In an essay penned for Allure, the journalist and former RHONY star reflects on how social media and society's beauty standards left the women striving for a perfect appearance whenever on-camera. "In my first season of RHONY, I, along with most of the season five cast, did not get my makeup done professionally for each scene I filmed," Radziwill admitted.
At the time, the Housewives only got their hair and makeup done by pros for "confessionals and a few of the all-cast events," but halfway through season 6 (which just happened to be when the women all joined Instagram), that all changed.
Bravo Real Housewives of New York season 6 reunion
"It all started with a ruined blow-dry in the Berkshires: When Kristen [Taekman] splashed water on Ramona [Singer]’s fresh blowout, and Ramona went, well, berserk, we knew that a new standard of glam had arrived," Radziwill wrote. "I suppose, after all those years, it was difficult to watch yourself on a high-definition TV screen and not want to make improvements."
By the time she exited the Bravo series after season 10 in 2018, Radziwill said the Housewives' glam squads had become a regular part of their pre-filming ritual.
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"We were shown getting Botox injections to smooth our foreheads, chemical peels to tighten our skin, lasers to reduce ass fat. I was once filmed getting a Brazilian bikini wax — legs up! It seemed nothing was off-limits," she said, even revealing that producers were willing to pay for treatments if it could be filmed as "part of the story."
Now the star believes that "the culture of glam" on the Housewives franchise "isn't always so pretty," and specifically recalled the moment when frenemy Bethenny Frankel accused her of changing her values when she cut her hair short in season 10.
"Fourteen years into the Housewives phenomenon, we've seen haircuts get weaponized and fake lashes get normalized," Radziwill said.
When Radziwill stepped away from RHONY, PEOPLE learned that her ongoing feud with Frankel had influenced her choice, as indicated by the portion of her statement in which she said she was “thrilled to leave frenemies behind.”
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Radziwill ended her statement that announced her departure with sincerity and wit. “I have worked with amazing producers, made great friends, and I’m thrilled to leave frenemies behind,” she wrote. “I will remember this entire experience with delight, humor, and a veracious accuracy. Next.”