The Married to the Mob founder has appeared to be fully herself throughout her first several episodes on the long-running series, sharing her unfiltered thoughts, saying what the audience is thinking and making a fashion statement in nearly every one of her scenes.
In a new interview with In The Know’s Gibson Johns, however, Leah revealed that she felt “massive anxiety” going into filming last year as she found herself “freaking out” about whether or not she’d be able to establish connections with the existing cast of returning stars like Ramona Singer and Sonja Morgan.
“When I knew I was possibly going to be on the show, I tried watching the season that was going on, […] and I couldn’t do it, because I would start getting massive anxiety being like, ‘How am I going to connect to them? They’re nothing like me. This is scaring me, and I’m freaking out,'” Leah explained. “I mean, of course, I’ve watched the show in the past, but I wasn’t a ‘New York’ fanatic or anything, so I wanted to go in there just as authentic as possible.”
Despite her worry that she wouldn’t be able to see eye-to-eye with her new co-stars, the New York City native went into the experience with an open mind, which ending up helping her right off the bat.
“I have friends [from] all walks of life and a very eclectic group of friends and people that I know. Right now, we’re in a time where everything is very polarized, right? And we’re like, ‘You don’t believe this? Then I hate you, and we don’t agree on this,'” Leah told ITK. “But, actually, you can find things with people that you may have nothing in common with — you don’t think — you have something in common with them. So, I go into it with an open mind and an open heart, and that’s just how I try to live my life as much as possible.”
“I knew that I probably would be able to find some kind of commonality between me and these women, and I did,” she added.
We knew that Leah would get along well with Tinsley Mortimer, who introduced her to the rest of the women on the show, but it was unclear who she would vibe with. And, as she explained to In The Know, the cast members that she gets along with ends up changing throughout season 12.
“Ramona, we connected immediately. She was very nice in the beginning,” she laughed. “Whatever, that’s all I’m going to say about that!”
“Luann [de Lesseps], too, and even Dorinda [Medley], even though our first few episodes were kind of like, ‘meh,’ you know? There was something about her that I felt like really connected to,” Leah went on. “Sonja was hard, except that we both liked to turn up and get crazy. With Sonja, as you saw, there was some friction. I wasn’t sure if she was messing with me by giving me the pajamas [at her fashion show], which I’m pretty sure she was. And, you know, saying, ‘Oh, I don’t sleep with people with tattoos.’ That was one of the second times I’d ever met her. I’m like, ‘Uh.’ I laughed it off, but I was like, ‘What a b**ch!'”
While she may have struggled to initially connect with some of her fellow “RHONY” stars, Leah has had zero problem connecting with a vast majority of the show’s dedicated fanbase, which quickly accepted her as a meme-worthy, quotable reality star worthy of being deemed a fan favorite.
“I’m sure there [are] some Housewives that get a lot of negativity, but for the most part, it’s positive, and that’s really great,” Leah said of the response she’s gotten on social media. “I mean, I wasn’t sure what to expect, you know? I was like, ‘Oh my god. People might not be able to stand me, or people might… god knows what, you know?’ So, it’s been positive for the most part.”
Listen to our full interview with Leah McSweeney below, and tune into “The Real Housewives of New York” on Bravo on Thursdays at 9 p.m. EST.
If you enjoyed this article, check out our interview with fellow “Real Housewives of New York” star, Ramona Singer, here.
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