia would repeatedly drive by their frenemy and former castmate Jen Shah’s house (which Garcia denies in the moment). The dinner ends with Gay kicking Garcia out of the house in Bermuda. 

From left: Monica Garcia, Andy Cohen, Heather Gay, Lisa Barlow.
Courtesy of Jocelyn Prescod/Bravo

Over three reunion episodes — the last of which concluded on Jan. 23 — Garcia was offered an opportunity to convince the women that she hadn’t meant them any harm, and that the Reality Von Tease account had existed only to target Shah, who is now serving time in federal prison for fraud. Yet despite Garcia’s promise at the end of the finale that she’d explain everything, and quipping that “Even Gossip Girl couldn’t stay Gossip Girl forever,” she was unable to account for what she’d done or why, and instead evoked “Mean Girls” icon Regina George with her own “Burn Book” that seemed to fall flat entirely. 

It appears that Garcia burned brightly, but burned out — as far as the upcoming fifth season of “Salt Lake City” goes. “Real Housewives” executive producer and reunion host Andy Cohen tells Variety, “I think that if Monica had come out and was able to sway even one of the women back on to her side, then it might be a different conversation right now,” he says. “But she didn’t do that.” 

Which is why Cohen — as well as Lisa Shannon, the SVP at Shed Media, which produces “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” and showrunner Lori Gordon — tell Variety that Garcia won’t be returning for Season 5.  

“The women just need a cooling off period, and I think it’s just too soon,” Gordon says in a breakdown of the events of the finale and Part 3 of the reunion for Variety’s Making a Scene. “They’ve articulated it. It’s too soon for them to reenter into a friendship — a trusting friendship. Not enough time has passed.” 

Shannon agrees. “We’re starting to film relatively soon, and I think that everyone needs a minute,” she says. (Production on Season 5 begins on Feb. 5.) 

The door isn’t entirely closed to Garcia, though: Gordon says, “Never say never,” while Shannon adds, “You never know.” 

Though she got caught, Garcia did hack the “Housewives” — she was a fan and a troll, yet managed to get herself cast on the show, since her anonymous account wasn’t traceable to her in the vetting. Shannon, Gordon and Cohen say production and Bravo had no idea she was behind Reality Von Tease, an account none of them had ever heard of — and that she never would have been cast if they had known.  

Garcia’s success is certainly remarkable — and, possibly, worrisome. During the reunion, viewers see video from outside Shah’s house that was shot by Garcia on multiple occasions, which Garcia claimed unconvincingly that law enforcement had asked her to do. Even more alarming are the videos that Reality Von Tease posted that the women accuse Garcia of obtaining from security cameras inside Shah’s house, along with Garcia’s admission that she’d had access to Shah’s home security cameras. 

Though Garcia certainly has her fans — who’ve correctly proclaimed on social media that she helped construct an incredible season of television, but don’t seem to understand why any of her behavior is wrong — it’s unclear what her next steps will be, especially after she failed to make a compelling argument for herself during the reunion. Cohen even tries to draw her out toward the end of the segment about Reality Von Tease, asking her whether she really doesn’t have more to say. “And she said, ‘No,’” Cohen says. “And actually, when I watch it now, I feel bad, because I think that that was her just kind of throwing in the towel. And I know that she left the reunion upset at herself.” (Garcia declined to comment through a Bravo representative.)

Courtesy of Bravo

For Gay, watching the finale — including narrative the episode’s time jumps, its score and its “Big Little Lies”-inspired cinematography — made her feel “honored to be a part of such a masterpiece.”  

“I felt lucky to have the crew and the editors and the production value and their intent to tell the story in such a wonderful way,” she says. 

And Garcia’s covetousness of “Housewives” status has taught Gay a valuable lesson. “Monica’s obsession with it shows how grateful we all are to have this opportunity to be Housewives, and it’s not something that any of us take for granted,” Gay says. “And I feel like Monica took it for granted. She took us for granted. She took our friendships for granted. She took the authenticity of the show for granted. And that, to me, is unforgivable.” 

In this extensive, exclusive interview, Gay delves into the reunion, and why it took her until now to tell the truth about how she’d gotten a black eye in Season 3. And she lays out the receipts, proof and timeline of what happened behind the scenes after the call she received in Bermuda. 


Going into the reunion taping, how were you feeling? 

I was really looking forward to hearing what Monica had to say, because the last thing I heard from her was in her confessional in the finale where she said there was a lot more to the story. And I was anxious to hear. 

And what were you the most nervous about? 

I was the most nervous that my “receipts, proof, timeline, and screenshots” had been wrong — that there was some explanation that would make all of this normal. I was scared that she was going to deny it, and find some way to explain it away, and I would be stuck dealing with that. It felt like there was more to come, and I was nervous. I’d already seen what I thought was her worst, but I wasn’t sure what Monica was capable of. And I wasn’t sure what to expect from her at the reunion. 

As you were sitting there, were you starting to get frustrated by how long it was taking to get to the Reality Von Tease of it all? 

It was going on and on and on, because we had put Reality Von Tease on the back burner. Really, everything that had happened with Monica up that point in the season in my perspective was null and void, because every word out of her mouth was a lie. It was a curated, cultivated persona that she had crafted after watching decades of “Housewives” shows, and tracking our every single move. So to wait for the Reality Von Tease of it all, I just felt numb, and it felt like wasted breath. To fight with her about any of that before we revealed that she was just an absolute wolf in sheep’s clothing and a troll among us, it just seemed like a moot point to me. I didn’t have any interest in finding out Monica’s perspective on things, because everything about her perspective was a lie. 

Courtesy of Jocelyn Prescod/Bravo

The moment when Monica takes out the Burn Book really didn’t land. How was that in the studio?  

I think the full taping was probably around nine or 10 hours, and we didn’t get to Reality Von Tease until about hour six, seven, possibly. Up to the point where Monica brought out the Burn Book, she had been denying everything, and yelling over everyone, and making sure that she just went to baseline insults. She never really addressed any of the actual issues. And then when she pulled out the Burn Book, it felt like she thought that was going to land like some iconic Housewife move, that she was going to be canonized for being so clever, for being the mean girl that had trolled us and kept a Burn Book of it. 

And it just showed me how stunted her personality was, and how dangerous that was to be amongst us. This was not a television show. This was our actual lives, and I have known these women for years. And for her to come in and think that she can hack all of our issues, attack all of our vulnerabilities, and then craft a book and be heralded as some sort of Housewife queen, it just said everything I needed to know about her, about her intentions, and about the persona that she was trying to project onto the world. I don’t believe one word that comes out of her mouth, not one word. Everything is strategic. 

She’d had months to figure out what to say at the reunion and how to present herself, but in the end she didn’t offer much of a defense. What do you make of that? 

I kept waiting for Monica to tell her side and to have a defense and to explain why she did this. And even if she had just said, “I was obsessed with ‘Housewives’ since I was a little girl, and it was all I ever wanted” — she couldn’t even say that. She couldn’t own one part of her role in it. And after having months to think about it and having time to reflect and to feel sorry or to feel remorse, it was clear that she thought it was all still part of some big game and that all she had to do was show up.  

Monica couldn’t come up with a good excuse for her behavior because there absolutely was none.  

Did it feel gratifying to say all of the things that you wanted to say, and to show Andy Cohen — and the audience by proxy — what the bullying from Reality Von Tease had felt like? 

It definitely felt good to share how much the trolling and bullying had affected us, because I think a lot of people that become public figures would admit that it’s the worst part of the job. You’re subjected to just incessant observations and criticisms about your life and your physical appearance — all of the things. But it’s hard to communicate how damaging that can be when it’s from someone who’s on the same game board as you. And it felt good to finally have Andy sit on that stage and back all of us up, and to agree that it was abominable behavior — and to not congratulate her on being a mean girl. It felt like a righting of the ship. And it felt like we were supported by Andy on the stage. So that felt really satisfying to me personally. 

Can you give some examples of some of the hurtful things the account said about you? 

