If you’ve never watched the hit reality series The Real Housewives of New York City, it’s a non-scripted soap opera that documents a group of women who are navigating marriage, divorce, addiction, parenting, and their evolving relationships with each other. Bravo usually casts a specific type of woman for the New York franchise. She’s typically over 40, lives uptown, and has, or has had, a lot of money, whether via marriage or her own career.  

Leah McSweeney, who is 37, lives downtown, and founded the streetwear brand Married to the Mob, doesn’t fit that description. So when rumors started to swirl last August that McSweeney was spotted filming scenes for the Bravo show with socialite Tinsley Mortimer, it was surprising but not entirely unexpected—McSweeney appeared on an episode of Bravo’s The Millionaire Matchmaker 10 years ago. 

But last November, Bravo finally announced that McSweeney was an official “housewife.” She says Bethenny Frankel, a former RHONY cast member who left after last season, suggested her to Bravo. And after a process that McSweeney says she can’t really discuss, she became official. Her tagline, something each Real Housewife has every season, is, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bitch.” It’s fitting. McSweeney boxes regularly at Trinity Boxing Club in Tribeca and has a penchant for the word “bitch.”