Brynn Whitfield of RHONY Is Accepting Dick Pics
It’s impossible for a Real Housewife to get through her freshman season unscathed, but throughout the history of Bravo’s long-running franchise, some have certainly fared better than others. Take Brynn Whitfield, one of the six new women recruited for the reboot of Real Housewives of New York: though she did get into her fair share of petty tiffs (flirting with co-star Erin Lichy’s husband at their heavily-sponsored anniversary party; revealing supposedly secret details about Ubah Hassan’s boyfriend while cameras were rolling), Whitfield has managed to land comfortably on her feet, easily emerging as a fan-favorite of the newly-formed cast.
Perhaps this is owed to the successful PR consultant’s rare ability to cut through any perceived tension with a well-timed joke and a suggestive smirk. Whitfield knew when to get “real,” such as when she opened up about the abuse and neglect she dealt with as a child. But overall, the Housewife benefitted from her irreverence and playfulness. Despite her three failed engagements, the fun-loving 36-year-old showed herself to be the person you’d most want to be seated next to at a dinner party. (Just ask Jenna Lyons!) Fresh off watching the first part of the RHONY reunion, Whitfield hopped on the phone for an extensive conversation about expectations vs. reality, getting dick pics on Grindr, that whole Sai debacle, and Casa Cipriani.
MICHAEL CUBY: I’m so excited to talk with you today. Are we ready to start?
BRYNN WHITFIELD: Yeah. Obviously you watched part one of the reunion. What did you think? I’m still processing it. I watched it this morning.
CUBY: Then it’s really fresh on your brain. So how are you feeling?
WHITFIELD: I’m feeling good about it. Look, this whole thing is weird and maybe we’re all weirdos for doing it. Regardless of who you are or where you come from or how much you think you can hack the system, it’s a very hard thing to do. I have so much appreciation and respect for anyone who’s done anything remotely like this. Watching things back might be the weirdest thing you’ll ever experience.
WHITFIELD: Then to gather with your friends months later, get dressed up in fancy dresses and sit around and then rehash an argument from months prior, I mean, it’s almost out of body when you’re doing it.
CUBY: Were you a fan of Real Housewives of New York before the show? Or any other franchises?
WHITFIELD: Yes. I’ve always loved Beverly Hills and Atlanta. And I did watch RHONY, but I have to admit, I didn’t watch the last four seasons. I think the last RHONY season I watched was 10, but I watched one through four when it first aired.
CUBY: Was being a Housewife something that you wanted before being offered the opportunity?
WHITFIELD: Probably what everyone says is, “I never thought I would do this,” and “I’m not that kind of girl.” And I didn’t. What made me do it is, honestly, I feel like I’ve lived 19 lives, and in my mind I was like, “Oh, it makes sense, in the sense that it’s so random and so not what I expected for myself.” And when I found out who was going to be on it as well, I was like, “Okay, this has got to be different.”
CUBY: Different because it was a reboot?
WHITFIELD: I think it’s because it was like a full reboot. I was like, “What is this? This seems new and fun.” It felt like a startup. And sometimes, you’ve just got to jump. So that’s what I did.
CUBY: Knowing that you already had some familiarity with the universe of the Real Housewives, would you say that the experience matched your expectations?
WHITFIELD: There’s part of this that is exactly how one watching the show would imagine it — what it feels like to be at the reunion, what it feels like to give those confessionals, it’s spot on. But then, at the same time, it’s definitely a lot harder than I thought it would be. The first day of filming was a scene by myself and I was just going to my friend’s coffee shop place. They offered me a car service and I was like, “No, I walk to my coffee shop. What are you talking about?” So I’m walking around the corner and I see all these trucks and vans and I’m like, “Oh, this is so cool. They’re filming The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” And my producer’s like, “What? Those are ours.” I had no idea the sheer production element of it and the amount of people involved. It’s very surreal.
CUBY: Any Housewife fan knows that the connections between the housewives are tenuous at best when they start. Who would you say you grew closest to over the course of the season?
WHITFIELD: Jessel and Jenna.
CUBY: And who would you say surprised you, whether that’s good or bad?
CUBY: Was Sai the only person you would say that you really kind of “knew” beforehand?
WHITFIELD: I knew Jessel from the PR world. And I only knew of Jenna. Ubah, I would see out socially. Anything fabulous that I’d ever do, you’d see Ubah there. And then Erin, I didn’t know. Sai I knew through work because she was always in our influencer decks as a mommy blogger.