They were really just base insults, like calling me the T-slur, calling me Shrek, calling me “manatee,” making fun of my house, making fun of my outfits, making fun of my appearance, making fun of my friendships. It would track my every move. If I unfollowed someone, she would announce it. She just kept constant, relentless track of every aspect of our lives. And it wasn’t just the level of hurt from the insults, it was the relentless, obsessive pursuit to stay on our radar. She tagged us and mentioned us multiple times, every single day. 

She tracked everything about our lives. And then to meet us, and pretend that she’s meeting us for the first time — that she doesn’t know my kids’ names, she doesn’t know their ages, she doesn’t know what car I drive, she doesn’t know where I live, those were all lies. She’d been amongst us for that entire time and never revealed that she knew everything about us. It was really the constant deception and the relentless obsession. 

When you say “she,” you’re sure that Monica was the main person posting? Because she claims she was one of six. 

Yeah, it was Monica. I know that it was Monica posting, because the vernacular is Monica’s vernacular — as unique as a thumbprint. Monica’s voice is very strong, and you can read it in every single caption and every single post. And mind you, this is an account that has been radically scrubbed, because she has not only had months and months to think about how she’s going to explain herself at reunion, she had months and months to clean up this account. 

She had years to delete it once she was cast. She had months that she could have rectified it, taken it down — but she couldn’t, because it was her trophy, and she was proud of it. And she continued to tweet and taunt us while we were actively filming. I mean, no one can understand unless they were in it. The only women I knew that would understand what it was like were Meredith, Lisa, and Whitney, because they were the only women who were relentlessly pursued by Reality Von Tease in the same way. 

Courtesy of Jocelyn Prescod/Bravo

One very powerful moment in Part 3 of the reunion is when both you and Lisa turned to Andy, saying that you felt positive that production and Bravo had brought Monica on deliberately knowing she was a troll. What was it like to say that to Andy, and how do you feel about that now? 

That was an unanswered question that we had been thinking about over and over and over. And it felt really satisfying to have Andy look us in the eyes and tell us that they did not know, and that they never would’ve hired her had they known. And it was a testament to me that production really did care about us, because they listened to what I wanted to do in Bermuda. They let us confront her, and they let us effectively have a voice. And if they had brought her, they never would’ve allowed that. We never could have changed the trajectory of that trip, of that finale dinner had Monica had been a plant — because she would’ve been protected from it.  

Were you surprised by how much Monica had shut down by the end of the taping? 

We had seen her exhibit behavior like that several other times during filming. When things got heated or when she didn’t know what to say, she would just shut down completely, just kind of go blank. I thought that the reunion was really Monica’s time to shine and to tell us everything that she felt bad about — to apologize, to say, “Listen, I wanted to be friends with you guys. Sue me.” But she never, ever once said that. She just continued to hurl insults, and to consider herself better than everyone sitting at the table. 

So the black eye. Were you worried going into the reunion that you were going to have to tell the story? 

I was terrified going into reunion of how Andy was going to grill me, because I knew that this was something that had really been — no pun intended — a black eye on me, on the network, on production. It was something that had to be addressed, and I was anticipating having to be accountable and answer for a lot of my behavior. And that was, of course, terrifying. I didn’t want to answer to Zaddy Andy! But I don’t want to make light of it. I was really nervous going into the reunion, because no one wants to face their mistakes, and certainly not in a public arena. 

Did you know about the footage they had of you and Jen Shah talking the morning after you’d gotten the black eye? 

I was confident that they had footage of Jen and I having conversations, and I didn’t realize that that footage was so muffled that the burden was on me to come forward. I had hoped that Jen would come forward. I’d hoped the footage would be revelatory. I had hoped for everyone else in the room to answer it, and to sweep it away so that I didn’t have to face it! They had to specifically say, “Do you remember when Jen came in your room, and you discussed it?” And I said, “Yeah.” And they said, “Do you remember what you guys talked about?” And of course I did. And then they paired it with that specific footage. 

And the answer is that you said you were just so scared of Jen that you felt that you had to lie, and cover up for her. How did it feel to be able to directly address her when Andy gave you that opportunity? 

