On Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise, an unintentionally hilarious quote (“who’s hunky dory?”) or a scathing read (everything Phaedra Parks has ever said) can turn cast newbies into fan-favorites overnight. In the case of Real Housewives of Miami star Dr. Nicole Martin, all it took was a gag involving the sort of engraved mirror you might see in your grandmother’s house to elevate her from unassuming castmate to someone Twitter is now calling a “legend.”
On Episode 9 of RHOM’s fifth season, which is currently airing on Peacock, Martin got into a tiff with fellow Housewife Larsa Pippen for remarks Pippen made about Martin’s ex-fiancé that the anesthesiologist deemed condescending. (Pippen is seemingly perplexed that someone would date a schoolteacher.)
During their back and forth, the ex-wife of Scottie Pippen brought up a rumor that Martin allegedly slept with “every doctor” in the hospital she works at, leaving Martin speechless and her mouth agape. If you’ve watched any Real Housewives show, you know you don’t bring up somebody’s family or workplace without facing some sort of repercussions.
Luckily for Pippen, her punishment (being disinvited from Martin’s engagement party) wasn’t that intense. However—and more importantly—the delivery was comical.
In the next episode, Pippen was hosting castmate Guerdy Abraira in her penthouse when she was delivered a box that was, unbeknownst to her, from Martin. Such fancy packaging could only hold a gift or an elaborate invite, both of which Housewives are known to send. By the look of delight on her face, Pippen likely assumed she was receiving one of those treats. Abraira was equally excited to find out what was inside.
When Pippen opened the box though, she pulled out a mirror with a less-than-flattering message engraved on the glass. She couldn’t even finish reading it out of shock, so Abraira took over. “Mirror, mirror on the wall,” she read. “Who’s the fakest of them all? Take a good look. I see who you are. Do you? See yourself uninvited to our engagement party.”
Martin’s message, although unkind, was fairly tame compared to the sort of vitriol Housewives have spewed at each other in years past. Yet, the buildup of the scene—cross-cut with Martin proudly explaining the gift to her fiancé Anthony over dinner—and Abraira’s horrified reaction is what makes this coup-de-grace Housewives gold.
Making of an Iconic Moment
“Honestly, I never thought it was gonna turn into like this whole thing,” Martin tells The Daily Beast’s Obsessed over Zoom about the hilarious moment. “I had no idea. I just felt like, if you're gonna make such a ridiculous accusation, the only way I can possibly respond is with something equally as ridiculous. You treat stupid with something stupid.”
Martin’s mirror gag has been one of many highlights of this current season of Real Housewives of Miami. After a three-season run on Bravo, starting in 2011, NBC Universal’s streaming platform Peacock resurrected the show in 2021, adding Martin, Abraira, and Julia Lemigova to the roster of OGs. Their inclusion has been pretty successful, given how often new Housewives can fit awkwardly within a pre-established group.
Martin obviously has a new army of supporters thanks to her most recent antics. But Abraira is equally appreciated for her comic sensibilities, acting as a sort of Greek chorus to the women’s chaos—as demonstrated in the mirror scene.
“Miami is never going to be able to be replicated,” Abrairia says about the show’s success. “Our vibes are completely different. It’s this cultural ensemble coming together and expressing themselves. It’s a lot to capture. So there's always something to watch—that shiny object. It’s like nine of them on screen.”
One of the most appealing aspects of the franchise is its mix of diverse personalities ) and cultures—and everyone is pretty animated, too, thank God!. There’s long been a gap in Latinx and Caribbean representation on Bravo, as reality programs like Texicanas, Mexican Dynasties, and the original RHOM came and went rather quickly. Real Housewives franchises set in locations where Latinas make up a sizable population have also been lacking in representation. Miami, then, is scratching a huge itch for certain demographics.
“We all have different backgrounds, which makes us bring different things to the show,” says Martin, who’s both Cuban and Puerto Rican. “It's just such an interesting mix when you put us all together. It's nothing like any of the other franchises.”