CUBY: On that score, when we think about the classic conventions of Real Housewives, this idea of jobs and what the women we’re watching do to support their lifestyles is a frequent throughline. We follow them throughout various ventures and get this inside peek into their work life. But with you, this season, we never really see too much about it, apart from this momentary conversation you were having over a meal where you talked about your work as a consultant. How did you feel about the fact that this part of your world didn’t end up in your storyline?
WHITFIELD: I can’t control the edit. We did film me working, but there’s nothing to show there. It’s not glamorous, sitting on a laptop, working on a deck, occasionally saying “fuck” to myself or sending an email or being on a Zoom call. But I’m a very proud consultant with two really amazing beauty PR firms here in New York. But look, people are going to say what they want to say. Honestly, I couldn’t really care less. Again, I have a very decorated, proud career and I know what I’m doing and people will speculate and say what they want to say. I guess they’ve never logged into LinkedIn. I can’t help them.
CUBY: Totally. This season, we frequently returned to your love life, both because you’re obviously a huge flirt—
WHITFIELD: Correction: massive. World’s largest, yes.
CUBY: I don’t know if you saw it, but in my corner of social media, after the episode where we meet your former fiancée Gideon, everyone seemed to be obsessed with him.
WHITFIELD: Yes, and it didn’t surprise me. That’s why I dated him and that’s why I’m still friends with him. He’s a Disney prince. Actually, when we broke up, Pandora [Vanderpump] was one of the many that said, “Hey, so if you make us pick in the breakup, we’re picking Gideon.” And I was like, “I don’t blame you.” He’s the best. A lot of my exes, they’re truly just amazing, incredible men. I pick them, I just don’t know how to keep them. Yet. I’m working on it though.
CUBY: Speaking of that, you were on Watch What Happens Live a few weeks ago with Tyler Cameron, and the two of you seemed to have great chemistry. Are you still in contact?
WHITFIELD: We are in contact, but it’s more platonic. He’s really great. I’m not doing long distance, [but] he’s super fun to flirt with. Truly, that guy in person is the hottest dude ever. He’s just a small town, genuinely nice guy stuck in an insanely hot dude’s body. But he lives in Florida. Maybe I can convince him to move to New York.
CUBY: You and Jenna sustained a very flirty rapport throughout the season, which was fun to watch play out for us as viewers. How much fun was it for both of you to play into this fantasy?
WHITFIELD: I’m extraordinarily playful. Jenna’s a little bit playful. She’ll bring the humor and the fun when someone brings it out of her. Once she gets going, she’s a good two-woman show. So I love poking fun. I flirt with everybody. I flirt with old people. I flirt with dogs. I’ll flirt with a brick wall. So people like Jenna, I love to make them blush. I mean, I honestly do think she’s super hot and smart and cool. She literally checks all my boxes. The older that I get, I just don’t care. I care about a lot of things. I care about kindness, I care about humor. I care about ambition. But I really don’t care if you’re a woman or a man. If you’re successful, hot, you have a house in the Hamptons and a classic car, fly headfirst into my DMs.
CUBY: I love that scene of the two of you at the gay bar where you help her get this woman’s number. In your life outside the show, would you say you’re the go-to wingwoman?
WHITFIELD: Always. Friends always use me for the beginning. “How do I get him to ask for my number? How do I attract him?” I’m not a good closer, obviously, because I’ve been engaged three times. But I can get you in the room. I love texting people’s significant others, or on Raya or on Grindr or something. I love taking on someone else’s voice and sending naughty texts. That’s my favorite pastime.
CUBY: You’ve sent messages for a gay friend on Grindr?
WHITFIELD: You know I had a Grindr profile? It was when I was in D.C. I would go out with all my gay boys and their phones would die. And then they would be like, “Let me use your phone.” So they would take my phone and have to download the app drunkenly, et cetera. Eventually, I was like, “Fine, this is too much of a pain in the ass. I’m going to just create a profile,” so they could just use mine. So I just decided to put my picture up because I was like, “I’m not going to be a weirdo and not show people who I am.” And I was like, “Hi, I’m Brynn. I’m a straight girl, but I’m here because I like dick.” And it was a hit. I would message dudes and be like, “Send dick pics!” I cleaned up. It just really stroked my ego and I got a ton of free dick pics.
CUBY: Congratulations to you!
WHITFIELD: Thank you. I think more chicks should go on Grinder. I had an amazing, five-star app experience with Grindr.
CUBY: Okay, a little pivot here. Obviously, this season ended with a huge fight between you, Sai, and Ubah. It was a very “Housewives” fight, in that it was largely about what should and should not be revealed on camera. So, set the record straight. When you were first told about Ubah’s relationship by Sai at this dinner with Erin, were you made aware that it was a secret?
WHITFIELD: I knew it was something. And it’s funny because I haven’t had an experience watching back the show where I was like, “Whoa, that’s crazy. That’s just a blatant lie.” But after filming sometimes, we would call each other and be like, “Oh my god, this happened or that happened.” I’m sure the producers hated that. But Sai had called me after her and Erin filmed that scene and she’s like, “Oh, I fucked up. I talked about Ubah’s boyfriend.” I was like, “Oh, that sucks.” It was more like, look, it was a small comment and it was an awkward conversation and maybe they won’t include it. Because you could also kind of take solace when filming in [the fact that] there’s only a certain amount of time [in each episode]. The odds are actually kind of in your favor for stuff not being included. So this hadn’t been a “storyline” to date, and [Sai] didn’t tell me to keep it a secret, and she didn’t say not to say it on camera. She just shared that. And then she’s like, “Oh, I know about the guy. He’s in Connecticut.” And I was like, “How do you know?” And she’s like, “Ubah sent me a picture.” And Sai had opened up the photo, checked out the geotag, and found it was Connecticut. And I was like, “Oh, that makes sense, because who in New York has an indoor pool? That’s unheard of. It would be someone in Connecticut.” That was it. Then two days later, when we filmed my birthday scene, I was just like, “Hey, Ubah, I heard you got a guy in Connecticut,” because Ubah and I had talked about exes on camera. I thought she was going to respond with, “The grass is always greener, baby,” or something cheeky. I had no idea that this was a thing and that she didn’t want a state mentioned, or an acronym.
CUBY: That whole thing blew up to the point where you and Sai were not communicating at all. Yet when you were at the reunion, she immediately seemed ready to take full accountability. How shocked were you about that?
WHITFIELD: I was blown away. I thought she was just going to keep sticking to this whole story and narrative that she’s campaigned so hard for in the press. I didn’t talk about Sai in one interview since we stopped filming. But in every interview, whether she was prompted or unsolicited, she would say, “Brynn can’t be trusted. Brynn really fucked up. Brynn broke the circle of trust.” Mind you, after that whole incident, the next day I texted Ubah and Sai. I said, “I’m so sorry. I had no idea. Please forgive me. I’m not blaming alcohol.” And Sai was just like, “Fuck you, Brynn. I can’t believe you did that to Ubah.” So the apology is appreciated, but it didn’t feel that authentic. It just felt like she was saying it because this is probably the right thing to do, since the episode aired and everyone online was giving her shit. I accept it and I appreciate it, because it does take somewhat of a person to be able to do that. But I’m like, “Eh.” People kind of show you how they are.
CUBY: Throughout the season, we have been made aware of your love for Casa Cipriani. If you were trying to convince someone to get a membership, what perks would you highlight?
WHITFIELD: I know the membership director there. Here’s the thing. The building that it’s in, the architecture is absolutely beautiful. The views are amazing. Something about it feels very sexy, very New York. You see the Statue of Liberty, you see all of Brooklyn. There’s a helipad right there, which is also very sexy. I feel like I’m on the fucking upper level deck of the Titanic. For not being a member, I probably go there too much.
CUBY: Your hair has been a sixth character in the show. A lot of people are obsessed with it. And one of my friends made me swear that I would ask you how often you go in for blowouts.
WHITFIELD: Every week. I haven’t washed my own hair in probably 10 years. Literally, the first thing I did when we started doing social distancing and opening up was go to a hair salon. My hair is full of secrets. But what’s really nice about that is the amount of people that reached out to me to say how much it resonated. I wish everyone in the world would get to experience this at least once, to have something that you were made to feel insecure about, whether it be from your schoolmates or even your own family, that you then feel so proud of and to see people being happy about it. It’s a crazy ass feeling and it makes whatever the hell this crazy thing is worthwhile. I don’t know if I’m into all this stuff, fame or whatever. But that feeling of having something you were once embarrassed by or shamed by, to have it be embraced, that is addicting.
CUBY: That’s such a nice segue to my next question. Next week is the second part of the reunion and, after that, your first season will have come to a close. What would you rate this entire experience?
WHITFIELD: I feel like an asshole saying this, but 10 out of 10. I’ve had fun. The casting process was so easy. I just had three Zoom interviews and got a little tipsy beforehand, and then they were like, “You got the job.” Who gets to show up a little tipsy at the job interview and land the role? I have never felt so safe, so protected, so catered to—maybe too much. Sometimes I think this is a dream. It makes me very worried for season two. I’m like, “Oh fuck, I’m on the top of Mount Everest and Death Valley’s got to be around the corner.” But whatever, I’ll roll down the hill with the rest of them.