It felt like an exclamation point on all of the progress I’ve made in the past year and a half. I feel like I’m a completely different person now. I think that’s what enabled me to confront Monica. That’s what gave me the boundaries that forced me to say, “I’m not going to take this type of friendship in my life anymore.” And it really was a nice way for me to finally have a voice, because I was so dedicated to just being a good friend. Because it felt insurmountable, the things she was facing, and I was too deep in it for so long.  

And had she been on the reunion couch, I would’ve said the same thing. And that felt really good to me — that it wasn’t just that she was in prison. It wasn’t just that I was safe now. It was that I was a different person now, and I had boundaries now that I didn’t have before. 

In terms of Andy’s questioning of Monica, did you feel like he was speaking for you guys? 

Andy is a really diplomatic, wonderful host at reunions, and that’s something that when you’re on the downside, you appreciate — and when you want him to be cruel, he doesn’t deliver. So I think that he did a really good job of listening to her, giving her the benefit of the doubt and waiting for her to give a reasonable explanation for everything. I didn’t feel like he grilled her too much, but he grilled her just enough. And it felt like he was definitely on our side. 

You haven’t seen the edit, but was there anything that you walked out of the reunion and thought, I wish we’d talked about this thing — in terms of Monica or anything else? 
 
I felt really good about everything that had been discussed, but I felt a little disappointed that we didn’t address the actual deception of it all. It wasn’t just being insulted online. We get insulted online every day; we’re women with thick skin — we wouldn’t do this if we weren’t. But it was the fact that she pretended to be our friend and to meet us and to come in our homes, come in our businesses and really infiltrate and scheme to get on a television show. And she considered us just pawns in the game, and not actual women that are in her community that were trying to champion her. We really rallied around Monica. We could have let a lot of things that she did become big fights, or we could have hazed her — things that you do when there’s a new girl in the group, I guess. But none of that happened. 
 
We all embraced her, brought her to our businesses, brought her into our homes, had her hang out with our children. It just was uncomfortable to know that she had done that, and she never once felt uncomfortable and she never once felt guilty for taking advantage of us in that way. I took her shopping, I bought her a Loewe bag for her birthday. I did more for Monica than I do for my friends of 10 years, and I’m filled with deep regret about that. And I wish I’d been able to say to her, “You missed out on a village of women here. A village of women that would’ve supported you and got you through all of these trials that you’re having. But instead, you shit on all of us and you shit on this job and you shit on the legacy that is ‘Housewives.’” 

Meredith Marks, Heather Gay Monica Garcia, Whitney Rose.
Courtesy of Brett Colvin/Bravo

When did you learn that someone named Monica Garcia was joining the cast for Season 4? And what did you know about her, either from production or from knowing who she was already? 

You have to know that when we knew Monica as Jen’s assistant, she went by Wesley May. Jen called her Wesley May — we didn’t even know her name was Monica. So we had to make that connection months after meeting her. And we never discussed her relationship with Jen. We didn’t even really know the extent of her relationship with Jen until we watched the episodes and heard her confessionals. Jen was a taboo topic, and we just glossed over it. And had we dug deeper and sooner, Reality Von Tease might’ve been discovered earlier. 

You two got along, and bonded over being so-called “Bad Mormons” —  

“So-called ‘Bad Mormons!’” 

I’m just doing air quotes! You’re terrible Mormons. How did your relationship unfold? 

I liked Monica! She was a lot of fun. She was charming. She was witty. We had daughters. She was a single mom supposedly, making her way in the world. I wanted to champion her business. I wanted to help her get through this impending divorce, and I really enjoyed being around her. I thought she was a great addition. 

You said in the finale what led you to start suspecting that Monica was not who she said she was. But can you just lay it out now, beat by beat? 

A lot of Monica’s life didn’t add up. Monica said she was divorced, but she would text her husband every day. She’d send him sexy selfies. She would tell us what he was saying to her, and it felt like he was very much in her life. So that part I didn’t want to question, because I know every divorce is different, but I certainly wasn’t sending my husband sexy selfies when I was divorcing him. That was the first thing. There’s so many, Kate. 