Abraira, who’s Haitian and one of the two Black cast members, along with friend-of Kiki Barth, appreciates the combination of different voices—but says not all of them are equally heard. In an early episode this season, she called out the women for not giving everyone the same attention when they speak, to which her castmates, including Alexia Nepola and Marysol Patton, looked confused.
“You knew what I was saying, right?” she asks.
“They were only confused because Guerdy said it,” Martin chimes in. “If anyone else would’ve said it, they all would’ve understood.”
Certain castmates, mainly Nepola and Patton, have taken issue with Abraira’s way of communicating, whether through metaphors or her dramatic facial expressions. Earlier in the season, Nepola got upset with her for making faces while she was in an argument with Lemigova. She and Patton then poked fun at Abraira’s big arm movements and expressions in their confessionals.
“I never had any issues with Marysol at all,” Abraira says. “But when I saw the confessional, I was like, wow. But again, she was piggybacking off of Alexia—the whole blind loyalty thing.”
Even more than Patton, Abraira was most taken aback when she saw how Pippen spoke about her interviews.
“I thought we were friends,” the event planner said. “I thought she was my girl. And then I see every single episode. In her confessionals, she’s like, ‘What is Guerdy talking about?’ ‘Guerdy shouldn’t be talking.’ It’s dismissive. It’s disrespectful. Why are you acting like you’re naked and afraid and lost and confused?”
Keeping Up With the Drama
So far, Martin’s beefs this season have revolved around the same three OGs. Most recently, she and Nepola (and their partners) got into an epic battle over another moment Twitter has deemed iconic. During a meeting with a lawyer who Nepola had set up for castmate Lisa Hochstein, whose impending divorce is playing out this season, Martin raised a question about defamation—an obvious poke at Pippen for the rumor she broadcast.
Annoyed with Martin over the entire debacle, Nepola and Patton told her she was wasting the attorney’s time. So Martin grabbed her wallet, pulled out her Black AmEx, and threw it in his lap, so she could continue talking.
In the following episode, the women rehashed the incident at dinner with their non-Hispanic significant others, which they dubbed a “gringo dinner.” (Abraira was also present, looking flabbergasted as usual). Hilariously, both Nepola and Martin’s partners started going at it over proper etiquette and male-to-male communication.
“Honestly, I did not understand what was going on,” Martin says about the fight. “When we left the lawyer luncheon, they even showed Alexia and I hugging. And she didn't seem pissed when I left. And then there was this whole dinner that was still set up. If I would have still been mad at somebody, I would have called ahead of time and been like, ‘Hey, I didn't like the way this went down. Maybe we should reschedule.’”
Luckily, that’s hardly the last big battle of the season, according to the recently released mid-season trailer. Last week’s episode was the start of a group vacation to the Bahamas, where tensions between friend-of Adriana de Moura, Nepola, and Patton start to boil.
In the latest episode, de Moura laments her ostracized place within the group, specifically how the women react to her injured ankle. She and Nepola get into a fight over her perpetual victimhood, according to Nepola. De Moura then clumsily invokes Nepola’s son Frankie, who suffered brain damage from a traumatic car crash—another Housewives no-no.
“There's a context behind Adriana’s mind frame leading up to her even saying that,” Abraira explains. “What she said was wrong—100%, period, full stop. And she eventually realizes. And then it's kind of like, is it too late? Is it not? And so that's where the viewers are going to have to watch to see why it unfolded that way.”
Abraira suggests that this is the sort of seismic-level conflict that divides the entire group.
“Once you see the full picture, the backstory behind it–that's where we are made to make a decision between group A or group B,” she says. “And some of us pick A, and some of us pick B, for our own reasons based on what we see and assess. And we all need to respect each other's opinion as to why we do what we do.”
If that’s not enough mess for viewers, Martin also promises that “a lot will be unpacked” during the season’s reunion, which was recently filmed: “It was exhausting.”