Marysol Patton isn't your stereotypical housewife -- she runs the Patton Group, one of the premiere PR firms in Miami — and yet, she's a Housewife. Patton is one of a handful of "Real Housewives of Miami" cast members, along with Adriana De Moura Sidi and Lea Black, who continued on the show for a second season -- and it's a decision she could have regretted. The first season spotlighted, among other things, Patton's relationship with Philippe Pautesta-Herder, whom she married in a romantic snowy outdoor ceremony.
As the second season got underway, though, Patton revealed that she'd separated from her husband. Going through relationship negotiations on-camera, integrating new Housewives like Karent Sierra and Ana Quincoces, and still trying to get some work done could have turned into a nightmare — even with Patton's mother, Mama Elsa, standing by with second-sight wisdom.
But when Yahoo! TV spoke to Patton last week, she seemed upbeat about all the changes. For more about Patton's audition process, the ups and downs of ending a relationship during filming, and the unexpected kindness of strangers, read on.
Do you have people coming up to you and talking about things that just aired, and you feel like it's ages ago? How do you feel about that time lag — is that kind of strange?
No, I understand it. I haven't had too much on there; usually people are coming up to me to say, "Oh, your mother was so funny, that she did that." They don't really talk to me about all the other drama everybody else had. I think they probably talk to the girls about their drama; I usually get stopped about my mom's funny things.
Do you watch the shows as they air?
I haven't been able to because actually the last four weeks, I've been working every Thursday night, 'cause I do events and PR so I've got to work every night. And I'm working again tonight so I won't be able to watch it. But once I get home around midnight, I catch the rerun.
During filming, was the second season any different, or any easier, in terms of knowing what to expect — what they were probably going show, or protecting certain parts of your life?
It was completely different, because the first time around we were more protected, and this time around everything is out there.
And it began as Miami Social [a show about a group of friends in Miami], and then it sort of morphed into Housewives?
Well, no, we didn't have a name. I got a call at my office for recommendations of, you know, women in business and philanthropy who might be interested in doing the show — a high-end show about the elegant women in Miami, blah blah blah. I gave them a few names, and I thought, you know…it wouldn't be bad for business if I got women in business and philanthropy…maybe I'll try out.
In my job, never ever did I have any kind of, you know, speaking on camera, acting, [that] had never been anything that ever crossed my mind that I would do. And I saw a lot of girls I knew going in and out of the casting for it, and I thought, "Oh, they're never gonna pick me, I don't live in a big mansion, and they're so gorgeous," and I just kept getting calls: "Oh, we're down to fifteen; we're down to twelve," and "Oh, you were picked," and I thought, "Oh, okay!"
And then it didn't seem real to me until one day, they said, "We're coming to your office for a meeting with you," and I walked in my boardroom, and all twelve seats were full of people with laptops. I started panicking; I thought, "Oh my God, what have I gotten myself into, this is unreal." And then we started filming, and shortly after, my mom showed up in a scene I was filming, and the producers [said], "Oh, your mom is fabulous, can we film with her some more." Then she just was in all my scenes.
And now it's this train that's kept moving, and then, like, "Oh, we're doin' it again," and I [thought] it would be like it was last time, but this time it was very very professional — I mean, this is not a game, this is serious stuff.
Do you think that being in PR, being familiar with…I don't know how to put it. "Entertainment presentation," for lack of a better word. Do you think that that helps you mentally, or psychologically?
I guess in a way. I have good contacts, and it's also helped open a lot of other doors for me for my clients, because I can pick up the phone to most press people that maybe I didn't work with before, and they'll take my call and they'll want to work with me because now I'm on a television show.
Do you think it prepared you any psychologically for what this would be like — or can anything?
[laughs] Nothing can prepare you for the unknown and the unexpected. Nothing can. I think for me, I'm probably not as affected as some of the other girls [who] have never really done this kind of thing, and I think because I've worked with a lot of celebrities, a lot of red carpet, walked a red carpet, I had a lot of celebrity friends growing up — to me, I'm not affected by the photos and all of that, as much as others, so I think probably it's helped me to probably stay more grounded than someone that it's all new to.
Unfortunately you knew also that you'd have to be dealing with the end of your marriage, on camera to a certain extent. How did you prepare yourself for that? Was there any way to sort of — gird your loins?
It was happening as we were filming, so there was no way to prepare myself. Every day was a roller-coaster — one day, I'd have a great day, and speak to my husband, and we'd say, "Oh, I love you so much, maybe this isn't a good idea," and then the next week we were fighting, and "this is what we need to do," and so I was going through all of those ups and downs and emotions as we were filming, and we weren't sure what we were going to do. We weren't living together, and we were trying to see if getting back together or separating was the right thing, and I go through all those emotions.
Right. And how about knowing it was going come on the air?
I really didn't know what was going to play out, because we truly thought, "Maybe we'll give it another shot." I didn't know what was going happen on camera, because I didn't know each week from week to week whether we'd be fighting or getting along — what we would decide to do. It truly, truly played out as it was happening.
Can you talk a little bit about how the overall vibe of the show might have changed from the first season? More subplots, more drama?
I'm watching what everybody else is watching, because obviously I'm not privy to what the other girls are filming when I'm not there, so, I'm watching it when everybody else is watching it. I think the new girls bring a lot of fun, they're young — [first-season castmembers] Cristy [Rice] and Larsa [Pippen] were young girls too, and they have beautiful homes. …The new girls just have a different energy. They're more vibrant, they're more — I felt like [the first-season] girls were a little more sour, and these girls are a little more fun, and a little more out there, and open, and not as guarded.
You hear a lot about the negatives of doing a show like this, constant cameras and tabloids and whatnot. Have you found any unexpected positives in the experience so far?
Yes! Yes, yes, I have, I have. It's really nice when people write you — complete strangers — through social media, they're like, "Oh, I love you, I love your mom." We all live such hectic, hard lives; everybody's working hard, and we all have problems, and it's just such a nice little light at the end of the tunnel when a complete stranger just has nothing but kind words to say to you. That's part of all of it. And you think to yourself, "Wow, I'm not doing anything. I'm just kind of here, talking to my mom, being myself," and someone thinks that's great, you know? How beautiful.
Real Housewives of Miami airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on Bravo. Watch Mama Elsa use her seer powers at a first-season dinner party right here.