OK, then when did you really suspect that Monica was Reality Von Tease? Was it before the Bermuda trip? 

No, I never suspected for a second that Monica was Reality Von Tease until Tenesha told me on the phone: “There’s something you need to know: Monica is Reality Von Tease.” It was that simple of a sentence. That’s all she had to say in the moment. My stomach dropped, and everything came into play. I realized it made sense how she knew so much in such different ways about all of our lives, and that she — I can’t explain it. It just was revelatory. It was like the mask was off. Nothing about her life made sense! She couldn’t make a car payment, but she had a Range Rover. She wanted to buy a Louis Vuitton, but she couldn’t pay her bills. 

When we discovered that she had multiple names in our Beauty Lab and Laser system, that was when I was totally shocked. Because Beauty Lab and Laser is a very customer-oriented company. We know our clients, we care about them. It is hard to come in and fool us, and everyone pays their bills at Beauty Lab. We don’t have a lot of grifters that come in, get thousands of dollars of injections, and then skip out on the bill. That is a huge offense to me personally, and it’s a huge offense to my business partner and to Beauty Lab and Laser. So when I discovered that that was her character, then all bets were off.  

And then she admitted on the beach that she was the type of person that would have a fake account and send fake DMs. Why would any normal person say that out loud, or even think that and claim it? And do a snap like it was cool? I just thought, who is this person? 

To be clear, did you have that conversation with Tenesha when you were in Bermuda? 

In Bermuda. 

OK. Let’s go through that last day of filming. What were you thinking when you woke up that morning? 

I was thinking, I am tired, I am exhausted. I want to go home. I had been in a horrible fight with Whitney the night before. I had barricaded myself in my room. I didn’t want to fight anymore. I didn’t want to drink anymore. I just wanted to go home. But I knew we had this beautiful finale dinner planned. I had had them pack all of the handkerchief dolls. I wanted to have this nice little button on our season, reflect back to our better days of churning butter and making dolls together, and end on a high note. 

You then went on a shopping trip into town on mopeds — and the reason I’m asking you about this is that you forgot your credit card at a perfume store, and Monica ends up paying. There are lots of fan theories about this: Did you actually forget your credit card, or were you testing Monica to see whether she would pay? 

I actually forgot my credit card. A lot of the times on these excursions, you don’t pack your wallet because you’re filming. I didn’t really think I’d actually want to buy anything, or actually get to spend money. And I was shocked that my wallet wasn’t in my purse, and I had a sinking feeling, which is why I immediately asked Angie. There was no way I was going to ask Monica for money. I knew at this point that she owed Beauty Lab money — I knew that she had skipped out on her bills, and I knew that her mom had to own the car in her name, not in Monica’s name. 

So I knew that financial security was not something that I could count on with Monica, and I didn’t want her to have to pay. That’s why I asked Angie specifically if she had brought her credit card. And we were in Bermuda in a small perfumery: We didn’t even think about Apple Pay or Google Pay. We didn’t want to burden the sweet shopkeepers. And Monica volunteered, but when her credit card was declined — I mean, it was very, very awkward, and I was highly, highly suspicious. 

But it went through eventually. 

A different credit card went through eventually. But it was — I mean, it was a process. 

Courtesy of Bravo

You come home from the trip, you get the phone call. Had you known you were still mic’d? 

We had had this big excursion, we’d been on mopeds, we’d traveled the whole island. All we had to do at that point was come home, shower and change, and get ready for the finale dinner. We had a long break, and I just hadn’t thought to wrap my mic up yet. And so, obviously production heard my phone call, and I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I wanted to kind of sit and have a think with it. I mean, I didn’t know what to do, honestly. I didn’t know what to do. 

What did the person say to you, since we can’t hear their side of it? 

Well, the hard part is it was a compilation of several different calls. But when I got upset and they came in, they said, “Monica’s Reality Von Tease, this is what she’s been doing. She’s been posting since March 2 of 2021,” or whatever the date was — I don’t know the date. 

Was the first post the leak of Jen Shah yelling at Koa, her clothing designer? 

