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Sonja Morgan and Luann de Lesseps Talk Surviving Life in ‘Crappie Lake’

Sonja Morgan and Luann de Lesseps Talk Surviving Life in ‘Crappie Lake’

After 15 and 13 years, respectively, as solid members of Actual Housewives of New York Metropolis, Luann de Lesseps and Sonja Morgan are specialists at packing for lavish journeys. They know methods to cram into suitcases all the trimmings to accommodate their quirky, pampered personalities whereas touring collectively to the Hamptons, Mexico, Morocco, and, most famously, Scary Island—er, I imply St. Barts.

Cameras, in fact, are all the time there to seize every wacky, can’t-make-this-up second, be it an inebriated tumble right into a rose bush, impromptu skinny dip, or insistence {that a} fellow Housewife “be cool, don’t be all, like, uncool” whereas being served home-cooked eggs à la française. Sunday evening, the duo—a Laverne and Shirley of actuality TV, if Laverne was a Countess and Shirley shared a hairbrush together with her canine—is again on our screens once more, returning to Bravo after the unique RHONY veterans had been changed with a brand new solid of recent faces.

After we first see them, they’re as soon as once more preparing for a visit. De Lesseps is fretting over all the alternatives she has to make, “as a result of that is white and that is off-white,” she says, holding up two identical-looking belts—the Countess’ personal Satan Wears Prada second. At her notorious townhouse, Morgan is debating one of the simplest ways to retailer the pads she must carry to sop up leaks from her current liposuction process.

Amusingly odd as all of this sounds, it’s par for the course when these Manhattan socialites are launched from their gilded cages. The journey they’re planning for, nevertheless, is something however typical.

Luann & Sonja: Welcome to Crappie Lake follows the buds as they transfer to a roadside motel in Benton, Illinois (inhabitants: 6,708) for six weeks. There, they’re given a collection of duties meant to assist the city get well from the devastation that occurred throughout the pandemic. All the 2 find out about Benton is that there are quite a lot of lakes—Crappie, pronounced kraw-pee, is called after a form of bass fish—and that it is rather scorching there.

To wit, when their airplane touches down on the Benton Airport runway, de Lesseps is startled to see a crowd gathered, screaming whereas waving indicators. It seems the Benton residents had come to greet the thriller celebrities. “Thanks for assembly us,” de Lesseps says, when she lastly learns what the hoopla was about. “I believed there was rioting.” As for the warmth? It’s simply hours into their arrival when Morgan remarks, “It’s a three-panty day already.” (Good factor they’d accomplished a lot packing.)

Over the course of six weeks, the 2 are charged with community-building tasks, like constructing a playground for underprivileged kids, organising a canine park on the animal shelter, growing tourism, and staging an end-of-summer expertise present—a process that the cabaret star and caburlesque performer are greater than up for finishing.

Heidi Gutman/Bravo/NBCU Photograph Financial institution through Getty Photos

In truth, they’re surprisingly sport for all of it, even spending their complete keep in a seedy motel that the majority of their Actual Housewives sisters would meet with a Hitchcock scream of horror earlier than passing out in judgmental disgust. “What’s the official identify?” Morgan asks the proprietor, who replies, “The Benton Motel.” She nods in approval: “That’s good advertising and marketing.” These girls are a comedy goldmine.

If all of it sounds just a little bit like A Easy Life, that’s positively on function. Welcome to Crappie mastermind Jeff Jenkins, greatest identified for govt producing Retaining Up With the Kardashians and its spinoffs, additionally produced the reality-TV hit the place Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie traversed the nation, dwelling and mingling with common of us. It was his concept to recruit de Lesseps and Morgan for his or her tackle the format.

New York Metropolis, Benton shouldn’t be, however de Lesseps and Morgan embraced their momentary house with gusto and style. Simply minutes into our Zoom name to debate the collection, the pair begin alternately gushing and teasing one another about their first tour: noodling for catfish, which implies hopping into water, diving into the mud, and utilizing your forearm for bait.

“I caught a catfish this massive with my naked palms!” de Lesseps exclaims, holding her palms about eight inches aside. Morgan raises her palms, too, stretching them about two inches additional: “This massive, Kevin. I really feel like I’m at The Eagle,” she says, cheekily referencing New York’s homosexual bar, which has a sure popularity as a hook-up spot.

With Welcome to Crappie Lake premiering Sunday evening—and Morgan recovered from apparently popping a liposuction suture whereas having intercourse in Benton—we chatted with de Lesseps and Morgan about defying stereotypical expectations, falling in love with the individuals of Benton, and the upcoming season of Bravo’s Final Women Journey, which has them returning to Scary Island itself.

I by no means thought I’d see Actual Housewives noodling for catfish. What had been your attitudes going into this, realizing you’d be doing issues out of your consolation zones?

Morgan: Nicely, Luann is a tomboy. She’s up for something. She grew up with 4 brothers. And I’m not afraid to get my palms soiled both. We’re each hardworking women from small cities.

De Lesseps: Yeah, however you didn’t go down the barrel to wrangle a catfish, Sonja.

Morgan: I additionally pulled the man’s third leg, and also you didn’t. I used his leg to go down and information myself to the catfish, however this different “third leg” saved swishing round, as a result of he didn’t have tighty whities on. So I used to be too busy, Luann, to go after the catfish.

I used his leg to go down and information myself to the catfish, however this different ‘third leg’ saved swishing round, as a result of he didn’t have tighty whities on.

