"I mean, let's just hang out and chill," she says to ET of her mission ahead of arriving at Dorinda Medley's Massachusetts estate, Blue Stone Manor, for seven days of bonding time with her fellow (ex) 'Wives (filmed last fall). "However, when a Housewife gets with another Housewife, drama will soon ensue..."
"Andy [Cohen, executive producer of the Housewives franchise] actually calls me when I was on vacation and I had a couple cocktails, so I wasn't sure if he was telling me what I was hearing or if it was the alcohol talking, but he told me that I would be hosted by Dorinda and I would love her," Eva recalls. "He promised me that I would absolutely adore Dorinda Medley, also formerly Dorinda Cinkala, and I do! I mean, she is literally like a Black woman in a white body. She and I, we connect on a very, very real and natural level. She is just good people, salt of the earth. And I mean, she's not without her crazy, but you know, crazy knows crazy. We nicknamed her Dornado."
"Dorinda's the Dornado and I love everything about her storm," she continues, "but then we also have, I mean, the OG of the OC, Miss Vicki Gunvalson. I was most excited to meet her, just with what she's been able to do with her franchise and it being so successful that you can look back all these years, all these cities and it started with her simple truth, which was so fascinating. So I was super excited to meet Vicki... and then I met Vicki."
When Peacock premiered the trailer for season 2 last month, nearly every altercation teased somehow involved Vicki. In one moment, Vicki tells the group, "There's a lot of conflict going on with eight women," to which Eva replies, "The only conflict is you."
"I just felt like, maybe you don't have enough to do in a day," Eva teases of all the pot-stirring packed into the women's short time together, "so you're just picking up new drama, or you really find yourself itching that hard in your butt over that comment. Life isn't that deep. And so when I realized that I was the only one on the positive train -- besides from Phaedra -- I would quickly exit stage left, in regular Eva fashion."
Eva says she and Phaedra found themselves "social distancing from the bulls**t" repeatedly. While the duo never overlapped as Housewives on RHOA (Phaedra exited the show at the end of season 9, Eva joined the ensemble as a "friend of" the next year), they have a history together.
"I've known Phaedra for 20 years," she confesses. "I've known her since I was 18 years old. ... When she got the calls to do Housewives, she called me and said, 'Oh my God, what do I do?' I was one of the only people she even knew in reality." (Eva won cycle 3 of America's Next Top Model in 2004.)
"We have a friendship and a sisterhood that goes so far beyond television, makeup, heels, designer clothes, men -- any of that," she adds. "And so to hang out in the Berkshires with her, after having had a 20-year friendship; she has kids, I have kids, we've kind of been locked in the house. It was really nice to have her to relax with and just share some laughs. I think y'all know Phaedra's crazy. She's a good crazy. So she definitely kept me laughing."
However, Eva says she and Phaedra are the "baseline" for "crazy" in this group.
"We're normal crazy," she admits. "There are levels to this crazy, OK? We are normal, I see you, you see me, it takes a little crazy to make the world go round. These women are on another level. Like, the kind of things that they actually frame in their mind, the questions, the things that come out of their mouth, I'm like, what human being does that?"
Eva pinpoints Brandi as the Housewife to watch when it comes to not knowing what's going to fly out of her mouth. In the trailer alone, she introduces Eva to the word "man-gina" and tells Vicki she's going to teach her how to use a vibrator, if those are any indication of what else might come.
"Brandi, I must say, I had high hopes for, but the most trepidation," Eva shares, "because I've seen Housewives Brandi and I've seen Big Brother Brandi. I love Big Brother Brandi. Housewife Brandy can get these hands."
While on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Brandi's arguably chaotic behavior became her signature, delivering memorable moments like accusing fellow Housewives of doing "crystal meth all night in the bathroom," throwing wine in Days of Our Lives veteran Eileen Davidson's face to live out her very own soap opera fantasy and even slapping Lisa Vanderpump, a move that seemingly sealed her fate as diamond-holder. On Big Brother -- Brandi competed on season 1 of CBS's Celebrity Big Brother back in 2018; she also appeared on the U.K.'s version of the show in 2017 -- Brandi was chill, laid-back and most excited for the nights wine got delivered (and she didn't waste it by throwing it at any housemates).
"I didn't know which one I was going to get," Eva adds, speaking to the two versions of Brandi she knows from TV. "I was praying to God it was Big Brother Brandi and not to give it all away, but I love me some Brandi."
Eva says the most interesting conversations were born out of the women's shared experience of being ex-Real Housewives.
"That in and of itself opens up a whole lot," she teases, clarifying that she felt like a bit of an outlier because leaving the show was -- she maintains -- her choice.
"I had other things I wanted to do," she notes. "Other people, however, had more untimely demises and the expressions of their frustration with that definitely are going to hit the airwaves. ... The ability to talk about that and to work through that together, I think was very cathartic. It was very healing."