Yeah. The first thing was the leaked footage of Koa. It was right before Jen got arrested. Jen got arrested three weeks after Reality Von Tease started posting. 

The person confirmed that Monica was Reality Von Tease, and that it checked out. And that I had fallen for it again; I had befriended someone who had no intention of being my friend. I have been in that situation before, and it did not end well, and I did not want to go down that road again.  

But I didn’t know what to do with it! Social media has never been a part of storyline. We are not encouraged to talk about what we see online. We try to keep it on the field. We try to just talk about what happens amongst us. 

I didn’t even know if production was going to listen to me. Our showrunner, Lori, came into my room, and sat with me and I told her. She didn’t really understand what that meant, but I explained that Meredith, Lisa and Whitney would know exactly what it meant, and they were the first ones I wanted to tell. And so she said, “Where do you want to tell them?” And I said, “Somewhere private.” So they set it up so that I would tell them on the beach, right before the dinner. 

Did you immediately ask Lori whether she’d known about this when Monica was cast? 

When I said to Lori, “Monica is Reality Von Tease,” she kind of looked at me blankly, because I don’t think she understood what that meant or what the significance of that was. The more I explained, the more she listened. And just the fact that she wanted to hear everything I had to say proved to me that she wasn’t anticipating that’s what I was going to say to her when I was upset. It seemed to me that it was the first time she was hearing it, and I was grateful that she took me seriously. 

In terms of planning what would happen next, did you say, “I want to have a meeting with the OG women on the beach”? 

Well, I said, “We’re not safe here with Monica. I have to confront Monica. I have to say this.” I don’t think she realized what a big deal it was. And I said, “I really want to tell the other women.” And she said, “OK, we’ll set it up so you can.”  

But I was scared! You have to understand, I knew that we were on the tail end of this trip. We had the finale dinner planned. We were supposed to just end on a high note. This has been the most fun season we’ve ever had filming together, and I wanted to just not rock the boat. 

I may have developed boundaries over the years, but I’m still a people pleaser at my core. I didn’t want to cause problems for production. I didn’t want to cause problems — even for Monica! I didn’t even know what to do. I just felt like I had this information, and it really was — what is it called? It really was a divided road for me. Do I want to swallow this information? That it’s all part of the job, and just swallow it and talk about it later? Or do I want to honor how I feel right now, and my personal boundaries and say, “Not today, and never again.”  

You really had a dilemma within yourself that maybe you just would forget this happened, and put it aside for now, since it was the last day of filming? Was that really a consideration? 

It was a consideration. I didn’t know if I’d be able to sit through the dinner and not blurt it out. Like, “Shut up! You’re a liar!” But I was so tired, and I was so ready to wrap the season that I considered it. If Lori Gordon hadn’t supported me in pursuing it, I probably would’ve just sat through it, and talked about it next season. I don’t know. I don’t know because in that moment, I just remember thinking, “What do I do?” And the fact that I hesitated indicated to me that I was torn. 

Courtesy of Bravo

Let’s talk about the beach scene. Were you planning how you wanted to present it to the other women? 

When Lisa approached me on the beach, I think she started crying before I even spoke, because she could feel the tension. I was sitting out there on that beach waiting for everyone to come down and meet me. And as I sat there, I was getting more and more worked up and more and more anxious, and filled with self-doubt. Like, what if I say, “Monica’s Reality Von Tease,” and they’re like, “So?”  

We had never discussed it amongst ourselves, the effect that Reality Von Tease had had on us. But I was banking on the fact that they would know exactly who it was, and they would have the same feeling I had. But you start to second-guess, and doubt yourself. 

I was scared that they wouldn’t have the same reaction I had. And I can’t tell you how bonding it was for us to just have that moment together as friends, and to all have the same experience and the same reaction. And for them, without question to say, “We have your back.” I mean, that has not happened in four years of me being friends with Lisa Barlow, for her without hesitation to just say, “I have your back.” And that was a moment that I will always hold dear.  

How much were you planning what you were going to say and how you were going to say it? 

