“My advice to them is just keep it real and show your real friendships,” the reality star, 59, exclusively told Us Weekly while promoting Luann & Sonja: Welcome to Crappie Lake. “The audience will know if you’re not being yourself — it doesn’t work.”
Sonja went on to say that she “loved” how close she and her RHONY costars were when the cameras weren’t rolling. “We really were friends, and there’s a trust level there,” she explained. “If you don’t have a trust level, it’s very hard if you don’t know people. I think they all are friends, so they should do OK.”
The upcoming 14th season of RHONY — premiering on Bravo Sunday, July 16 — stars an entirely new cast of Housewives: Sai De Silva, Ubah Hassan, Erin Lichy, Jenna Lyons, Jessel Taank and Brynn Whitfield.
Sonja and some of the previous RHONY cast, meanwhile, will appear in season 5 of Ultimate Girls Trip. In addition to Sonja and her Crappie Lake costar, Luann de Lesseps, the New York season of UGT stars Ramona Singer, Dorinda Medley, Kelly Killoren Bensimon and Kristen Taekman.
“It’s like Scary Island Part 2,” Luann, 58, quipped to Us, referring to the group’s infamous trip to St. John in season 3 of RHONY that gave us “go to sleep” and “turtle time,” among other things. This time, however, the squad is headed to St. Bart’s.
“It was a great trip,” Luann recalled. “When you have that many women together, there’s always gonna be something. And I love it because the fourth wall comes down a lot. We’re talking about our perspective of what happened years ago. I love that for the fans, because they want to know what we thought about that years ago.”
UGT season 5 doesn’t yet have a release date, but in the meantime, RHONY fans have Crappie Lake to tide them over. The new series follows Luann and Sonja as they head to Benton, Illinois, to spruce up a town with a population of just 7,000 people.
“[The townspeople] think we’re all fancy. We’re coming from New York and we don’t know how to get our hands dirty,” Luann told Us. “Well, let me tell you, we changed their minds about who we are. Because we do come from small towns and we know how to get in and … get it done.”
Sonja, for her part, said one of the high points was getting to do some gardening, which she already loved doing. “My favorite thing was getting the playground together, and you see Luann go up in the bucket to start whacking some of the lines,” she told Us. “And I get into a tractor and start pushing brush aside. Like Lu said, we’re small town girls. I’m used to driving a tractor or a lawnmower or shoveling s–t. They did ask us to shovel s–t!”
Luann & Sonja: Welcome to Crappie Lake premieres on Bravo Sunday, July 9, at 9 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi