If you’re going to toss labels at Sai De Silva, at least make them designer.
“I’m definitely not a mean girl,” the Real Housewives of New York City star declares to ET. It’s a term her castmate, Jessel Taank, pulled out to describe Sai and fellow Housewife Erin Lichy‘s treatment of Jessel over the course of season 14.
“I think that there should not be any confusion to being honest,” Sai says. “I think when people hear honesty, it really does hurt their feelings at the end of the day, and it could come off in a way where I am being mean; but I’m definitely not a mean girl, not one bit. I’m just a very honest person. I’m a girl’s girl. She knows that at the end of the day.”
Fans have watched as Sai questioned Jessel’s authenticity over the past few weeks, their issues coming to a head at an awkward lunch, at which Sai once again found Jessel to be comparing “apples to oranges” when it came to finding similarities between their upbringings. Sai and Erin’s through-line complaint about their co-star is, Jessel aims to compete when it comes to life story trauma dumping. For every personal anecdote Sai’s shared — including her financial struggles growing up and coming to terms with her mother’s battle with alcoholism — Jessel’s had a similar one to share. Jessel, however, sees her sharing as a way to relate, not as one-upping.
All that said, Sai wouldn’t change a thing about how she operated with Jessel.
“I lived it, so what people are seeing is not necessarily all of what [we] know,” she offers as an explanation. “There’s a lot of things that weren’t said, that will probably never be said — not by me — so I mean, if they play out, they play out; but unfortunately, I’m not here to expose any of that.”
The women are currently experiencing the whiplash of watching themselves back on TV, where their lived experiences may not line up with the audience’s perception of those events. Or, even some of their own co-stars’ perceptions of them. Sai says the group — which also includes Brynn Whitfield, Ubah Hassah and Jenna Lyons — is doing its best not to let outside forces change how they feel about one another.
“We’re all good friends, I think some of us are closer than others,” she offers. “I think our audience also needs to realize we all just met each other. Let’s be honest.”
“It was interesting for me to come into a group of women that I really didn’t know very well, actually didn’t know at all, you know?” Sai adds. “Some of us knew of one another, but we never hung out. So imagine that, and then you put them in front of cameras for three and a half months and you’re, like, bond! Go! You know? So that’s hard in itself, but at the end of the day we were so dynamic together it genuinely did feel like I knew each and every one of them for a very long time.”
This sextet leads Bravo’s first-ever reboot of a Housewives franchise, with the network bringing in an all-new cast to revitalize a series that had hit a bit of a wall after 13 seasons with some semblance of the same ensemble. Part of that revitalization was making sure the new lineup featured a diverse group that better represented modern New York City, and not just the (very white) Upper West Side.
“When I was first approached, I said no,” Sai, who is Puerto Rican, confesses. “Absolutely not. It was, for me, more of a control thing, because I’m just so used to editing and controlling my own narrative versus having someone else control my narrative, which is very hard for someone who is a content creator. This is what I do for a living.”
Sai’s been running her business, Scout the City, since 2014, becoming an in-demand trendsetter in the relatively new business of influencing. Her longtime followers (she’s got 572,000 and counting on Instagram alone) were somewhat surprised to see her name confirmed on the cast list last year, seeing as Sai’s cultivated a very curated version of her life online — one that excludes her husband, David Craig. They’d shared very little about their relationship publicly before the show, and he only appears on her Instagram feed with his face obscured. He does, however, film for RHONY, face and all.
“Look, my husband on social media is really not anyone’s business,” Sai says. “Yes, he is on the show, but you only see him so much. I think putting him on my social is not what he wants. I don’t want it, he doesn’t want it, so who am I doing it for exactly, right? You do things that make you happy, genuinely, and that doesn’t make us happy, so why would I be doing it?”
“Me being a content creator is very much so a business and I run it as a business,” she adds. “I keep those things separately. I have two jobs: RHONY, content creator.”
Sai kept her two identities parallel, not letting her influencer work affect her burgeoning reality TV career and vice versa. The only change she’s noticed since joining the Bravo-verse is, there are a few more haters in her comments section. That’s just more engagement for her to tout to businesses looking to partner with her personal brand, though.
“I appreciate them,” she laughs. While she actively avoids reading those not-so-nice comments and steers clear of online gossip, she can’t avoid it when it’s thrown at her on camera. The season is building to a finale fight between Sai and Brynn, with Sai storming out of Brynn’s birthday party after Brynn brings up a to-be-revealed something Sai allegedly said on camera, that Sai is adamant she did not.
“I really don’t get too activated unless something is just really bothering me,” Sai teases. “Lies, lies really bother me. I think I kinda go over the deep end when I hear someone lying, or saying something very untrue. She was just acting in a way that was really, wasn’t appropriate. She said something that I asked her specifically not to say, and she did, and it just really kind of pissed me off.”
“It was not on camera,” she reiterates. “It was just a very small detail that you will all see.”
Brynn was Sai’s first friend in the circle, a title she temporarily revoked after, she says, she learned Brynn couldn’t be trusted with a secret. She says they’re “cool” now, but she’s not quite ready to call her a “best friend” again.
“It was very interesting,” Sai offers as an all-encompassing review of her first season. “It was definitely an interesting experience. I think my biggest takeaway is to just have no one tell me any secrets anymore. I just don’t want to know. I really don’t. Just keep your secrets to yourself. I don’t want to be a vessel for your secrets. Don’t tell me.”
Fans will see more developments play out at the just-taped reunion.
“The was a lot of emotions,” Sai previews. “It was a lot of sharing. It felt like a big therapy session, a therapy session I have never wanted before.”
“I was really vulnerable,” she adds. “I was very, very vulnerable; a lot of people were, some people were not. Some were remorseful, no one punched anyone in the face. That was nice. That was very sweet. There were some ‘Kumbaya’ moments, but a lot of things came out.”
As for what she’ll do differently in a second season, Sai says she’ll smile more when delivering harsh truths.
“I’m a New Yorker, I’m a bit brash, but I’m always honest,” she says. “The delivery could be just a little bit better.”
She’ll also be mindful of how often she complains about being hungry (or, as she puts it, “hangry”), a running joke at this point amongst the cast and viewers alike.
“Seeing myself hangry, and seeing myself hangry played out over and over and over again, I think got a little– it honestly was a little annoying to me,” she admits. “After a while, I was like, c’mon! I get it. We’re hungry. Can we pull something else? Anything else?”
She has control over what topics make air on her recently launched podcast, Harder Than We Thought. She co-hosts the Dear Media-backed show with her Los Angeles-based bestie, entertainment lawyer Angela Marie Rogers. While not a RHONY recap by any means, topics from the show do pop up in their conversations from time to time. The two just unpacked whether Sai bringing her own two-ply toilet paper on girls’ trips is a no-no.
“This is my platform, I have a place to speak about it, why not?” Sai says. “I wanted to open the conversation and say, am I wrong, right? And I think that’s what me and my co-host do; I kinda bounce off her, and I really want an honest opinion. Do you think it’s rude to bring your own two-ply toilet paper to someone’s house? Will you be offended?”
While she awaits word on coming back from season 15 — she wants to — Sai’s focusing on the pod, motherhood (she’s mom to two kids, London, 10, and Rio, 5) and plenty else on her plate.
“It is harder than I thought, it really is,” she says of the aptly named show. “I really would love to focus more on that. I would love to continue my journey in the fashion world and content creation. Let me get over that hump and then we can go from there.”
The Real Housewives of New York City airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo. Harder Than We Thought is available wherever you listen to podcasts, with new episodes debuting on Mondays. For more from Sai, follow her @ScoutTheCity.
#RHONYs #Sai #Silva #Rejects #Jessel #Taanks #Girl #Label