Once I knew that I was going to be able to confront Monica at dinner, there wasn’t a minute that I was getting ready that I wasn’t rehearsing in my mind, “What am I going to say? How am I going to say this? What am I upset about?”  

I just was doubting that I would be able to have the courage to do it, that I’d have the right words, that I’d be able to say it the right way — and that she would admit it. So I just was going over kind of reassuring myself that I had the receipts, I had the proof. This was proven, this was confirmed. I didn’t need to doubt. I just needed to speak my truth, and draw a line in the sand. 

What was supposed to happen at that final dinner that then got replaced by what did happen? 

We were supposed to take Meredith down for sending fake DMs! I had Meredith’s doll in my bowl. Prior to the Reality Von Tease reveal of it all, I thought I had a lot of questions for Meredith. Because I really wanted her to stand up for herself with Monica and say, “I’m not lying, Monica is.” But she had not done that to that point. So I had her doll because I was going to force her to call Monica a liar. 
 
Because I knew in my heart that Meredith hadn’t done it. But her lack of resistance, her lack of denial was something that I wanted to get from that dinner. I wanted her to deny it openly at the dinner. So, that’s what was going to happen! I was going to talk to Whitney about the fight we had had the night before. We have issues amongst us as friends, and it would’ve been a great dinner. But we had bigger fish to fry, so to speak. And that was the Reality Von Tease of it all. 

Had you known, going into the dinner, that Meredith had looked at the security footage that revealed that Monica had been in her store years earlier, and lied about it? 

When we all met on the beach, we sat out there and talked for quite a while, and it was an opportunity for everyone to put their Monica doubts in the center of the table. And Meredith revealed to us that she believed that Monica had been in disguise on her security footage in her store prior. And Lisa said she had remembered hearing rumblings of Reality Von Tease doing drive-bys, and Jen’s former assistant doing drive-bys. 

But we had put those things aside in order to be a friend to Monica. Whitney mentioned things and concerns that she had had. When we all put our cards on the table, we realized that every single one of us had shelved our doubts and shelved the things that didn’t add up, in order to maintain a friendship with her.  

And that was something that all of us had done as well with Jen Shah. It was very familiar for us to see the red flags, to see the alarm bells, to know things for fact, and just to ignore them and push them aside, because it didn’t serve us to confront her because it was just going to be denial and outrage. 

Your speech has now gone megaviral. How did you come up with “receipts, proofs, timelines, screenshots”?  

Monica came up with the formula! I asked Monica, “How in the world did you craft this so that we all are doubting our friend of years, Meredith Marks — who doesn’t even drive, let alone DM people. And we’re now accusing her?” And so, when Monica said the formula was receipts, DMs, screenshots, that just hit me hard. It had nothing to do with the truth, it had nothing to do with her wanting to clear her name or Meredith’s. It was just, this is the game. And I thought, “Well, I’ve got all of that on you.”  

And it just, in that moment, it was just: “Receipts! Proof! Timeline! Screenshots! Fucking everything, to prove that you are a bully and a troll.”  

And she was. 

Did you go into the dinner knowing that you wanted to reveal that Jen had given you the black eye? 

It was a big part of it. Because when I spoke with my showrunner, Lori Gordon, I told her why I was so personally affected and upset about this betrayal by Monica. The Reality Von Tease of it was such a big deal to me — not because of being trolled on the internet, but rather letting someone into my life that was not my friend, that did not have my best intentions, and that was continually lying to my face, and I was falling for it. 

I was falling for Monica the same way I had fallen for Jen, and it did not end well. And I knew that if I wasn’t accountable to why it didn’t end well — and I didn’t finally speak the truth and say what I knew, and say what I experienced — then I had no business saying that’s why I didn’t want to be friends with Monica. 

Did you know that the dinner was going to end with you kicking Monica out of the house, or was that on the fly? 

That was on the fly. I wasn’t sure when we confronted Monica about being Reality Von Tease if she was going to put her head in her hands and cry and say, “I’m so glad the secret’s out. I’m so sorry. I was obsessed with you guys, and now I’m here. Will you please forgive me?” 