Eva praises the producers for letting the ladies bare all, busting down the fourth wall to clear up years-old misconceptions about certain things that unfolded on their respective shows.
"I think a lot of times you guys hear the reunions or you'll see on our personal blogs, 'Oh, you didn't see that part..' or, 'That was editing...' and as an audience member, you're just like, 'Girl, well, what is it? Cause they said this....' But when you live in your truth, it's very frustrating when they say something that is not what it is," she explains. "This time around, we were able to either debunk any rumors or ideas that were there before, and we were able to live in our authentic truth -- even if that did not look like what our franchise looked like, or what they thought we were supposed to be. And so kudos to Andy and to the team for shaking up Housewives in such a gnarly fashion, because y'all, I mean, listen: My girls were on Girls Trip 1, but y'all not ready for Girls Trip 2! Know that."
"The audience is going to find themselves surprised every episode, every other scene, because it's all about how these women learn to get along with each other -- and there's a lot that we learn about ourselves through each other," she adds. "There's yelling, there's fussing, but there's crying. There are revelations, there's come to Jesus. There are a lot of heartfelt moments that I think you don't see for a show that's the first time off. It's all the drama. But in this show, we're really dealing with life as it comes and it's no holds barred. I'm definitely not holding any punches."
Eva says another OG Housewife gives Vicki a run for her money when it comes to starting drama in the house. The only other women in the cast who were original Housewives in their cities are Taylor and Jill, and Eva confirms she's not talking about Taylor.
"Taylor is not a punk," she admits, "but no, there's someone that I think all of us are like, 'Wait, what?!' All of us. Everyone's going to be surprised, but there's a pot-stirrer in there, for sure."
Eva suggests viewers should also keep an eye on Vicki's BFF, Tamra.
"She's like Mighty Mouse!" Eva declares, referencing the tiny cartoon character who could pack a punch. "She's like this little spitfire. She's this small, cute, little petite, but don't her piss her off because those octaves are like... the vibrato is so loud. She is a girl's girl, but she's loyal. The way she's loyal to Vicki is like a whole 'nother level of sisterhood. I think [Vicki] has something on her or something because her loyalty is so admirable, but I can say Tamra was so much fun. She's a good, good time -- especially if you give her a little bit of cocktails. Just a little bit."
The whole experience left Eva grateful for the sisterhood of Housewives, and thankful for the fact that she walked away from a full-time spot on the show.
"You know when you go somewhere and it's like a lot of fun and then you say, 'That place don't owe me nothing'? That's Housewives," she reflects. "After doing Berkshires, after meeting these women and being able to form a bond in the way we have -- I talk to Dorinda weekly. That is my girl. If there's anything political going on, I know Tamra's going to post it first. I know Vicki's going to post it and shout about it in Vicki Gunvalson way, and it owes me nothing."
"It's like going in for that next child when you should have just stopped," she quips. "Well, I'm going to go ahead and stop."
The mom of three is still keeping tabs on RHOA from a distance, though, well aware that her one-time onscreen foe, Marlo Hampton, snagged a peach for the first time in season 14, after nearly a decade of appearing on the show as a "friend of" the cast.
"Anyone that worked as hard and as diligently as Marlo has worked -- and showed up every day to a job that might have paid or might not have paid -- deserves any fruit they want out the basket," Eva muses. "So if it's a peach-- she deserves an orange from Orange County, she deserves an apple from New York, in Florida she deserves a... pineapple? [for the record, The Real Housewives of Miami cast holds mojitos] Marlo deserves all of the peaches and the fruit that's out there."
"I'm happy that she's getting what she wants," she notes. "She's in the light that she wants to be seen. She is glowing. I think if you see any pictures or you see her, she looks like a million bucks. Being a mom, even though it's a 'Munty' [Marlo is raising her two nephews], it's still a maternal position I think has done a lot for her internally. And so I'm just, I'm happy for give. Baby, give her all of the fruit, the produce in the aisle, let her have it."
Soon, Eva will be letting people have it herself in season 2 of her BET+ series, All the Queen's Men. The strip club-set drama returns on July 14.
"Madam is back, baby!" Eva exclaims, name-checking her character. "Now I must tell you on season 1 of All the Queen's Men, you learned that Madam ran a criminal enterprise and she was a gangster. On season 2 of All the Queen's Men, you see Madam being a gangster. You see her day-to-day work, you see what it's like in her life and not just the nice clothes and the lifestyle, but the gritty, the ruthlessness, the very difficult decisions that you have to make when you're a person in that kind of power. And she does it with beautiful heels on and contour. I mean, in only a Madam fashion, it's fabulous."
And if Eva could combine the worlds of RHUGT and All the Queen's Men, she knows exactly whom she'd invite to Madam's club for some... private dances.
"A couple of those Housewives I think I've seen at Madam's club and then a couple of them, I have a big VIP booth waiting for Vicki Gunvalson because we need to teach her some things in the X-rated department!" she cracks. "But you'll learn that when you tune in to Ultimate Girls Trip."