When Dorinda Medley’s time on “The Real Housewives of New York City” was “paused” in 2020 after six seasons, her time in the spotlight seemed to be over.
But oh, no, it wasn’t.
Instead, it launched Medley into a whole new act of her life and career.
“The good news is he didn’t use the word ‘fired,’” Medley told TODAY via Zoom, referring to Bravo producer Andy Cohen. “He used ‘pause’ because it seems so much kinder.”
'You gave me the frosting but the cake was made'
Medley established herself as a socialite in Manhattan and was married to Richard Medley from 2005 until his death at 60 in 2011. A few years later, she joined “RHONY” season seven in 2015, quickly becoming a fan favorite for her no-holds-barred honesty, drunken shenanigans and opulent home — Blue Stone Manor — located in the Berkshires.
“You got to remember I started ‘Housewives’ at 50 so it’s not like I was Snow White sleeping under glass and one day someone found me and made me into who I am,” she said. “I tell Andy all the time: You gave me the frosting but the cake was made.”
Medley’s time on “Real Housewives” came to an end after a dark sixth season for her, when many of the conflicts she was involved in were especially aggressive and especially ... drunk.
“Of course, no one likes to be put on pause,” she said. “No one likes to be rejected. It’s not a good feeling. I played great face with everybody, wrote that beautiful statement on my Instagram. Then I went home to my mother and bawled my eyes out.”
At 57 years old, Medley is closer with her mom than ever, and here is the source for much of her take on life.
“My mother was like, ‘Rejection is protection,’” Medley explained. “If you know now what you’re going to know later, just send them a thank you note and just keep doing what you do. Let’s get up and keep moving. I’ve had that conversation with my mother a million times over lost boyfriends, losing jobs, raise young kids, divorcing, burying my husband. It’s pretty much the same conversation with her, just with a few simple tweaks.”
But since her “pause,” Medley has been pushing play.
In 2021, she released a book, "Make It Nice." The second season of her radio show “Make It Nice” on Radio Andy is back for a second season. She released a line of Blue Stone Manor products including bourbon, a candle and a Christmas ornament. And for the last two years, she’s been a paid spokesperson for Nutrisystem.
“I lost 16 pounds. It works for me,” Medley said. “You don’t have to think about it. They send it all to you. It’s all color coded. There’s yellow for breakfast, blue for lunch, red for dinner and then snacks are purple. And it works because I think the hardest part of any diet is trying to figure out what to eat. There’s no figuring here.”
'I’m perfectly imperfect'
In addition to all that, Medley was invited back by Cohen to be involved with the second season of “The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip” on Peacock that was filmed at Blue Stone Manor over the summer.
“I don’t think it’s anything like the first one,” Medley said. “I think the first one was more like a vacation, bathing suits. ... This is Blue Stone Manor on steroids. Eight girls that are all very, very good Housewives, old-school Housewives and all big personalities."
The cast includes fellow "RHONY" alum Jill Zarin, "Beverly Hills" alum Taylor Armstrong and Brandi Glanville, "Atlanta" alumni Phaedra Parks and Eva Marcille, and Vicki Gunvalson and Tamra Judge from "Orange County."
"They’re all from different places," she added. "We’ve all been in quarantine and then you put them at Blue Stone Manor for eight days and put a lid on it in a pressure pot."
While this interview happened right before the news of “RHONY” being rebooted with another version paired with an old-school "Real Housewives" was announced, Medley hinted that a big change was needed to get the beloved franchise back on its feet after a sluggish last season.
“The next move, whatever it is, it’s got to be a very strong move for the next season,” she said. “It’s got to be a good solid chess move. It’s got to be some good, strong characters. There’s got to be a moving forward and dealing with the new world we live in but also a little bit of old school. People want to feel good again. They want the crazy banter. Just find a successful, funny, wacky woman that overall is great fun that f---- up every once in a while. Then you got a Housewife.”
Regarding one Housewife, Luann de Lesseps, who recently made headlines for an incident at a bar, Medley said while she hasn’t really talked to her about what happened, she knows she will be OK.
“I talked to her a little bit. Lou is resilient. Lou is great," Medley said. "It is hard to be under the public eye full time. It’s very hard. It’s sad to say but people wait for you to make a mistake. That’s why I personally always say I’m perfectly imperfect. So when I screw up, which I always do, I say, I told you already. I don’t want to be perfect. It’s too much pressure."
Like a phoenix from the ashes
For now, Medley is imperfectly pushing play on all the new ventures and projects in her life that are keeping this chapter of hers busier than ever. She seems to be happy and excited for what's next, proving that everyone loves a good comeback.
"Every six years my life has changed," she said. "It’s been sort of a pattern for a long time even. I had Richard for six years and then he died on me. Six years as a Housewife and then it changed. As much as change is hard, I’m sort of like this phoenix-type. I like to go back under and then come back up again.
"My mother used to call me her cat: 'I can put you on the ceiling, but you'll always fall on your feet.'"