But as I sat there, she had this exact opposite reaction. She denied, she deflected, she attacked. She did all of the same tactics that we had seen time and again with her former boss. 

And so as I sat there, there were a few moments where I just sat there completely calm, watching the chaos that she was kind of creating in order to take away from the fact that we had just exposed her. And that’s when I was like, she can’t be here amongst us because she’s refusing to be accountable for what she’s done. 

I felt like the guy in “Green Mile,” when he opens his mouth, and the black flies fly out! I was channeling a lot of probably repressed anger and rage and resentment that has been building since birth. 

Do you know what happened to her after? 

We did not see her again, but production told us that she had been taken to a hotel and that she was on a separate flight home. 

What happened that night when the cameras went down? 

We stayed out there kind of crying and talking and replaying what had just happened. And then we went inside, and we gathered around the table and we kind of just cried and talked and shared what we had just experienced. 

It was a very, very tumultuous night. We all felt the power of it. We had been through a lot. And we all went up into Lisa’s room and we were on her bed, she was calling John, and we were trying to tell John what had happened vicariously. 

We were just overwhelmed with what we had been through, and we were united as a group. 

How many hours had the dinner been? 

I have no idea; it’s the Bermuda Triangle. There’s no sense of time or space. But it went long. 

The finale suggests, but doesn’t state, that it’s actually Monica-slash-Reality Von Tease who was behind the DMs that were coming into Meredith and to Monica about Angie — and that she was even behind the DMs in Season 3 with Lisa Barlow’s SEC filing. Do you think Monica was behind those DMs? 

I think Monica was behind all of the DMs. And now that there’s been a little bit of distance, because I too have had months to reflect on it, it makes zero sense that any random blogger would send Monica any DMs about any of us. Because her casting had not been announced, no one knew she was filming with us, and no one knew that she was even in our intimate circle.  

And that was the dead giveaway to me that Monica was planting them herself, and that she’d been doing it all along. 

So Lori and Lisa told us that Monica won’t be coming back for Season 5. They said “never say never,” but said you all need a “cooling off period” at the very least, and she also doesn’t have any connection to the group anymore. What’s your reaction to that? 

No one has confirmed to me whether Monica is going to be a part of Season 5 or not. But hearing that production and that Lori Gordon especially wants us to have a cooling off period, is really wise. Monica has no connection with any of us right now. And that’s all I can say for now. 

There’s no chance that Monica will be welcome back in my business, near my family, or near my friends. 

Courtesy of Bravo

This has been an incredible season of television. You’re a fan of the “Housewives,” as well as being on the “Housewives.” If you have any perspective whatsoever, what has the experience been like

Having the finale be such a big hit and be so far-reaching has been, obviously, thrilling. But for me, it’s a little bit mixed with some reckoning of sorts, and a lot of things that I had to face with my past and with my progress as a human being.  

I mean, Salt Lake City “Housewives” love when we break the internet, so it’s a thrill, of course. But I take it in stride, because I’ve learned what goes up must come down, and we’re only as good as our last season. So ask me again after Season 5. 

Jennifer Lawrence shouted the finale out, and said she’d give you guys her Oscar. Google now “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” as an Easter egg. What does that feel like? You’ve been memed a thousand times over. 

Kate, I am so grateful to not be memed with the black eye, that I welcome any meme! “Receipts, proof, timeline, screenshots” is much better than a black eye meme, so I’m absolutely here for it.  

And the biggest message of our season is that truth is stranger than fiction. We could not have crafted this. We could not have created this. We never would’ve walked into this had we known. And I’m just grateful that we were able to tell the story the way it happened. 

Can you tell us when you start filming again, and how you’re feeling going into a new season? 

We start filming Feb. 5, so just in a few short weeks we’ll be filming again. And I’m really looking forward to hanging out with my friends, to feeling that bond that we had in Bermuda, to revisiting it — and to, of course, drinking and fighting amongst them shortly thereafter. 

We’ll relish in the bond and in our good favor, and then we will immediately destroy it as we often do. 

This interview has been edited and condensed. 



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