Meet Noella Bergener: 5 things to know about RHOC’s first Black housewife

Bergener identifies as liberal and plans on using her platform to support Black businesses

The Real Housewives of Orange County is officially back, and the exciting premiere featured the brand new housewife, Noella Bergener, who is the first official Black housewife on the series after 16 years.

Premiering back in 2006, The Real Housewives of Orange County was the first-ever iteration of the now popular “Real Housewives” franchise. The series has since spawned numerous successful spin-offs including The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Potomac, New York, and various others. As the franchise has progressed, each city has become more diverse, with major additions like Garcelle Beauvais on Beverly Hills and Eboni K. Williams on New York marking landmark moments in each respective series.

In the latest season of Orange County, Bergener joins as the first Black housewife on the series. By the looks of the premiere, she will have plenty to offer in the popular reality show.

Noella Bergener
(Credit: Bravo/Instagram)

She was friends with an ex-housewife first

Typically, new cast members are introduced to the series through existing Real Housewives, with many shows highlighting previously established friendships that lead to authentic drama. Fans may remember that Bergener was actually a guest on season 15 of RHOC, through ex-Real Housewife Braunwyn Windham-Burke. While Windham-Burke did not return for season 16, Bergener was given “an orange” and is letting the world into her life.

In the first episode, Bergener hinted at a fallout between her and Windham-Burke. She shared in a confessional, “I am the best friend that you could ever have, I am a bad b—- to the freaking end. But, I also have some bodies buried of ex-friends,” before a photo of the two flashed in front of the screen.

A new kind of Orange County wife

A biracial housewife, Bergener quipped in the premiere, “literally and figuratively I feel like the Black sheep.” She continued to share she was a “welfare baby” before her mom built a law practice, saying, “I kind of got to see both sides as a child growing up.” Bergener also identifies as bisexual, an aspect of her life that seems to play a part in the season according to the trailer.

In a behind-the-scenes promotional clip, Bergener hinted that she is well aware that she is unlike any housewife fans of OC have seen before. “Orange County… they’ve not seen somebody like me before,” she shared. “I am a biracial, liberal, bisexual, bilingual woman who’s very proud and very outspoken.”

Using her platform for good

Along with joining the show, Bergener has made it very clear that she does not take the platform for granted, sharing that she wants to use it not just for herself. Just by looking at her social media accounts, Bergener is clearly a very politically minded person and is very open with her support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

She shared with Bravo, “I believe that everything we do is political, so right now I am definitely trying to emphasize everything with the Black Lives Matter movement. My way of addressing it is to promote my favorite thing which is fashion, and specifically promote Black designers, Black-owned businesses, Black brands…I hope I do them proud.”

She used to model

Years before appearing on The Real Housewives, Bergener had a career as a runway model. Appearing in her first cover on Flirt Magazine in 2000, Bergener spent her career traveling and walking in runways such as Chanel.

“I was a model…traveled all over, worked with my favorite designers still to this day.” She shared with Bravo, “Once a model, always a model!”

Major drama brewing

Like most seasons of The Real Housewives, this season of Orange County will feature plenty of drama, much of it coming from Bergener’s personal life. While filming her first season, it was reported that Bergener’s husband, personal injury attorney James Bergener Sr., filed for divorce amid accusations that he owed millions in back taxes.

Bergener wrote on Instagram at the time, “I was just as shocked and disgusted to find out a week before filming … and not from my husband. My marriage has been a fight every day since…I am being very open about my journey and looking at every option to settle my husbands debts.”

Time will tell how the drama will unfold in the series.

The Real Housewives of Orange County airs Wednesdays at 9 EST on Bravo.

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