How a lot did it assist to be doing this collectively? Do you assume that is one thing you’ll have been sport for if it wasn’t with one another?

Morgan: I couldn’t do it with anyone else. That’s probably the greatest issues that got here out of this. I noticed that Luann and I may have enjoyable, we may have variations, we may have decision, and create an attractive Benton Follies selection present—and simply actually encourage the city with our vitality.

De Lesseps: You don’t know what you don’t know. So I didn’t know what I used to be in for. Individuals used to all the time ask, “What are you anticipating for the subsequent season of RHONY?” I had no concept. All I knew about Benton was that it was very popular they usually have lakes. I didn’t have any preconceived notions of what was occurring once we received there. We had been simply there to assist the city. I used to be like, you already know what? We’re gonna go there. We’re going to assist these individuals. We’re gonna dwell in a motel.

Morgan: I believed at the least there was going to be a resort pool or one thing. However we had been simply thrilled to be requested. We hadn’t filmed Actual Housewives of New York for some time, due to the whole lot.

I feel the primary query persons are going to have once they watch that is: Did you actually keep in that motel for the entire time that you simply had been there?

I used to be by no means so pleased to see a Walmart in my life.

De Lesseps: Sure, we did. Wow. My brother, who’s a contractor from Connecticut, got here down to assist us out, as a result of it wanted paint. It wanted new carpets, as a result of the carpets had been there from the Sixties. There have been deer guts on the carpet. I’d take a bathe, stroll to the mattress, and my ft had been soiled. So I used to be by no means so pleased to see a Walmart in my life, as a result of I went to get throw rugs so I may stroll from carpet to carpet to get into mattress.

Was it extra enjoyable when the individuals of Benton knew who you had been, or once they had no concept who you had been?

Morgan: Luann, would you say half of them knew who we had been?

De Lesseps: Half of them knew who we had been and the opposite half had no concept. It was fascinating as a result of that they had trepidation about us coming into their city. Like, who’re these girls? What are they gonna do for us? It took some time for them to belief that we had been there to do good for his or her city. We weren’t there to make enjoyable of them. It was not about that. We had been there to assist construct their group even stronger.

Morgan: We might by no means have wasted their time.

I can inform Ramona that her face appears like a pizza with no cheese, and he or she’s not going to cease speaking to me.

Timing is the whole lot. I think about it didn’t really feel nice when your time on RHONY ended. How did it really feel when this got here round? Did it really feel like a demotion? Did it really feel like a significant alternative?

Morgan: We didn’t really feel it was a demotion in any respect. They handpicked the 2 of us out of all the Housewives. We knew this was massive when Jeff Jenkins referred to as. He’s not going to have egg on his face, let’s simply say that. We felt actually particular. And in addition it was enjoyable. It’s mild. It’s not drama on a regular basis.

And also you simply filmed Final Women Journey. What did it really feel wish to go out of your simpler, funnier dynamic and life in Benton to Housewives mode once more to movie UGT?

Morgan: I didn’t really feel the transition in any respect as a result of we’re actual pals. We’ve been pals for many years. So when Lu and I went to Benton, we had been like an outdated married couple. Then once we went to Final Women Journey, I used to be simply so pleased to be with Lu once more, and Ramona and Dorinda. We’ve got that actual friendship. So no, it wasn’t that unhealthy of a transition, as a result of we all know we have now a belief stage there. I can inform Ramona that her face appears like a pizza with no cheese, and he or she’s not going to cease speaking to me. We’ve got that. And I’ve that with Luann and Dorinda as nicely. I feel each reveals are going to be fabulous.

De Lesseps: It’s a distinct expertise. However being with the Housewives after this simply makes you recognize how fortunate we’re to journey like that and go to stunning locations like St. Barts. We’re in the course of Illinois, subsequent to Kentucky, just like the Deep South. It’s clearly not our way of life. However going into Housewives after this present, specifically, we had been pleased with ourselves. We went into that city and we actually helped individuals out they usually appreciated it. They’ve massive hearts. We made quite a lot of pals alongside the best way. We had quite a lot of enjoyable.

After which we went to St. Barts. After we’re all collectively like that, there’s no comparability, actually. It’s Final Women Journey—occurring trip with the last word women that you simply wish to go along with. That’s how I really feel about it. We had the very best time. There all the time is gonna be drama. It’s just a little Scary Island Half 2. There’s a pirate coming in once more.

And you bought to reach at St. Barts with a badge of honor: “We did this factor in Benton, and we survived and we thrived there.” I can’t think about Ramona Singer doing Welcome to Crappie Lake.

Morgan: There’s simply no means.

De Lesseps: No means. “Who’s carrying my bag?”

A still of Sonja Morgan and Luann de Lesseps from Real Housewives of New York City.

Photograph by Heidi Gutman/Bravo/NBCU Photograph Financial institution through Getty Photos

Morgan: The comforter is artificial, not 600 thread rely sheets like Ramona would demand. However we did it, Lu!

De Lesseps: We actually labored so arduous. I imply, St. Barts was a dream come true. We received catered to. In Benton, we catered to them. We misplaced our lives for six weeks, and it was devoted to those individuals. We didn’t have any time to consider us. I received on the airplane again. I’m like, “Oh my God. I’m nonetheless Lu.” As a result of we actually did dedicate our lives for six weeks to those individuals.

Morgan: We had been pleased to be house. Again in our massive 4 poster beds and large bathtubs and have just a little house to ourselves. Nevertheless it was very unhappy, very tearful once we left Benton. We did make actually good pals there.

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